Reservicing Buckingham Palace

Reservicing Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. Instantly recognisable as the official residence of the Sovereign, it is also a working building, hosting almost 100,000 guests and attracting over 15 million tourists every year.

The Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace

The Palace's electrical cabling, plumbing and heating have not been updated since the 1950s. The building's infrastructure is in urgent need of a complete overhaul to prevent long-term damage to the building and its contents. 


The most cost-effective way to replace these essential services, and to ensure that The Palace is fit for purpose for the next 50 years, is to undertake a phased programme of works over ten years. The programme will realise a series of long term financial and environmental benefits, as well as improvements to visitor access. The Palace will remain occupied and fully operational for the duration.


The reservicing of Buckingham Palace will be funded through a temporary uplift in the Sovereign Grant, as recommended by the Royal Trustees and approved by Parliament.


The programme commenced in April 2017 and will complete in 2027.

Reservicing and Access

The reservicing of Buckingham Palace is expected to take ten years and began in April 2017. The main project involves an overhaul of all the key systems, including replacing the Palace's boilers, electrical panels, cabling systems, water tanks and pipework, as well as introducing new measures to improve efficiency and accessibility. 

The work will significantly improve the visitor experience for the current half a million annual visitors, by improving accessibility for all. 

Find out how "Point Cloud" surveys are being used to help make design changes to the Palace. 


The reservicing project has created opportunities to take on apprenticeships through the project and source labour and materials directly from the UK. 


The reservicing project will reap financial benefits, through savings on utilities, commercial rent from office accommodation in St James's Palace and enhanced facilities fees from a longer summer opening and additional private tours.

The cumulative total of financial benefits each year on completion of the programme is estimated at £3.4m.


The visitor experience and access to The Palace will be improved.

Additional funding of £369m over ten years will be required to finance the programme. This will be funded by a temporary increase in the Sovereign Grant, the money given to the Monarch by the government, based on a percentage of the profits from the Crown Estate.


Why Now?


The last major reservicing of the essential systems which keep Buckingham Palace running took place in the 1950s in response to damage inflicted by bombings in the Second World War.

Repairs on the services have since taken place on a reactive and fragmentary basis.

Like other working buildings, Buckingham Palace's essential systems consist of electrical wiring, heating, hot and cold water pipework, drainage and data systems.

Now, many of the services have exceeded their design life as specified by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). This can affect how they function, their efficiency and overall safety.

Reducing risk

An independent report has established there are long term issues of conservation and repair.

"If these issues are not addressed they will present a significant risk to The Palace." 

A significant amount of high priority works need to be undertaken over the next two years in order to avoid a catastrophic failure involving fire or flood.

Services need to be removed and replaced in order to provide a resilient, safe and efficient building.

Currently in Buckingham Palace 92% of sub-distribution electrical boards are about to reach or have exceeded their design life by up to 10 years.

Over 1,900 cables have exceeded their design life and more than 130 circuits are more than 60 years old.

The age of these electrical services presents a serious risk of fire and electrical shocks.

A large portion of the oldest circuitry is located in the ornate state rooms, where considerable care needs to be taken in order to remove and replace the electrical systems without compromising decoration.

Pipework at Buckingham Palace

When the programme started in 2017, the heating pipework was over 60 years old and its valves are now in a poor condition, which could cause water damage to the building.

Over 60% of vertical drainage pipes were of original construction and are made from lead. With time this material sinks under its own weight and this can subsequently lead to failures in the drainage system.

Alongside essential work to the main mechanical and engineering services, The Palace has the potential/capability to become more energy efficient.

Boiler room at Buckingham Palace

The boilers were all beyond their extended design life and have been replaced. This will reduce energy consumption and decrease The Palace's carbon footprint.

The East Wing

The East Wing encompasses the front façade of Buckingham Palace and features the famous central balcony, where the Monarch and members of the Royal Family have gathered for public appearances during special occasions or historic moments since 1851. In 2023 the reservicing of this wing was concluded.

Powering the Palace: replacing the boilers

With the Reservicing Programme at Buckingham Palace now well underway, the Palace's ageing boilers have been removed. 

Identified as being in urgent need of replacement, the boilers - all over 30 years old - have been replaced by a new energy centre, which is anticipated to make carbon emission savings of 300 tonnes per year.

Replacing the boilers at Buckingham Palace

Read more about the boiler work here

Summary Report

The Buckingham Palace Reservicing Programme Summary Report is available to download here.

The Royal Trustees' Report

The Royal Trustees Report on the Sovereign Grant is available to download here.

The Royal Trustees are The Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Keeper of the Privy Purse.