Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Palace of Westminster is falling down

News that it will cost more than £5bn to restore the Palace of Westminster only confirms my view that the answer is to move the whole operation to Arkwright's Mill in Cromford and allow the old pile by the Thames to fall to ruin.

Will anyone have the courage to take up my idea? I doubt it, We are governed by mediocrities.


Anonymous said...

That last bit made me chuckle :)

Phil Beesley said...

Whatever decision is made, it could be a useful project management exercise to observe.

Parliamentarians own the brief -- what the new building should be, or how the old building should be renovated -- and they own the budget. They have to appoint some people of their own (MPs, Lords, trusted national servants) to supervise the project at an executive level, with experts (builders, architects, historians, archaeologists, engineers) delivering the committee invention.

According to project management systems such as PRINCE, the executive explains what is hoped and the implementation team negotiate what can be delivered. Something like that results in a plan.

The plan is where things happen. Diggers rip up ground and bricks are laid. Disruption events in the plan result from a huge increase in oil prices, strikes and human stupidity (who ran that power cable without documenting it). Commercial house builders work under these conditions all of the time but they still build houses at a profit, more or less.

The rules are to have a plan, stick to it, and ask everyone around you to tell you bluntly when it is going wrong. Make it clear that you aren't going to blame the messenger. And that the plan might change.

All plans have mitigation. Mitigation might mean dropping features of a design or throwing in a bit more money. All plans have mitigation strategies. Mitigation costs a lot of money, if you have a historic building sitting on a Roman city. These costs are completely unknown.

Mitigation budgets never pay for executive stupidity. No project manager has a public budget to pay for random executive plan changes.

So perhaps we should allow Parliament to set a budget and assemble an executive for a rebuilding team. The shock of information would inform them.

Geoff said...

Surely in the spirit of the times it could be sold/leased over to Disney or their ilk in exchange for allowing its customary use on a few occasions each year to be held there.