Parliament restoration puts call out for specialist surveyors

Palace of Westminster restoration
A sewage ejector in the basement of the Palace of Westminster, installed in 1888 (Image: UK Parliament/David Levene)

The Parliament restoration programme has launched a nationwide hunt for specialist surveyors to develop the most detailed record of the Palace of Westminster ever created, as part of an £80m, four-year framework.

The work is expected to involve intrusive surveys on Victorian building services, archaeology and stonework.

More than 100 surveys are being carried out during the first stage of the restoration project. The survey analysis will map out the condition of all the complex mechanical and engineering systems including the Victorian heating and cooling system.  

Surveyors will also be engaged to examine the miles of gas and electric pipes that often run directly alongside one another in the basement, and in thousands of spaces in floors, walls and risers that were originally designed as part of the Victorian ventilation system. Many of the systems reached the end of their expected life decades ago.  

Other surveys will focus on archaeology and the structure of the building and investigators will also look at fire safety, the condition of windows, walls, floors and stonework, and heat loss from the building.  

Steam, gas, water and high voltage electrical systems adjacent to each other under the House of Lords, presenting a risk to safety and of failure (Image: House of Lords/Roger Harris)

In total, there are eight categories under the framework where suppliers are being invited to apply to be part of an Intrusive Surveys Supplier Framework.  

The categories are: 

  • Civil Engineering / Structural 
  • Ground Investigations & Geotechnical  
  • Instrumentation & Monitoring  
  • Environmental 
  • Mechanical, Electrical & Public Health 
  • Archaeology  
  • Asbestos Removal 
  • Conservation Contractor 

Around £10m of contracts are expected to be procured in the first year. A range of other surveys are already being carried out through existing frameworks. Findings from surveys will be used as the restoration team develops a detailed and costed plan for restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster.  

The restoration and renewal plan will explore options based on the investigations, surveys and analysis with a focus on a ‘do essential’ option.  

Work on the Palace itself is due to start in the mid-2020s.  

David Goldstone, CEO of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority said: “Our experts are carrying out more than 100 surveys to develop the most detailed record of Parliament ever created, as we get on with the job of preparing the detailed and costed plan that will for the first time give a true sense of the costs and timescales of restoring the Palace of Westminster.” 

The contract framework notice is published here.

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