§ Sir Raymond Powell
In the 12 weeks of the summer recess, the Works Directorate completed another large programme of work. The value of the projets was £17 million and 1,800 contractors' employees were involved with up to 500 on site on some days. For the parliamentary data and video network—PDVN—installation, the magnitude of the task necessitated shift working, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Overall, the works were finished on time, but the reconstruction of the Members' and Strangers' Cafeteria is planned to be completed in November 1996 and the contract to repair the roof over the Lords Chamber and the Royal Gallery is planned to continue until October 1998.
Some of the more significant projects completed since July are as follows:Full PDVN cabling at Star Chamber Court Block, Norman Shaw North floors 1 and 2, House of Lords West Front ground and first floors and 1 The Abbey Garden.All Members' offices now have connections for colour televisions with the clean feed from the Chamber.The Refreshment Department modernisation phase C entailed the new Members' and Strangers' Cafeteria, completion due November 1996, and a new servery and furniture restoration for the Members' Tea Room.The Speaker's outer office was renovated.The Churchill Room was redecorated and a new fire escape was built.Automatic fire detection and new telephone wiring were installed at Star Chamber Court Block and House of Lords West Front.Fire precautions were installed, with rewiring and redecoration at the Burma road press offices.Security double glazing was fitted in the Members' and Strangers' dining rooms and the Shadow Cabinet Room.221WEnabling works were begun for air conditioning of the Committee Rooms.As part of the heating modernisation, steam and calorifier plant was replaced.Electrical distribution boards were renewed.The following lifts were modernised with disabled facilities: lift at the south-east corner of the Commons Chamber, lift at the south-west corner of the Commons Chamber, lift at the back of Speaker's Chair, lift at Sovereign's entrance and lift at Law Lords' corridor.The following works of art were restored: two fresco paintings off Central Lobby, a fresco painting in House of Lords Chamber and 35 oil paintings.The following lavatories were refurbished: Upper Committee Corridor South, opposite Committee Room 7, Commons Court Block—second floor. Lavatory facilities for the disabled were provided at the ground floor of 7 Millbank and the Lower Waiting Hall.The cash machines corridor was refurbished.The second phase of overhaul of the carriage gates was carried out.At Nonnan Shaw South external painting and roof repairs were completed.Work began on the roof repairs above the Lords Chamber and the Royal Gallery. Completion is due October 1998.Repairs were carried out to the supporting structure of the Princes Chamber ceiling.In the Library cellars, improved storage was provided.Asbestos was removed from plant rooms.In addition. two projects were planned for completion during the prorogation period. They are an improved sales counter at the Speaker's bookstall and the new pulpit on the main Committee Corridor.
There were also many more small projects, and with the very tight timetable, this demanding programme has fully stretched the House's technical staff and their contractors. The PDVN project and the building maintenance carried out under the same contracts in Lords and Commons areas were particularly challenging. The following statistics indicate the work involved in the PDVN contract:PDVN was taken to 454 desk positions, and there were 1,780 new telephone outlets, 912 data outlets and 1,910 new power outlets.This entailed: 359 of cable, 3.1 of metal trunking, 2.7 of water pipe and 24 tonnes of new Welsh slate for floors supported by 7.3 tonnes of new steel joists; 67,000 man hours were worked on the project.