Summoned by bells: McAlpine wins Big Ben restoration contract

Sir Robert McAlpine starts work in the new year on £29m of repairs to the famous clock tower at the Palace of Westminster.

Sir Robert McAlpine Special Projects Division has been awarded the scaffolding contract and pre-construction service agreement (PCSA) for a three-year programme of essential works to conserve the Elizabeth Tower, the Great Clock and the Great Bell, also known as Big Ben.

The works have been designed to repair problems identified with the Elizabeth Tower and the Great Clock, which cannot be rectified whilst the clock is in action.

McAlpine will repair and redecorate the interior and renew the building services, conserving  significant elements of the Tower, as designed by architects Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin

As the Tower is 96 metres tall, scaffolding is needed to enable workers to reach high levels safely.  Sir Robert McAlpine Special Projects Division will begin work on constructing the scaffolding, an essential preliminary step before any following conservation works can begin, in January 2017.  The construction is expected to last approximately six months, by which time the scaffolding will have reached the top of the Elizabeth Tower.  While the scaffold will be in place for the duration of the works, at least one clock face will be visible at all times.

The approximate fee value for the scaffolding construction and PCSA is £3.5m.  The conservation of the Elizabeth Tower as a whole is expected to cost £29m.

In addition to the scaffolding contract, Sir Robert McAlpine Special Projects Division has also been awarded the PCSA for the remainder of the conservation works. The PCSA will be used to allow further detailed planning for the conservation of the Elizabeth Tower, the Great Clock and additional modernisation, while the scaffolding goes up.



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BDC 305 Jun 2023