HOLYROOD bosses are spending an average of £1 million a year on alterations and improvements to the Scottish Parliament building – which was completed just eight years ago.
More than £6m has been spent since 2006 on everything from lighting upgrades and security measures to gutters and draft-proofing.
The latest list of spending includes £271,775 for a new chiller unit to cool the parliament’s IT server rooms; £15,621 on upgrading committee room lighting to LED bulbs; £2904 on timers for tea points supplying boiling water; £17,736 on loft insulation at Queensberry House, and £2075 on draft-proofing windows, also at Queensberry House.
The parliament said much of the work was designed to cut energy costs and carbon emissions and would save money in the long run.
Lothians Green MSP Alison Johnstone praised parliament bosses for promoting energy efficiency, but said some measures, such as the loft insulation and draft-proofing at Queensberry House could have been done at the start.
She said: “Perhaps in all the excitement of a new building, the simple steps that can make a big difference were overlooked.”
The £414m building was officially opened in October 2008, three years late and ten times the original quoted price.
Other items of expenditure over the past two years have included £17,861, which was spent upgrading a boiler; £15,223 on new broadcasting equipment; £3508 on installing an “uninterrupted power supply for the chamber voting system”; £1663 on meeting room improvements, and £3390 on three external display panels designed to guide visually-impaired people to the public entrance.
Also listed in the details released under freedom of information powers is more than £500,000 spent on preparatory design work for the controversial new security extension. Work is now under way on the £6.5m annexe – despite a campaign to stop it and complaints that it is turning the parliament into Fortress Holyrood.
The parliament has also already spent more than £1m on bollards and concrete benches designed to block the path of an explosives-laden vehicle; £412,000 on turnstiles; £232,000 on a “triangular roundabout” and chicane outside the car park; and £233,000 on traffic lights and security barriers at the car park.
It also recently spent £75,000 on a new bar for MSPs.
Independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald said there seemed to be constant refurbishment work going on.
“Nobody likes to say or hear ‘I told you so’, but my office did try to warn people that the magic of the new building would wear thin a lot earlier than perhaps was imagined.
“One of the architects who advised me at the time of construction forecast, said it would need pretty major refurbishment in ten years.”
She said she had warned when the parliament was being built that the unique design would mean high maintenance costs. There are also aspects of the design which mean every time it rains it rains inside.”
A Holyrood spokesman: “The Parliament has invested in a number of energy efficiency measures which will reduce our gas and electricity bills, as well as our carbon emissions. The decision to build an external security facility follows clear and consistent security advice.”
WHERE THE MONEY IS GOING
Free Cooling Project (Air Cooled Chiller Replacement): £271,775.00*
Zip Boiler upgrade: £17,861.92
Committee Room Lighting upgrades to LED bulbs: £15,621.15*
New Broadcast Antenna and cabling: £15,223.68
Electric Metering of Plant Room Equipment: £11,743.92*
Install new external display panels: £3390.30
Access Hatch Alterations: £3610.65
Tea Point timers installation: £ 2904.33*
Install new water supply to Plant Room: £1442.29
Security Project – External Security Facility: £504,978.00
Install Loft Insulation (Queensberry House): £17,736.14*
Low Energy Air Filters for Air Handling Units: £7946.85*
Uninterrupted Power Supply for Chamber Voting System: £3508.48
Window Draft Proofing (Queensberry House): £2075.76*
Meeting Room (P1.02) Improvements: £1663.04
*Carbon Management Plan related projects