Lawmakers discuss renovations on Palace of Westminster, include asbestos concerns

2 Mar 2017 by under News

UKParliament 100x100 Lawmakers discuss renovations on Palace of Westminster, include asbestos concernsThe meeting place of Britain’s Parliament is due for some much-needed renovations, and lawmakers are now in the process of determining the details of the rehab plan, which will likely relocate government workers for years and cost billions of dollars.

Renovation options for the Palace of Westminster, which holds the House of Commons, the and  Big Ben, include plans ranging from a 32-year timeline and a $7 billion price tag to a six-year timeline and a $4.4 billion price tag. The number of years and billions of dollars depend on whether lawmakers stay in the building during renovations, are relocated temporarily in shifts or are all relocated at one time, according to National Public Radio.

The news source reports the structure itself is sound, with most of it being rebuilt after a fire in 1834, but the building’s systems, including 700 radiators, four miles of hot water pipes, seven miles of steam pipes and about 50 miles of telephone cable, are in need of some updating. For instance, one sewer pump in the building dates back to 1888.

“No one’s had the opportunity to replace all these services in one go and come up with something that’s sensible,” engineer Andrew Piper told NPR. “Since the 1950s, it’s just been adaptation, adaptation.”

The size and scope of the project, along with the building being riddled with , which is linked to the development of deadly mesothelioma cancer, means specific renovation protocols and a hefty price tag for the project. Though lawmakers do not dispute the need to repair the building — it’s been listed on the United Nation’s World Heritage List since 1987 and is globally recognizable — they are still developing a plan and scrutinizing costs.


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