Restoration Comedy

Estimates for work to remove asbestos and outdated cabling at the Palace of Westminster, a 150-year-old Grade I listed building, give an extreme illustration of the complexities of managing asbestos in an occupied building.

_83704272_parliament_bbcA 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”.

A rising scale of works and approximate costs and time scales has been put together ranging from £3.9bn for basic work to £5.7bn for a major restoration.  If MPs and peers choose not to move out of the buildings while the work is carried out the project will take over 25 years to complete.  Read the BBC’s Parliamentary Correspondent’s full analysis here.