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House of Commons: Cleaning Services

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 25th January 2018.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, which company has been contracted to carry out cleaning work on the ceiling of Westminster Hall; and what archaeological supervision has been provided to supervise that cleaning work.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

Work is currently underway in Westminster Hall to complete phase three of the conservation programme. This includes: the refurbishment of the lantern; removing the extensive dust deposits from the roof timbers; minor repairs to the interior of the roof to stabilize decorative elements and tracery; fire protection improvements; and new lighting.

The principal contractor for the programme is Mitie, who have in turn subcontracted the refurbishment of the lantern, cleaning of dust deposits and the minor repairs to the heritage and conservation specialists, DBR Limited. The programme of work is supervised by heritage architects Donald Insall Associates.

There is a large body of academic material on the Hall already available, with principal studies conducted between 1854 and 2016. Both information from this, together with extensive condition surveys, have been used as the basis for the specification for the current work and any further survey in this regard would be of no evident value to Parliament. It should be noted that the roof is an example of ‘standing archaeology’ – that is, it will be accessible for the foreseeable future as it has been in the past. The obligation to record the repairs and to deposit the records in the archives will be undertaken by the consultant conservation architect (Donald Insall Associates), specialist conservators, the in-house Architecture & Heritage team and Historic England. This information will be made available to interested parties and therefore no further archaeological supervision is necessary.

I have sent the hon. Lady a copy of the list of references to studies of the roof, and placed a copy in the Library.

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