11 Downing Street was one of 15 refurbishment/repair projects in and around Whitehall
carried out for Property Holdings, the Government body that took over as building
landlord following the demise of the PSA. The other buildings included GOGGS (Government
Offices Great George Street), the home of the Royal Fine Art Commission in 7 St James’s
Square, Companies House, Old Admiralty Building and Admiralty House.
The range of works being carried out in these buildings was widespread. The Chancellor’s
home was the modernisation of a single passenger, however its location in a sensitive
24 hour building with access through No 10 required some finessing with the building’s
facilities manager to allow ‘noisy works’ to be carried out. Grove House had a vehicle
lift serving a car park with an out of service turntable, where we had to prepare
a report advising not only how to get the turntable back into service but the feasibility
of providing it with automatic, and remote controlled, operation.
At the other end of the scale, the tenants in Westminster Bridge House were on a
rolling 12 month lease and were liable to vacate in months rather than years. In
view of this, while the lifts were extremely unreliable it was not desired to invest
in major modernisation of these, eg by changing the controllers, due to the limited
benefit for an substantial investment and disruption.