The second phase of the Parliament House project has been praised after it was completed six months ahead of schedule.
Referred to as ‘first class’ by Parliament House’s Lord President, the early completion of Phase Two is a significant step forward in the redevelopment of the historic building, which is currently undergoing a process of modernisation.
The £18.5 million Phase Two operation began in October 2009 and saw development work focus primarily on the mid-section of Parliament House. In particular, redevelopment work was concentrated on the site’s Reid Building.
Like the first phase of the project, works involved upgrading services and systems. Further improvements were made to jury and witness facilities, judicial chambers, office accommodation and security building links. Court rooms two and three were also refurbished as part of the programme.
Interserve is the main contractor for Parliament House and Aedas Architect Ltd is the architect. The project is being funded entirely by the Scottish Government and in total comprises three phases over a five-year period.
Chief Executive of the Scottish Court Services, Eleanor Emberson, said:
“Parliament House is both a working court building and an important part of Scotland’s heritage. The second phase is the most substantial as it equips the building to deal with the modern requirements of civil court business and assures its future within this world heritage site.”
Located in the centre of Edinburgh, Parliament House comprises of a collection of buildings which house the Supreme Courts of Scotland. The buildings are a prominent feature of the Scottish judicial system with the oldest, Parliament Hall, dating back over 400 years. The £63 million Parliament House project will update facilities and maintain the unique history of the site in order to ensure that it remains a central feature for Edinburgh in the years to come.
A previous attempt was made in 1999 to redevelop Parliament House; however, the project was abandoned due to the fear of spiralling costs. The current contract has reduced these costs and timescales considerably.
Phase One began in February 2008 and was completed in October 2009. The £12.3 million project included a variety of maintenance and improvement works to replace and upgrade essential services with work undertaken for electrical wiring, water pipes, heating, cooling and ventilation units, fire systems and lifts.
Two civil courtrooms also benefited from an upgrade in IT facilities, whilst additional courtrooms received improvements to jury and witness facilities and office accommodation.
Due to the location of the building and its historic importance in Scotland, a number of restrictions and special considerations are being taken. In particular, working hours are being restricted.
With the first two phases now complete, Phase Three is currently underway. This phase comprises the refurbishment of additional courts and artwork and statues in the historic Parliament Hall are being removed to enable rewiring, plasterwork repairs and fire alarm upgrades to take place.
The Parliament House project is due to be completed in 2013.