By September 2000, the building was almost 50% larger than first expected, thus requiring more design work and additional construction activity effectively preventing completion of construction as originally planned. So, much of the extended timeline shown in Figure 7 was due to the difficulties in achieving an approved design for the building. While the original schedule called for functional design approval by March 1999, it was not completely achieved until June 2000.
Figure 7: Scheduled plan vs. actual as at September 2000
Apparently, a "complex mix of factors" contributed to the increase in the time required to complete and agree the design of the building. There was also a concurrent disagreement between the architects and project management on some fundamental aspects of the design, with project management raising concerns about the developing design being over area and over budget. In August 1999 the architects informed the project team that the estimated size of the building had increased by some 4,000m2 to approximately 27,000m2, without being able immediately to identify why.
Following the Parliamentary debate in June 1999, project management instructed the architects to look again at the design of the debating chamber. This involved significant additional work by the architects and other members of the design team. In particular there were visits to Holland and Belgium accompanied by members of the Corporate Body to examine the arrangements in the Flemish and Dutch Parliament buildings and to help identify the most effective solution for Holyrood. It took some three months from June to mid-September 1999 for the architects to resolve this single issue, hindering the progress of work on the rest of the design.
In September 1999, in the light of the difficulties facing the project, the Corporate Body and project management initiated a wide-ranging value and cost review in an effort to establish a reliable baseline cost for the project. The design team participated fully in this review and presented proposals in November 1999 that offered potential savings estimated at some £20 million.
As a further burden on the designers, project management and the client required the whole design team, and particularly the architects, to provide external presentations and support in negotiations. Throughout the project the design team were involved in a series of exchanges with others interested or involved in the project. These included Ministers, MSPs, the leaders and other representatives of the political parties, the City of Edinburgh Council as planning authority, Historic Scotland, the Royal Fine Arts Commission for Scotland and conservation bodies.
From Figure 7 it should be noted how long the design period ran in parallel with construction activity on site, to a much greater degree than originally intended. This must also have had a significant impact on construction cost.
10. AG's Report, 2000, p26
13. AG's Report, 2000, p27