LET’S GET READY TO CRUM­BLE

Parly build­ing may only last an­other 44 years be­fore huge re­pairs or de­mo­li­tion

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News - Mark Aitken Po­lit­i­cal Editor

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.”

Pic Reuters

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL The es­ti­mate for the Holy­rood build­ing was £40mil­lion but it cost £414mil­lion

PROB­LEMS Build­ing the parly in 2001

EX­PERT Black, top, and Mi­ralles

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