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Buckingham Palace £369m revamp draws heavyweight bidders

Major firms including Arcadis, CH2M and WSP are being tipped to bid for work on Buckingham Palace’s £369m revamp, Construction News understands.

The palace is to undergo a raft of urgent repairs and upgrades to avoid what has been described as “very real danger of catastrophic failure leading to fire or flood” due to outdated electrics, power and water systems.

An M&E refurbishment programme worth £369m was given formal backing by the Treasury in November last year and would see work carried out over a decade to install new services and keep the palace operational for the next half-century.

The works were originally scheduled to start in April this year and run until 2027. However, according to the Palace the winners are now expected to be announced in June or July, with the appointment of a programme director to follow.

Construction News revealed in March last year that Sir Robert McAlpine was advising the Royal Household on how much the refurbishment would cost.

The contractor’s assessment fed into a wider report headed up by WSP and Hok on the various options available for the revamp.

According to a PQQ of the works seen by CN, three lots of work are up for grabs:

  • Lot one: Multi-disciplinary building services design and engineering
  • Lot two: Independent cost consultant
  • Lot three: Framework for the provision of key programme management office directors

It is understood that Arcadis, CH2M and WSP are among the firms lining up for the works.

CN has also learned that Mace and Aecom are exploring the opportunity of forming a joint venture for the revamp, while sources also tipped Capita and Turner & Townsend to submit bids.

In total between four and six firms will be appointed to lot three and will fill five director positions for the project, which are:

  • Programme director
  • Design director
  • Commercial director
  • Controls director
  • Construction director

One winner will be appointed onto a multi-disciplinary design lot, which is understood to have an approximate contract value of £10m.

Another firm will be chosen for the cost consultant lot, believed to be worth £2m.

Those appointed to the programme management office director framework will manage the multi-disciplinary team and the cost consultant for the job.

High-priority works will take around two years to complete, with the overall programme taking an incremental approach by replacing services on one wing of the building at a time.

Contracts will be awarded separately for each phase.

The Palace is also expected to stay fully operational while works are carried out, with the Queen’s programme “to continue to be delivered without interruption”.

The total value of construction works at the palace is £150m.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Following the recent parliamentary approval of funding, planning for the reservicing project is under way.

“We are also working on finalising the design and planned phasing of the programme.”

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