The Palace of Westminster's Victoria Tower Fabric Safety Project

Tenders opening for Men with Tools to Save Parliament’s Victoria Tower

The Palace of Westminster’s Victoria Tower Fabric Safety Project will hit an early milestone this week with the publication of the market engagement documents, which, in turn, will inform the project’s procurement process. 

The exterior masonry of Victoria Tower – the tallest tower in the Grade 1 listed Palace of Westminster – is deteriorating, meaning that it now represents a risk to health and safety. The root cause of this degradation can be attributed to the tower’s yearly exposure to the freeze-thaw cycle, and the increasing frequency of storm conditions, which further weaken the structure. 

In spite of the mitigation measures currently in place, including a protective safety deck at the base of the tower, the only way to eliminate the risk is to repair the tower’s stonework. That is the primary objective of this project, which, despite still being very early in its timeline, is already planning the procurement of works to publish an Invitation to Tender later this year. Work on site is not expected to start until 2024, however.  

Jake Vaughan, the Executive Sponsor for the project and House of Lords Reading Clerk, said:   

“Victoria Tower is a key part of one of the country’s most iconic and recognisable buildings. Extensive repairs to its stonework are needed to make sure that this 98-metre tall tower is safe for all.” 

“Interim safety measures have been put in place, but these works are vital to Victoria Tower’s long-term future. The benefits of the work are expected to last for more than 30 years.” 

“Also, as custodians of part of the UNESCO Westminster World Heritage Site, Parliament has a legal duty of care to prevent the tower from deteriorating further.”  

This complex project on the 160-year-old tower will involve the full scaffolding of the tower. Subject to further detailed analysis, it is expected to be completed in 2029 and cost in the region of £170 million.  

With the aim of saving money by eliminating the need for future structures, the project’s scaffolding will also be used to complete conservation works on the window glazing, cast-iron roof, rainwater drainage system and flagpole. 

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