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The three renovation options for the repair of the Houses of Parliament will now be subjected to further assessment following a proposal by the Commons Leader, Andrea Leadsom. This will delay the decision by another 18 months.

A report in 2009 concluded that service shafts and piping ducts behind Parliamentary committee rooms were contaminated with asbestos, whose potentially lethal fibres could be disturbed by something as innocuous as “strong currents of air”. The report also noted that “the presence of asbestos has not been managed in accordance with the various regulations”. The current practice of ‘patching and mending’ the Grade I, 150-year-old building will not be helping the condition of the asbestos. Depending on the renovation option chosen the works will cost up to £5.7bn.

The options are:

  1. A rolling programme of work, which would take longest and cost the most
  2. A “partial move-out”, with first the Commons, then the Lords, moving out
  3. A “full move-out” whereby everybody would relocate while the building is repaired – the least expensive and quickest option

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