Friday, 20 November 2009

Holyrood's Maintenance Costs Rise by 40%

Some say the Scottish Parliament is a handsome building and others quite the opposite. The building is 5 years old, yet £94,000 has been spent on repairing leaky roofs, £8,000 has gone on rewiring lights in the MSPs' accommodation block and £20,000 spent on treating wooden slats. It opened in 2004, 10 times over budget and three years behind schedule. About 900 construction faults were identified.

Parliament officials confirm that new bollards and concrete benches are to be installed at a cost of £1.5 million to make the building less vulnerable to terrorist attack. It follows the installation of a chicane near the vehicle entrance to parliament and turnstiles outside Queensberry House and the Canongate entrances earlier this year, at a cost of £524,000.

Holyrood officials have signed an eight year contract worth £13 million, to keep its windows and doors watertight. The contract also includes maintenance of lighting and electrical goods. The previous maintenance contract, which covered the first five years of the building cost £5.5 million.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said the Holyrood building had been a black hole for taxpayers' money.

"There is no way a brand new building should need this level of maintenance and a more cost-effective option should be explored. This looks like a classic example of the public sector paying over the odds for contract work."

I can't understand why either. Such was the desperation of Donald Dewar and his luvvie friends to have this particular architect and design that all other aspects of the project were thrown out the window and now the taxpayer is left with a maintenance bill which could possible build a couple of decent sized schools or more. Astonishing.


Quiet_Man said...

tbh it looks like a 70's housing estate gone wrong, bit like the Byker Wall in Newcastle.

And they need protecting from terrorists? More likely their own people if they keep this up.

Still by voting for them you're only encouraging them ;-)

Anonymous said...

Any Architect or Surveyor will tell you that the building is costly to maintain because if its unique design - its as simple as that. This easily predicted fact should have been taken into consideration as part of Dewar's decision on whether of not to proceed with it but apparently was not. From a maintenance point of view it would have made financial sense to have avoided this type of design and opted for a traditional type building instead. As evidence of this you just have to look around Edinburgh to see beautiful traditional stone built buildings that were erected 100 years or more ago, and which have stood the test of time with very little need for external maintenance. I predict that within 10 years there will be such a clamour about ever increasing and unacceptably high maintenance and repair costs for the Scots Parliament building, the Scots government of the day will be looking to re-locate elsewhere to a traditional type building.

subrosa said...

I would have thought consideration of terrorist attack should have been included in the initial spec QM, but who am I to argue with the experts.

Your last sentence is true right enough but what else can we do?

subrosa said...

Modern architects think the building is wonderful M. I did a wee poll the other month and it came out 50/50 about the design.

Indeed I would have much preferred a traditional build for a parliament. Scottish architecture may be rather uninspiring but it has a certain look of solidness and dignity that I think the present parliament lacks.

Dramfineday said...

Yes, Saint Dewar what was the first estimate he gave? £30million? Another load of tosh...

subrosa said...

Wasn't it £40million Dram? That kind of rings a bell with me. They didn't mention it would cost nearly £20 million to maintain it for the first 13 years. (£5.5m for the first five and £13m for the next eight).

Grogipher said...

The £40m estimate was to turn the Old Royal High School into a debating Chamber - no more, no less.

The complex at the foot of the Mile is far more than that - it includes all of the offices for the MSPs, the Ministers, their Civil Servants as well as the army of folk who keep the place running - there's as much of the building underground as there is above!

The original estimate was something like £250m - so yes, it was double the estimate given for various reasons (increased security post 11/09/01, the death of the architect, the state Queensbury House was in, the uselessness of the Scottish Office....)

There's a darned big difference between 2x and 10x though.

Portcullis House was more overbudget, and yet no one even knows what it is on the street. It's just the media playing to the Scottish cringe, and I'm sad to see it take a hold here....

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