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Crossrail sets benchmark for Parliament upgrade

Houses of Parliament

The £3.8bn restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster should follow the model set by Crossrail with a two-tier delivery authority, say MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee has published its report on the proposals for the works at the World Heritage Site and says a full decant of the buildings for six years is necessary in order to achieve cost-effective project delivery.

It is backing for a proposal already endorsed by a Joint Committee of the two Houses set up to look at the issue as well as an independent report from consultant Aecom, structures specialist HOK and financial giant Deloitte.

It says the risk of a “catastrophic failure” at the Palace is high and growing. These risks include fire, water penetration and sewage inundation.

The Committee calls for a swift in-principle decision and says, following the models of Crossrail and the 2012 Olympics, there should be a two-tier delivery authority with the National Audit Office regulating.

“In our view that decision should be to endorse a full decant. This is our best chance to keep costs down, ensure safety and complete the work on this historic building as quickly as possible,” said the PAC chair Meg Hillier MP.

“The longer the House of Commons spends mulling new or alternative options, the greater the chance that public money is wasted.

“Clearly there are many details to be agreed and difficult choices will need to be made as restoration and renewal progresses. Effective oversight and clear communication will be essential to its success.”


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