Wates wins £650m Parliament outbuildings refurb

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Wates has been selected to lead the refurbishment of several parliamentary office buildings adjacent to the Palace of Westminster. These include Norman Shaw North and South, 1 Parliament Street and 1 Derby Gate. The buildings were built between 1864 and 1906 and are in varying states of disrepair, having had little investment for more than 30 years.

They currently provide office accommodation to more than 950 people. Their refurbishment will help provide facilities for the House of Commons to temporarily move out of the Palace of Westminster while it undergoes a multi-year programme of restoration and renewal in the mid-2020s.

Wates is expected to start work on site in 2019. The company already has experience working for the parliamentary estate. Current work includes upgrading the Palace of Westminster’s automatic fire detection and alarm system and it recently completed the renovation of a significant section of Millbank House, a Grade II listed six-storey building used by the House of Lords.

The refurbishment programme is still in the design and planning stages for the individual buildings. The team is working to find the least disruptive and most cost-effective way of phasing the work.

As previously reported, BDP is leading the design process and WSP is project manager.

The Northern Estate Programme main works contracting partner framework is a single provider framework from which contracts for services and works will be entered into as and when the programme requirements emerge. The framework has no chargeable value at the time of the award, but the overall programme has been estimated previously at £650m.

Paul Chandler, group managing director of Wates Construction, said:  “We are delighted to have been chosen to deliver this nationally significant and exciting programme of work on the Parliamentary estate and look forward to continuing our successful relationship with Parliament.

“These buildings are at the heart of the UK’s heritage and we understand the responsibility we hold in helping to preserve them for generations to come.  We will bring more than 120 years of experience and knowledge to this project and will create a lasting legacy through our commitment to providing new training, employment and skills opportunities.”

Wates is the latest company to be appointed as contractors on the Northern Estate Programme. In October 2017, Lendlease was appointed lead contractor for the redevelopment of Richmond House, which is expected to serve as temporary home for the House of Commons during the Palace of Westminster restoration and renewal. Lendlease was appointed through Scape Principal Works, part of the Scape National Construction framework.

Ian Ailles, director general of the House of Commons and acting managing director of Parliament’s strategic estates team, said: “We are delighted to have Wates on board, joining Lendlease as partners on Parliament’s Northern Estate Programme. Both firms have not just a proven track record of working on significant historic buildings, but also show a commitment to people, skills and sustainability which will be at the heart of Parliament’s estate work in the coming years.”

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