Refurbishment lessons from the Palace of Westminster


So there is to be a ‘full and timely decant’ at the Palace of Westminster. No, not the pouring of another bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape but the mass exodus of MPs while the Palace of Westminster undergoes a full refurbishment. The major restoration of this most historic of workplaces is expected to take six years, and it has taken a cross-party amendment and an MP’s vote to decide whether a partial or full relocation of the House of Commons and the House of Lords should take place.

Despite its estimated £7 billion budget – almost £4 billion of that being spent on temporarily re-homing the Lords and MPs – many refurbishments share the same challenges as those faced by the Palace of Westminster. Here are the top-line considerations all business owners should take into account when thinking about an office refurbishment:-

Engage with staff as early as possible

….but be decisive. It has taken years for Government and MPs to agree on how to vacate the Palace but the approach to your own office renovation doesn’t have to be so drawn out. A site survey will clarify the extent of works needed and how disruptive they may be. Any plans should be communicated to staff as soon as possible, and involving them in the process will give them a sense of control and positive ownership.

Don’t put off works

…it could leave staff open to danger. It’s emerged that the Palace of Westminster is riddled with asbestos, plus the cabling and plumbing has barely been upgraded since the building was completed in 1870. In fact, there have been 60 incidents in the last 10 years that could have caused a serious fire. The moral of the story? Don’t ignore what you can’t see. We can complete a full site survey and infrastructure health check if you’re in any doubt about your own premises.

Planned maintenance is best…..

….as saving up all your office renovation and refurbishment work for one go isn’t sensible. It’s a trap that the Palace of Westminster has fallen into, with the renovation programme’s director, Tom Healey, citing the lack of a planned approach to maintenance for the convoluted and protracted process they’re now facing. Regular servicing and upgrades can save you refurbishment heartache (and more costly bills) in the future.

MPL Interiors would be delighted to help you plan and budget for a workplace refurbishment and recommend bespoke office furniture which will make a statement. Book a site visit today.