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Big Ben costs double; what lessons can be learnt?

October 18, 2017

Recently in construction news we have been hearing a lot about Big Ben’s renovation costs doubling. The project has become much more complex than originally thought due to the stonework needing more work; the cost of removing and repainting the metal in the tower and reglazing the clock face.


The Elizabeth Tower that is in the Palace of Westminster is 160 years old so insurance for carrying out the work is also expensive. According to Construction Enquirer the estimated costs have risen from £29 million to £61 million as £16 million has been set aside because of the level of risk.


It has been decided in parliament that Big Ben will not chime while the renovation works are happening with the exception of Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve. This means that from August this year until 2021 Big Ben will only chime twice a year.


In a joint statement, the clerk of the House of Commons, the clerk of the Parliaments and the director general said: “We acknowledge that there have been estimating failures. In advance of tendering contracts, the initial high level estimates were set at a lower level to avoid cost escalation from the market.”


At Eque2 we often talk to contractors trying to make sure they avoid these sometimes-crippling situations where projects run significantly over-budget without prior warning. Thankfully, investing in modern technology such as our EValuate estimating software alongside one of our contract management solutions, Construct for Sage or EVision, contractors of all sizes can gain visibility and control across the whole project lifecycle. This ensures estimates are accurate and projects are delivered on time and budget, protecting margins.

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