Houses of Parliament: Restoration & Renewal (Data & BI) 

Project summary

Client
Jacobs | Houses of Parliament R&R

Project
Houses of Parliament Restoration & Renewal

Timeline
10 years +

Value
£ multi billion

Project story

The Palace of Westminster needs essential restoration to preserve it for future generations. Today, it is falling apart faster than it can be repaired. Many features have not been renovated since it was built in the 19th century.

The Restoration and Renewal Programme has been set up to tackle all the work that needs to be done to protect the Palace’s heritage and ensure it can continue to serve as the home of the UK Parliament in the 21st century and beyond.

Services Provided

1000+ rooms

Exacting
Preservation
Requirements

Multiple
Influential
Stakeholder
Groups

UNESCO
World Heritage Site

4.8km Corridors
100+ Staircases

The opportunity

  • The client required a Reporting and Analysis framework that enabled ‘Self Service BI’ through interactive dashboards alongside more traditional ‘static’ document based reporting methods.
  • This needed to be able to answer questions relating to the day-to-day operations of the business itself – such as Forecasted Spend, Recruitment Costs, Top Risks, Staff Headcounts, Reasons for Staff Absence, Ethnicity Proportions and Gender Balance.
  • The framework also needed to support automated reporting on Project performance such as progress of Site Survey activity, achievement of Milestones, resource loading and schedule slippage against the baseline.
  • The data held by the client was varied and held across several systems and informal spreadsheets, which were not integrated.
  • The reporting solution was to be built with only the tools readily available to the client; procurement of further systems was not permitted.

The solution

  • CMR produced a series of Power BI dashboards that were highly interactive and that automatically consolidated multiple data sets from multiple sources.
  • Approx. 50 dashboard pages were developed that analysed 10 different datasets.
  • These dashboards used an array of interactive bar charts, line graphs, tables amongst more innovative visuals such as Decomposition Trees and Sankey Diagrams.
  • Some dashboards also contained completely customised images, developed in Microsoft Visio that were linked to a data set and allowed the user to click on a component of an image (e.g. a map, schedule or floorplan) and see data points related to that component (e.g. number of unapproved access requests or ‘red’ milestones).
  • Some of these dashboards were restricted to the Executive Committee only and used ‘row level security’ to provide users access to only very specific elements of the data set whilst giving the CEO access to all elements of the dashboard.
  • All dashboards allowed the user to perform their own analysis by choosing how they’d like to filter the data, which data sets they’d like to compare with the ability to jump to the specific rows of data behind a particular component on a chart or graph. This gave users confidence that their data had been handled and represented accurately.
  • Data that was previously held in spreadsheets were moved onto SharePoint lists to improve data quality through the use of forms that allowed drop downs, date pickers, automatic calculations.
  • These SharePoint lists also provided the ability to audit changes to a data item and restore previous versions where an error had been made.
  • Multiple datasets were integrated inside of the Power BI data model; negating the need for further expenditure on a separate date warehouse solution.
  • All dashboards were setup to be ‘self service’ where a user could update them independently by clicking a button. Clicking this button triggered an automated sequence of steps developed in Microsoft Power Automate that notified Power BI to begin a refresh and then sent an email to the user on completion of the refresh.
  • “CMR’s Power BI and automation knowledge has been fundamental in achieving our Programme Reporting and Analytics Strategy. Power BI Dashboards and Microsoft Lists have now become the standard go-to for functional, management and Exec Reporting. We have received excellent feedback and engagement from our stakeholders and BI Dashboards will continue to play a critical role for Reporting as the Programme matures. Whilst there are lots of BI Developers, there are very few with Project Controls knowledge and this has really been the factor that sets CMR apart – the application of their Project Controls experience to provide flexible, workable BI solutions that can keep up with the ever changing demands of working on a Major Programme.”

    Nisu Rahman Gregori / Head of Reporting and Business Intelligence Jacobs | Houses of Parliament R&R

The impact

  • The client was able to reduce their report production time through automated report generation; reducing some reporting activities from days to minutes.
  • The client was able to improve data quality and increase confidence in the output though data drill downs that allow the user to click on a chart/graph item and see the data behind it; creating an ‘indisputable’ provenance from the source data to the report output/visual.
  • The client was able to generate insights that informed business strategy, such as:
    • Deciding to outsource recruitment activity due to reduced cost and time to hire.
    • Improve quality of schedule forecasting through identifying a consistent optimism bias that was leading to missed targets.
    • Demonstrate the constraints imposed on the schedule in a visual way.
    • Ensure that all the scope was covered, and sufficient allowances were made within each area to safely complete the works.
    • Easily demonstrate the interfaces between different trades and zones.
    • Easily communicate the overall schedule and sequence to stakeholders and other teams.

For more info contact

Daniel Craven

Associate Partner