A Palace fit for Her Majesty The Queen for £320 million

Dale Potts
We’ve calculated that it would cost £320 million to build a replica of Buckingham Palace using the latest construction methods and materials.

Buckingham Palace is famous for being the most expensive home in the world you'll never be able to buy but we have calculated that you could build a new energy-efficient replica for £320 million.

Faithful+Gould, a part of the Atkins engineering design group, undertook a technical assessment of the current Buckingham Palace as part of a review of famous UK monuments by the Chartered Institute of Building's magazine, Construction Manager.

We worked out the cost of building a replica of the Palace, using the latest construction methods and materials, would take three and half years. Using the carbon calculator we developed for the Carbon Trust our team also assessed that the new Palace would emit 400 cubic tonnes of CO2 per year less than the original.

Mathew Fenner, Faithful+Gould project manager, explained: "Clearly as we were dealing with one of the UK's most important national monuments the preservation of its heritage characteristics was the most important consideration. However the idea was also to create a technically superior building and that meant using innovative design solutions and costing in a solid project management plan.

"Although the building externally would have a traditional appearance we would include substantial levels of insulation in the walls, floors and loft space which should pay for itself in as little as two years. This was considered a key priority with the current Palace's annual utility bill spend estimated at around £2.2 million. The insulation would cut heat loss by up to 90% compared to an un-insulated building.

"In addition, highly efficient double glazing systems would be used to replace the existing 760 traditional windows. They would be designed to replicate the original windows but would cut heat loss by half. Further carbon reductions would be achieved by installing photovoltaic panels, heat recovery systems and ground source heat pumps (subject to tube lines, escape tunnels and nuclear bunkers!) whilst grey and rainwater water harvesting could reduce potable water consumption dramatically."

The total build cost came in at £320 million, which included the construction of 19 state rooms, 78 bedrooms, and 52 principle bedrooms. This was around 10 times the original purchase, build and extension costs (incurred between 1761 and 1913) of around £33 million, in today's terms.

Including land costs, which on the current 40 acre site could be around £440 million, the price tag would be a combined £760 million, making it the most expensive residential property in the world. The closest challenger is the Villa Leópolda, on the Cote d'Azur, which was bought by an un-named Russian oil oligarch in 2008 for £390 million.

We have extensive experience working on historically sensitive projects including project management of the Imperial War Museum restoration programme in London. Additionally we have an international heritage & arts portfolio that includes work on the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi.

The other UK monuments looked at by Construction Manager magazine were Stonehenge, which could be rebuilt for £815,000, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge which came with a price tag of £52 million.

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