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€2.9m spent repairing roof of Irish embassy in London



A view of the Palace of Westminster. Stock picture

A view of the Palace of Westminster. Stock picture

A view of the Palace of Westminster. Stock picture

A project to replace the roof of Ireland's embassy in London ended up costing more than €2.95m after asbestos and collapsing chimneys were discovered.

The restoration was a condition of the Department of Foreign Affairs lease for the building at Grosvenor Place in the UK capital.

The department said the project had been a "major, complex repair project" which involved keeping the building open for business throughout the reconstruction.

They said the roof of the building, which is around 150 years old, had been periodically repaired over the years but required complete renovation.

The final bill came to €2,957,263, paid out across 116 separate invoices over the course of four years.

The vast bulk of that, some €2.58m, was paid to Mundy Roofing across 14 different invoices, records obtained under Freedom of Information show.

Other costs included €187,169 to a project management firm for professional fees, consultancy services and architect costs.

Smaller bills were incurred for "sample cleaning of stonework" (€1,313), a cherry picker permit (€710.29) and a strategic fire review (€2,399).

A bill of €279 was paid for "photos of the London roof". Insurance for the project cost €25,000.

Structural defects and asbestos were also encountered during the project, according to an information note on the project provided by the department.

"This included repair and rebuilding works to a number of chimneys, which were found to be in danger of collapsing and had to be reconstructed, and removal of asbestos in the roof space," it said.

The overall project involved architects, engineers, lead and stonework specialists, safety consultants, as well as listed building consent from Westminster City Council.

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The department said: "There were a number of challenges in terms of health and safety, maintenance, structural issues and the business requirement that the premises remain fully occupied, and operated 'as normal' during the roof replacement."

The work had to be supervised by a heritage architect with a contractor experienced in working on historic buildings.

The department said all expenditure was "in line with our obligations under government procurement regulations and guidelines".

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