Palace of Westminster, Conservation Plan

Westminster, London

In 2007, Donald Insall Associates produced the first Conservation Management Plan for the Palace of Westminster, which was awarded a Europa Nostra Award. In 2017 we were appointed to substantially revise and update this document so as to prepare for the Restoration and Renewal project to conserve the buildings.

The new plan incorporates cutting-edge research into the historical heating and ventilation systems in the palace, as well as an enhanced understanding of the medieval buildings on site. This, and other investigations into the setting of the palace, its archaeology, and the history of the buildings in the 20th century, has resulted in a new Statement of Significance for the Palace of Westminster, a definitive assessment of why the building is important.

The plan also includes a comprehensive analysis of the vulnerabilities faced by the building fabric, from physical deterioration through to the sometimes conflicting imperatives of greater accessibility and enhanced security. It identifies opportunities for enhancement of the building, in order to make it more accessible, sustainable and useful, as well as setting out policies for its conservation.

The preparation of the plan — the largest of its kind ever undertaken by the practice — involved archival research, surveys of all accessible rooms and spaces both internally and externally, and the creation of a new database within which to store the information, which is compatible with Building Information Modelling systems.