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£500,000 To Fix 4 Panes Of Glass In Parliament

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2884511/Taxpayers-500-000-bill-fix-four-panes-glass-MPs-offices-Politicians-approve-sum-temporary-repairs-235m-building.html

Taxpayers will have to fork out a staggering half a million pounds to fix four panes of glass in the building housing MP’s offices.

Private discussions have been held about how to cope with the latest - and most expensive - setback at Portcullis House, the modernist glass ‘atrium’ adjoining Parliament which opened in 2001.

It has emerged that MPs have approved £488,000 for temporary repairs to the damage, almost half of which will be spent on a ‘feasibility study’.

At least we didn't ask the designer to build something that's easy to replace.

Impress that half the budget has been used on a "jolly up". Excellent.

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The public sector has lots of these 'statement buildings' from the bubble years and they seem to all get these very expensive defects in windows, architectural staircases, air circulation systems etc. The Crick Institute going up next to St Pancras station is another one. It's a very clear sign of senior management getting too big for its boots.

Having been a worker drone in one of these buildings in the past, I can say from experience that they're often quite uncomfortable places to work because they just don't function properly. We used to have all kinds of problems like temperatures in the laboratories going over 40C most nights and messing up the biological experiments, repeated power failures, seminar rooms where you couldn't reduce the light level because 3 of the 4 walls were glass so nobody could see the histology images on the slides, and of course the obligatory leaky statement windows costing a six figure sum to fix. And this was in a statement building that had been up for several years so should have been through most of the teething problems, but if anything they seemed to be getting worse.

It was a pleasure moving to my next job in a bland building from the mid-1990s which actually worked. Market tops are very silly times.

Edited by Dorkins

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Perfect

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

When commissioned in 1992 the cost of Portcullis House was to be £165m. After building cost inflation and delays, the price increased to £235m. Costs included £150,000 for decorative fig trees, £2m for electric blinds and, for each MP, a reclining chair at £440.[2] A parliamentary inquiry into the over-spend was carried by Sir Thomas Legg. Although completed in 2000, the report was never published.[3]By April 2012 the fig trees, which were rented, had cost almost £400,000.[

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portcullis_House

Both the architect and the contractor are of course enobled.

Edited by R K

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I suggest replacing the glass roof with a start trek like force field. It might cost £100m to install and £100K a month to run, but it will be well worth it.

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They "rented" fig trees? WTF?

They rant about people claiming benefits and struggling on pennies while they rent ******ing fig trees?

Feasibility study? england truly is the country of the middle manager and pointless bureaucrat.

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Another black hole for finances in the Labour years was every tinpot government department having its own corporate style, logo and silly motto (usually something like 'West Lincolnshire Social Services: Empowering communities and individuals to achieve their potential' etc. The Dutch government simply uses the same style for every department.

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Another black hole for finances in the Labour years was every tinpot government department having its own corporate style, logo and silly motto (usually something like 'West Lincolnshire Social Services: Empowering communities and individuals to achieve their potential' etc. The Dutch government simply uses the same style for every department.

Wait a minute, are you saying this might have been a poor use of some mug taxpayer's lifetime tax contributions?

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I suggest replacing the glass roof with a start trek like force field. It might cost £100m to install and £100K a month to run, but it will be well worth it.

Logical, but silly.

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Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris, who sits on the Public Accounts Committee said: ‘It is astonishing to find that this problem is going to cost so much to fix.

‘A very unwelcome Christmas present for both the Parliamentary authorities and the taxpayer’.

Jonathan Isaby, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Portcullis House increasingly looks like a black hole for hard-pressed taxpayers’ cash.

From the article they've had problems with that glazing from the start and the building wasn't built that long ago.

So why isn't the cost to remedy the ongoing problems covered by the constructors/designers or by the insurances of the constructors/designers.

Of course it's easier to bill the taxpayer because its free money plus insurance means financial sector and they'll all be thinking bailouts and sinecure jobs when the financial sector is involved in anything.

At least they might have explained why remedying defective work has to be paid for by the taxpayer and not by those that did the work - or their insurances.

Edited by billybong

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They should have used it for MP's accommodation instead. I imagine if that were the case - such problems would be rarer....

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Having been to a meeting in the building a few years ago it comes as no surprise that now the gloss has worn off, it is expensive to fix. However a lot of the cost of the building was caused by them having to build over a secret building and construct an underground station below the secret building.

If you think this is a lot of money wait until they admit how much it is going to cost to refurbish the houses of parliament and remove all the asbestos. Given they are fighting shy of removing all the asbestos from our schools, maybe we should insist they keep working in the building, as is, until all the schools are done first. My son was somewhat alarmed to find a sign on a door saying 'do not open asbestos inside' when he was back stage operating the lights for a Christmas production. Merry Christmas!

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The public sector has lots of these 'statement buildings' from the bubble years and they seem to all get these very expensive defects in windows, architectural staircases, air circulation systems etc. The Crick Institute going up next to St Pancras station is another one. It's a very clear sign of senior management getting too big for its boots.

Having been a worker drone in one of these buildings in the past, I can say from experience that they're often quite uncomfortable places to work because they just don't function properly. We used to have all kinds of problems like temperatures in the laboratories going over 40C most nights and messing up the biological experiments, repeated power failures, seminar rooms where you couldn't reduce the light level because 3 of the 4 walls were glass so nobody could see the histology images on the slides, and of course the obligatory leaky statement windows costing a six figure sum to fix. And this was in a statement building that had been up for several years so should have been through most of the teething problems, but if anything they seemed to be getting worse.

It was a pleasure moving to my next job in a bland building from the mid-1990s which actually worked. Market tops are very silly times.

It's true. I've rarely found much correlation between the impressiveness of the outside of a building and how nice a place it is to work in. I have a lot of sympathy for the ideas behind functionalist architecture, although most of it turned out to be crap for other reasons.

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Another black hole for finances in the Labour years was every tinpot government department having its own corporate style, logo and silly motto (usually something like 'West Lincolnshire Social Services: Empowering communities and individuals to achieve their potential' etc. The Dutch government simply uses the same style for every department.

I worked on one of these silly council projects. One day I was in the studio moaning about how the money would be better spent on services the public need only to find that our client was sat behind the screen waiting to pick something up. Pesky open plan offices!

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From the article they've had problems with that glazing from the start and the building wasn't built that long ago.

So why isn't the cost to remedy the ongoing problems covered by the constructors/designers or by the insurances of the constructors/designers.

My own experience, both personally and at work, is that the builders seem to be able to dodge most of their warranties and responsibilities, once you have moved in.

I bought an "almost new" build a while ago. Loads of problems with the build - dodgy electrics, windows not installed right, water not installed to legal requirements. The builders and NHBC weren't in the least bit interested. Had to get it all put right at my own cost (I had legal threats from the water company saying that my installation was illegal and I was obliged to put it right)

Same thing at work. New hospital built, everyone moves in. A few years later, they have exceeded their electricity supply and in high Summer all the air conditioning has to be turned off, and electric heaters banned in Winter. Then the central heating packs in and starts leaking like a seive (builders had installed cast iron pipes, rather than copper which is the only recommended material - also they never put any corrosion inhibitor in the system). Drains start backing up, because the drains had only been sized for a building 1/3 the size. The generator was only capable of powering 20% of the electrical load, so could basically only provide life support in critical areas and operating theatres - all other work had to stop. Eventually, the whole electrical system ended up shorting out due to an inadequate "mains transfer switch" which blew up the UPS system for the operating theatres and IT department. With the transfer switch knackered, they couldn't switch back onto mains power, and had to run on inadequate generator until they could get an emergency hire company to deliver a 2000 hp generator in a container, and a find a crew of industrial electricians to hook it up. All the repairs and upgrades to reach minimum standards had to be paid by the NHS. The contractors that delivered the building weren't interested.

Edited by ChumpusRex

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It's endemic throughout many sectors. Zero pride in work coupled with ignorance on the part of the commissioners, if we're being generous.

I heard of one example where a company was commissioned to build a web application - and they delivered just enough for their MD to be able to demo it and get it signed off by the non-technical client. A month or so later when the IT department came to actually make it live - it turned out the application was nothing more than a barely interactive prototype/shell - and since the contract only provided for bug fixing in the first 30 days, it was basically useless. Talk about sharks in laid back hipster guise. In the end, some IT bod worked several weekends to code the missing backend. The really funny thing? The MD hit up the client for a linked-in recommendation a year later.

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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Public sector contracts are basically invitations to inflate the price as much as you can get away with.

Did you know that it is illegal for a public sector procurement to take "past performance" into account when deciding which tender to accept?

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1.2 Billion Euro museum building in Lyon, France delivered 10 years late. An austrian architect did a rough sketch on the back of an envelope of a dinosaur which the local council loved but proved almost unbuildable. The display rooms are odd shapes so a lot of space is waisted.

Still the Millenium dome is a similar project. How did a circus tent end up costing so much?

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It's endemic throughout many sectors. Zero pride in work coupled with ignorance on the part of the commissioners, if we're being generous.

Wrong on all counts except for the ubiquity. The 'commissioners' as you put it know they will get a building that is only worth a fraction of the budget they are paying. The rest of the money is disseminated through many obfuscated onion layers of corruption existing within all parties to the 'project' (except the end contractors who are paid and treated like sh1t and are increasingly not British nationals).

The large houses, private schooling, skiing and N.Y. shopping trips must all be paid for first.

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Asbestos is not usually a problem until you start interfering with it. Current regulation simply says it's location has to be recorded and it 'works' are undertaken then a suitable risk assessment conducted to minimize problems before the work proceeds.

Invariably this will involve a specialist firm to either remove or encapsulate it.

Much of the it must be avoided at all costs hype was engineered by the removal industry for obvious reasons.

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Public sector contracts are basically invitations to inflate the price as much as you can get away with.

Did you know that it is illegal for a public sector procurement to take "past performance" into account when deciding which tender to accept?

I know some laboratories that were upgraded at the cost of >£120k

All of us were thinking we wouldn't spend more than £20K - it was no more than a big fitted kitchen with some extractor hoods.

The company admitted that if it was a private job it would have been about £20k

The problem IS idiot managers (who probably think that their houses are worth what they paid for them too)

I guess it is just a way of getting tax payers money paid back.

Edited by LiveinHope

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All of us were thinking we wouldn't spend more than £20K - it was no more than a big fitted kitchen with some extractor hoods.

I think you're wrong about that one. Mrs BlueCat has some experience of this one. It is possible to fit a lab out with kitchen grade stuff but it will fall apart really quickly. Serious lab build-outs cost a lot more but last literally ten times as long.

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I think you're wrong about that one. Mrs BlueCat has some experience of this one. It is possible to fit a lab out with kitchen grade stuff but it will fall apart really quickly. Serious lab build-outs cost a lot more but last literally ten times as long.

well, with some years experience in science ;) the lab wasn't £120ks worth. It could have been of course. But it was a public sector price. Suppliers of laboratory equipment are no different in the prices they demand (you don't have to pay those either btw).

I am also of the opinion that smaller spends are much better value due to the frequency of laboratory moves and redesigns. I fitted out my lab with heavy duty, black kitchen work surface 10 years ago and what remains is still fine many post-docs and publications later.

IMO there is no point spending mega bucks on Trespa that will last for geological timescales if a new PI will arrive in a few years and a different lab layout is required, or your own work changes direction and you need to fit new kit or replace for a 'clean' start. A few hundred quids worth of kitchen work surface can go in the skip without shedding any tears. Salesmen are salesmen though.

Cheaper is simply just less expensive and less heartbreaking to rip out and replace. The downside is that you can't brag that your workbench and cupboards cost £120k.

Edited by LiveinHope

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