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Parliament revamp: £4bn works edge closer with draft bill

The £4bn restoration of the Houses of Parliament has edged closer after a draft bill to establish the statutory bodies to oversee work was published today.

The draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill sets out legislation to put the restoration’s sponsor board and delivery authority – which will plan and manage the programme’s delivery – on a statutory footing.

The Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, which was established in shadow form in May, will have overall responsibility for the programme. 

Chairing this board will be former British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace

Other members include Crossrail chief executive Simon Wright, former transport secretary Sir Patrick McLoughlin, and former London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games chief executive Lord Deighton.

The draft bill also lays out the requirement for the sponsor body to create a Parliamentary Works Delivery Authority, which will mirror the delivery authority established for the 2012 Olympics.

It will be responsible for delivering the programme to the scope, budget and timescale set by the sponsor board.

Work has begun to put in place the delivery authority and it is hoped a shadow delivery authority will be in place by the middle of next year.

In February, MPs voted 234 to 185 in favour of a “full and timely decant” of the Palace of Westminster to allow work to take place.

The drafting of the bill is the crucial next step for the restoration programme. 

It will now be scrutinised by a joint select committee, which will consider evidence on the programme and suggest any changes to legislation.

A parliamentary vote on the bill will then take place and is expected to reach royal assent by the end of 2019.

Royal assent will give the sponsor and delivery bodies statutory status and the official green light for planning work to begin. 

The passing of the bill will also see the establishment of a Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission, which will review the programme’s proposed annual expenditure in consultation with the Treasury.

The sponsor board and delivery authority will then draw up initial scope of works, business case, early designs and cost estimates for the programme – a process that is expected to take approximately three years.

These plans will then be put in front of the House of Commons and House of Lords to vote on, ahead of construction work starting in the mid-2020s.

Last July engineer CH2M and architect BDP were chosen to manage the restoration of the Houses of Parliament.

In May, Wates won the £500m contract to deliver the renovation of parliament’s Northern Estate. 

Readers' comments (1)

  • More taxpayer's money lining the pockets of the already wealthy, whilst the industry suffers from a lack of trades people.

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