The palace is undergoing a decade-long refurbishment to the tune of $460 million

By Stephanie Petit
July 23, 2018 01:38 PM

Buckingham Palace has opened its doors to the public for a couple months while Queen Elizabeth enjoys the summer at her Scottish estate, but visitors normally don’t get this kind of look at the monarch’s London residence.

On Monay, the royal family’s Instagram account released a high-speed tour of the route staff members would take to navigate from the kitchens to the Palace’s Chinese Drawing Room. After rushing through the kitchen doors and down the basement, staff members hop on an elevator before navigating the famous corridors to reach their destination.

It’s a lovely walk, but it’s not exactly practical.

The tour is meant to highlight the improvements that will be made by renovations to Buckingham Palace, including new and larger elevators.

“In the future, we’ll be using the basement routes and then up through a new lift at this level,” architectural lead Tony Barnard explained, cutting down the complexity of the current course.

Barnard and his team are using Point Cloud survey technology to map out 400 rooms in the Palace to assist with the redesigns.

In November 2016, Buckingham Palace announced it was set to undergo a decade-long refurbishment to the tune of $460 million.

“As occupants are very aware, it’s a significant investment of public money,” Barnard said. “We’re consciously using technology such as Point Cloud surveys to show we have a good return on that investment to design alternations that allow the Palace to be more accessible and to function better.”

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Buckingham Palace
Pawel Libera/LightRocket via Getty Images

The overhaul is set to include replacing 100 miles of electric cables, 2,500 radiators and 36,000 square yards of floorboards. Around 5,000 light fittings and 500 pieces of sanitary ware — including toilets and sinks — will go, too.

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In a statement, the Master of The Queen’s Household, Tony Johnstone-Burt, said, “Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, and this program is designed to extend its working life by a further 50 years. On completion of the work, we’ll have a Palace fit for purpose until 2067.

Buckingham Palace
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“The program addresses parts of the structure you can’t see from the outside: the plumbing, electrics and other essential building services which have gone six decades without a comprehensive upgrade.

“We take the responsibility that comes with receiving these public funds extremely seriously indeed; equally, we are convinced that by making this investment in Buckingham Palace now we can avert a much more costly and potentially catastrophic building failure in the years to come. We are also confident that our chosen option – the 10 Year Phased Refit – offers the best value for money whilst allowing the Palace to remain fully operational and occupied.”

Major royal events — such as the Queen’s annual garden parties, Trooping the Colour, State Visits, Changing of the Guard and the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening — are set to continue as normal during the renovations.