Cost of McAlpine’s Big Ben refurb jumps by another £9m

27 APR 2021 BY JOSHUA STEIN  Completion of the renovation has been put back to the second quarter of 2022

Sir Robert McAlpine’s renovation of the Elizabeth Tower will face a further cost increase of up to £9m, due to disruptions linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Big Ben tower project will now cost close to £89m, after work on the site stopped for four months from late March 2020, and restarted with measures that hit onsite productivity until November. Its expected completion date has also been put back to the second quarter of 2022, after it was most recently planned for 2021

A House of Commons statement said authorities had “promoted the use of shift work, installed new signage, increased hygiene measures, adapted welfare facilities to promote social distancing and implemented temperature checks for those entering the site” at the beginning of the pandemic.

It added that renovation teams were now working at full capacity on site.

The restoration project was initially projected to cost £29m before it more-than doubled in September 2017 after it was discovered the job was “more complex” than first thought. Further problems with asbestos, pollution and bomb damage led to the cost jumping to £79.7m in February last year.


Scaffolding on the site still needs to be removed, while Sir Robert McAlpine expects to start installing the clock mechanism onto the building this summer.

Sir Robert McAlpine declined to comment.

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