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Royal Palace upgrade

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Royal Palace upgrade

How much does it cost to renovate part of a 17th century palace to make it fit for a future king and queen? The answer is £4.5 million.

That’s exactly what the British taxpayer has placed towards the overhaul of Apartment 1a, Kensington Palace, which recently came to be the official residence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George.

However the actual expense is higher, since the couple also put in thousands of pounds of their own money for extra enhancements.

For example, public cash was used to renovate the kitchen that was already there, however Catherine and William wished to have another family kitchen, which they paid for themselves and they may have looked at lots of kitchen showrooms before deciding on a style they liked.

A royal spokesperson said: “Kensington Palace has a working kitchen provided by the Sovereign (public) Grant to support receptions and other public events which might be hosted there. There is also a much smaller family kitchen paid for privately by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

It was a significant restoration. The house was last resided in by the Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret, however recently it was used as office space.

Restoring a home

The house needed to be updated to a family home. Asbestos was found so virtually everything was stripped out, the roof was replaced — all to exacting standards to meet historical building regulations.

The job underwent the normal competitive tendering procedures, and an independent quantity surveying company confirmed that the costs were “commensurate with building projects of a similar size, sensitivity and complexity.”

It is always wise to obtain several quotes for any building work you are about to embark on as prices can vary hugely, whatever type of property you are dealing with.

Which? have started a scheme to put traders through an assessment that recognises reputable and trustworthy companies who successfully pass their assessment process. This scheme has been launched in London for traders in the home improvement industry so it is worth having a look at Which? before appointing a builder.

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