The Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament is not just a World Heritage site consisting of numerous Grade 1 listed buildings, it’s a cultural icon.

The Parliamentary Estate Department has always invested in lift modernisation, but feared this was more a reactive requirement than proactive investment. The estate recognised that a strategic overview was needed in order to proceed with proactive future investments. SVM Associates have been appointed to undertake a strategic overview of vertical transport needs across the entire Parliamentary Estate, numbering 12 significant buildings (including The Palace of Westminster itself).

The main objectives and expectations for the project were to:

  • Ensure that long term investment provided best value by developing the correct solutions so ensuring a considered spend
  • Develop a standard suite of engineering solutions, saving design time and stakeholder interaction
  • Identify solutions making the estate more accessible so more inclusive for visitors, MP’s and Peers alike
  • Improve pedestrian flow throughout the estate. This is particularly important during a ‘Division’ when MP’s have only 8 minutes to get to the Commons Chamber to vote.

SVM not only delivered the set objectives but identified other aspects of The Estate to improve accessibility and traffic flow.To deliver these objectives SVM implemented:

  • A survey at every working area within every building in The Estate
  • The drafting of floor plans for every floor in each building showing evacuation routes and every lift (there are over 100), including an innovative ‘at a glance’ label to showcase lift features
  • Solution designs overcoming many challenges including; structural constraints, meeting the needs of multiple stakeholders, (often having diametric views) and the architectural demands of Grade 1 listed buildings.

SVM were selected for this project from amongst multinational competition for several reasons, one being the submission of a comprehensive and technical plan for every stage of the project. Additionally the offering of a more focused, niche service was seen as beneficial to the client as well as being cost effective – gained through delivery.

This demonstrates clearly that if you have a large complex estate with unusual challenges you can rely on SVM Associates to find the right solutions.


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