Austrian Parliament Renovation Costs And Changes

Austrian Parliament Renovation Costs And Changes

At the beginning of 2023, after over 130 years of continuous operation, the parliament building ended its renovation. In 2014, the parliamentary groups unanimously decided to renovate the building on Vienna’s Ringstrasse to preserve its structure and ensure its suitability for the future. Between 2014 and 2017, extensive preparatory measures were undertaken, alternative spaces were established in the Hofburg and Heldenplatz, and 2017, the entire parliamentary operations were relocated. Construction work commenced in 2018, and after five years of renovation, it opened its doors.

Copyright: Parlamentsdirektion/Bubu Dujmic

Space

The renovation encompassed approximately 55,000 square meters of net floor space, renovating 740 windows, 600 historic doors, and 500 historic chandeliers and light fixtures. The usable floor space was expanded by around 10,000 square meters. Among the main architectural innovations is adding a new glass dome above the National Council Chamber, boasting a diameter of 28 meters and an area of 550 square meters. This allows natural light to permeate the hall for the first time. The new visitor walkway, “Plenarium, ” was established directly beneath the dome. The National Council Chamber has been redesigned, and the plenum was reconfigured to ensure accessibility.

The entire Beletage has undergone functional reorganization. Committee rooms were rearranged, and the former Budget Hall was transformed into the Bundesrat Hall. The top floor has been converted from unused space into the Kelsen restaurant spanning 800 square meters, four terraces totaling 400 square meters, and two glazed multifunction rooms. The entire roof has been replaced, and four new main staircases have been installed to provide central access to all upper and lower floors for the first time.

Previously inaccessible ground floor areas have also been opened to the public. Two committee rooms have been constructed beneath the National Council Chamber and the Federal Assembly Chamber. A significant attraction for visitors is the newly established “Demokratikum – Erlebnis Parlament” (Democratic Center – Parliament Experience), occupying 1,500 square meters directly beneath the Hall of Columns and in adjacent halls.

Construction

More than 100 construction companies from all over Austria were involved in the renovation of the parliament building. From the roof from Burgenland to furniture from Styria to the heraldic eagle, which is restored to its former glory thanks to the work of a metal workshop in Upper Austria, small and medium-sized local companies were largely at work. At peak times, up to 550 workers were simultaneously active on the construction site.

Costs

The total cost framework was unanimously set by law in 2014. The costs for the refurbishment were set at €352.2 million, those for the temporary location and relocation at €51.4 million – each with a reserve of 20%. In November 2020, a subsequent cost overrun of 20% was decided, thus activating the reserve. The final settlement for the overall project is expected to take place at the end of 2023. A residual risk of around 2-3% still exists.

Staff 

A complex commissioning process was imperative before commencing parliamentary operations in the extensively renovated and large-scale building. Through 47 distinct projects, encompassing tasks such as furnishing, equipping with media technology and IT systems, and organizing security and logistics processes, a coordinated approach was adopted to ensure the seamless operation of the building. The functionality of the National Council and the Federal Council was thoroughly tested through numerous simulated sessions. Additionally, a substantial logistical undertaking involved relocating 800 workstations, handling 6,400 moving boxes , and transferring 3,000 small and specialized inventory items.

Source parlament.gv.at

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