LET’S GET READY TO CRUMBLE
Parly building may only last another 44 years before huge repairs or demolition
The cont rover sial Scottish Parliament building could reach the end of its “useful life” by 2060, it has been revealed.
Just days after politicians celebrated the 20th anniversary of the vote on devolution, architectural experts have warned MSPs could be forced to find another home or approve a massive refit of the building.
A Scottish Parliament corporate body report also reveals the building is currently worth only £304million – despite having cost £414million to build. They say the remaining “estimated useful life” is 44.5 years.
Architectural writer David Black, a longstanding critic of the Holyrood building, said: “This means the building will have to have a massive overhaul to bring it back into condition – or be demolished and replaced.
“It doesn’t compare terribly well with the Scottish Parliament Hall in Edinburgh, which was built in 1639 and is still there.
“The Holyrood building has in-built problems. It is so ridiculously over- engineered.”
He added: “A lot of modern architecture is built for a 30-year life cycle. I went to an architecture conference where they were talking about 30-year life cycles being good for the profession because it keeps them all in work.
“I thought that was an astonishing attitude. There is no excuse for buildings lasting so short a time. It is a sort of designed in obsolescence with a commercial objective.”
According to Holyrood officials, the working life of the building – designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles – could be 100 years.
They also estimate the annual maintenace cost is £2million.
Peter Wilson, who was project architect for the Museum of Scotland, said: “The Scottish Parliament should have cost about £150million if it had been managed properly. But it was totally mismanaged, though an inquiry, which was a whitewash, said no one was to blame.
“But you could say the building has more value than some of the occupants. If you replaced them with wall or loft insulation, you wouldn’t know the difference.”
He added: “If the building only lasts 50 years, then it was a phenomenally bad investment.”
In 1997, the estimate for a new Scottish Parliament building was put at no more than £ 40million.
The building was finished in 2004, three years behind schedule and vastly over budget. The final bill came in at £ 414million.
It has been hit with problems including a 12ft wooden roof beam swinging loose in the debating chamber and a granite block coming loose on a wall 20ft above the glass roof of the MSPs’ restaurant.
A Scot t ish Pa r l iament spokesman said: “Our annual accounts assume an initial 50-year depreciation period for the building, which is based on standard accountancy practice. The design brief for the Holyrood building, however, envisages a working life of 100 years.”
CONTROVERSIAL The estimate for the Holyrood building was £40million but it cost £414million
PROBLEMS Building the parly in 2001
EXPERT Black, top, and Miralles