The Queen's Buckingham Palace refurbishment has already cost British taxpayers £600,000 in consultancy fees
LONDON - The Queen is preparing to spend £369 million of public money on repair works to Buckingham Palace.
The project is not universally popular. More than 140,000 people have signed a petition arguing that taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the renovation when it begins in April next year.
But the uproar is unlikely to make much of a difference. The Queen started work on the project long ago.
Although not mentioned in last week's announcement - which included the publication a 39-page blueprint for a refreshed Buckingham Palace - the Queen has already quietly spent £600,000 working with her chosen designers and engineers drawing up detailed plans for the Palace refit.
The annual report on the Sovereign Grant (the allowance provided to the Queen by the government) contained the revelation in June. Under a note, titled 'Strategy for the Reservicing of Buckingham Palace,' it said:
"An options appraisal for the reservicing of Buckingham Palace was commissioned in order to ensure that the Palace can remain fully capable of supporting the duties of the sovereign, and members of the royal family, well into the future."
The preparatory work was described as "external consultancy" in a separate note in the Sovereign Grant annual report. Costs associated with this work totalled "£0.6 million," it added.
A spokeswoman for the Queen confirmed to Business Insider that this is on top of the estimated £369 million cost of the project, meaning it is nearer £370 million. She declined to comment further.
The Buckingham Palace renovation is being overseen by a consortium of seven organisations, who helped draw up the plans. Design and engineering company WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff is leading the project. It will be supported by architects HOK, cost adviser Gleeds, Berkshire Consultancy, construction specialist Sir Robert McAlpine, and IT company Accurro.
It is the biggest refurbishment since World War II. It will renew the palace's 33-year-old boilers, 20 miles of pipework, and 100 miles of decades-old electrical cable.
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