The Task

The Palace of Westminster, home to the House of Commons and House of Lords, is one of the world’s most recognised buildings and is part of an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site has been the home of Parliament since medieval times and is now in need of significant work to replace outdated plumbing and wiring, to address the risk of fire and flooding, to conserve crumbling stonework, and to meet modern standards of accessibility. In 2018 MPs and Lords agreed to undertake an extensive renovation of the building with the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme was established to deliver this work.

Ahead of work on the Palace, improvements will be made to buildings on Parliament’s Northern Estate: a group of historic listed buildings around Parliament Street and Whitehall which provide office accommodation and other facilities for MPs and staff. These buildings also need significant work to conserve their historic features, and to bring them up to modern standards. This work will need to be completed before the Palace of Westminster undergoes its restoration.

The Action

The Sustainability Tool was implemented in 2019 and since then has played a key role in managing and measuring sustainability standards on this project.

Currently in phase one, the Tool is being used to manage performance through 12 overarching sustainability issues, through which data on the refurbishment of the first two buildings on the estate is provided by six organisations. The Tool allows the collection, reporting and monitoring of social, economic and environmental data on Houses of Parliament Northern Estate Programme’s internal performance and that of its supply chain on the project, including principal contractors and professional service providers.

The Outcome, Benefit, and lessons learnt

As part of their subscription to the Sustainability Tool, the House of Commons Northern Estate Programme team have been receiving advisory and support services related to sustainability management. Our consultant team has been heavily embedded with the Northern Estate Programme team to help set out the sustainability requirements for the estate’s development.

The Tool provides the Northern Estate Programme team with a central and singular place to access large amounts of collated data from different reporters on different performance variables which is a major benefit given the complexity of this project and its high public profile.

After a year of data collection, the Northern Estate Programme team aims to put in place collaborative initiatives to help its suppliers based on performance risks and opportunities identified through the data reported into the Tool. Furthermore, by reporting on social indicators, it has also been possible to monetise social value and to provide a more accurate estimation of the project’s benefits and disbenefits to impacted people and communities.