Experts find extensive damage to Palace of Westminster ahead of restoration works

Dozens of experts spent thousands of hours examining the disrepair of the Palace of Westminster ahead of planned restoration works.

More than 50 engineers, architectural surveyors, acoustics and lighting specialists and ecologists were brought into to investigate the iconic London landmark during Parliament’s summer and conference recesses to draw up a record of necessary repairs.

Problems facing the 150-year-old building include cracked and crumbling stonework, considerable water damage and warped Victorian stain-glass windows.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of Commons, said: “The Houses of Parliament building is recognised the world over as a symbol of our nation, but this building requires a considerable level of care to keep it working and needs an essential programme of restoration work.   

“We must be able to justify this project to taxpayers.

“That’s why it’s so important to understand and map out the restoration work needed to protect the building – so that the focus is on those essential works necessary to preserve the Palace for future generations.”  

The experts examined 2,343 room and spaces throughout the palace for more than 4,700 hours combined.

Further inspections are set to take place this winter and through 2022, which will include ‘intrusive’ surveys into the structure of the palace.

In 2023, Parliament will be invited to approve the detailed restoration plans.

Sarah Johnson, CEO of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body, said: “The essential programme to restore the deteriorating Palace of Westminster will protect our world-famous Parliament for generations to come.

“These critical and complex investigations are already informing our detailed restoration plan, which will for the first time set out a true sense of the costs and timescales of the much-needed work.”

The project is expected to create thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships across a variety of skillsets.

This restoration project comes alongside work on the adjacent Clock Tower that houses Big Ben, which has been cloaked in scaffolding for much of the time since the renovation began in 2017.

The bell has remained silent for most of that time, and is due to strike again following its scheduled completion in 2022.

The Palace of Westminster’s current form was completed in 1876, having been rebuilt after the original 11th century palace was destroyed in a fire.

Related Articles