Parliament could be on its way out of London, at least for a short period, to allow major repairs and restoration at the Palace of Westminster.
The refurbishment work, with an estimated cost of £3bn, is likely to take up to five years and will be a huge undertaking.
A Grade I-listed building, much of the original construction took place in the early 19th Century. A lot the original concrete flooring was laid in the 1830s, for example, with little work done on it since the early 1900s, so concrete flooring contractors may be consulted to modernise this.
Earlier in 2012, cracks in the building were reported in the media. It was also widely reported that the Clock Tower, renamed as Elizabeth Tower in mid-September in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee), was starting to lean.
Responding to the reports, Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said that everything was “structurally sound”. However, the palace buildings are well known for being infested with rodents, whilst the electrics and plumbing are constantly being maintained.
Such is the extent of the work, a Commons source speaking to the Sunday Times said that moving out was the most cost-effective response. The source went on to say that, while the work could be completed during summer recesses, it would triple the cost and take four times as long.
A study is already under way into the future upkeep of the palace building, with its findings due to be discussed by MPs through the course of the year.
A decision on what action to take is likely to be reached before the Christmas break, with work starting in 2015.
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