DBR Appointed General Contractor For Palace Of Westminster Ground Assessments

Houses of Parliament Restoration DBR (London) Ltd (DBR), one of the UK’s leading conservation construction specialists, announces it has been named as the principle General Contractor for the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority’s Intrusive Survey of the Palace of Westminster.

Commencing in July 2022, the ambitious project will see the creation of 23 boreholes, some reaching 70m in depth, to assess ground conditions around the Parliamentary Estate. These will subsequently inform decisions around essential restoration work required to preserve the 150-year-old building.

DBR’s successful bid, following its appointment to the Survey’s Framework in February, will see the contractor undertake a wide range of activities. This includes, but is not limited to, the decanting of rooms and protection of heritage assets during works, as well as the careful dismantling and replacement of historic fabric to allow intrusive investigations.

Furthermore, the project team will also support other framework lots, to successfully and sensitively deliver the project objectives without damaging the structural integrity of the building.

Commenting on the news, DBR’s Executive Director, Adrian Attwood says, “We already have a long association with the Palace of Westminster, having recently completed two of the site’s most far-reaching conservation programmes: the renovation of The Elizabeth Tower and the decade-long restoration and replacement of the Estate’s 50,000 encaustic tiles. This has given our team a deep understanding of this treasured landmark’s specific requirements, meaning they have the unrivalled knowledge and experience to oversee such a complex task, which require maximum care, lightness-of-touch and attention-to-detail.”

What Lies Beneath

DBR will be working alongside some of the most recognised and respected names in conservation construction to deliver this intensive and extensive project, including: AECOM, Ductclean, Concept Engineering Consultants, Alan Conisbee & Associates and James Fisher Strainstall.

Consultancy will also be provided by the Museum of London, whose archaeologists will be on site for the excavation of each hole, recording any finds of historic interest.

Elsewhere, DBR will oversee the survey of 160 rooms across Parliament, where floorboards will be lifted, walls sensitively drilled and ceiling panels removed to evaluate a range of structural issues, related to the intrusive survey. Simultaneously, specialist M&E teams will continue to inspect the hundreds of miles of interconnected power cables, gas, water and heating pipes, and outdated water and sewage systems.

Starting in July, the surveys will continue over the next 12-18 months.

Highlighting the significance of the appointment, Attwood adds, “We cannot wait to get on-site and start working with some of the best and most respected specialists in the business to conserve this unique landmark, helping to return it to its former glory. In short, we are honoured to be appointed by the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme, building on the reputation we have established through our previous work on the estate as a leading heritage contractor.”

David Goldstone, CEO of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority, says “Our experts are carrying out the most detailed ever surveys of the Palace of Westminster, which will be critical to informing decisions about the essential restoration to preserve our historic Parliament buildings.”

Image credit: Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal.