Construction and Design Phase

Responsibility for the Holyrood project was handed over to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) on 1 June 1999.

Demolition works were completed on the Holyrood site and main construction work began.


After a debate on 17 June 1999, MSPs endorsed the decision to continue with the building on the Holyrood site at a total cost of £109m (£62m for building construction costs). The main reasons for the increased budget at this stage were the need for additional space for staff, the requirement for more circulation space, and the creation of a new formal entrance.

An issue of concern to some MSPs during the debate was the proposed shape of the Debating Chamber, and, after further consideration, this was revised by the Design Team, and accepted by the Parliament in September 1999.

In November demands for further space emerged. The SPCB instructed the Design Team to begin a feasibility study to consider how best to accommodate the additional staff identified. This resulted in changes to the design which had implications for the total cost of the building and the programme.


To verify the revised estimated costs and the effect on the programme, the SPCB, in February 2000, commissioned John Spencely to carry out an independent assessment of the project. On 5 April Parliament debated the issues raised by Mr Spencely, and voted to continue with the project at a cost of £195m with a completion date of December 2002. View Spencely report (4MB pdf)

A further recommendation of the report was the setting up of a Holyrood Progress Group. The Group were the principal advisory body to the SPCB in the management of the Holyrood Building Project and were responsible for playing an active role in monitoring the progress of the project against cost and timetable to ensure it was completed to a standard suitable for a Parliament building. The Progress Group reported on issues to the SPCB and MSPs through a series of newsletters and 'Question and Answer' sessions. View the Holyrood Progress Report newsletters.

In June the first vaulted ceiling of the MSP building was installed on the site and in October the new Parliament Building visitor centre opened to the public on a temporary site.


In May a major milestone in the creation of the new Scottish Parliament building was reached with the completion of the main superstructure of the MSP's office accommodation.

In June the Parliament again debated the Holyrood Project and recognising that the effect of building industry inflation and uncertainties over future risks that may or may not materialise before the end of the project would determine the final cost, agreed to a recommendation that the £195 million 'cap' should be removed.


In May the Holyrood Progress Group visited the Kemnay Quarry to inspect granite purchased for the Holyrood Building.

In September the first oak beams were installed in the chamber roof and in October the first of the MSP windows are installed.

The award-winning visitor centre was moved so that work on the landscaping can begin.


The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) began to produce monthly progress reports for the Financial Committee.

Plans were unveiled for the Holyrood crèche facility, the only public facility of its kind in Europe.

The leaf-shaped roofs above the garden lobby become visible for the first time.


In January the Debating Chamber ceiling was presented to the media.

In March the quotation by John P Mackintosh, the late Berwick and East Lothian MP, was cut in to Caithness stone on the threshold of the Donald Dewar reading room.

The last tower crane was removed from the Holyrood site as Holyrood entered its final construction phase.

Lord Fraser's Holyrood Inquiry Report, commissioned by the First Minister and Presiding Officer, was published and presented to the Scottish Parliament in September.

Staff moved into the new building at the beginning of August and MSPs followed at the end of the month. On 7th September Holyrood opened to over 900 visitors for the first sitting of MSPs.

On 9th October Holyrood was officially opened in the presence of the Queen. 

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