Armstrong says David Steel, the parliament’s presiding officer – equivalent to the speaker in the House of Commons – was largely to blame for the fiasco that has resulted in the project going more than six times over budget. Armstrong says Steel should not have agreed to design changes 12 months after the appointment of the late Enric Miralles as architect.
He writes: “When Sir David said he met with the architect and agreed an increase in space, almost doubling the area, the die was cast and the project was out of control. The redesign, the additional area, the construction managers’ costs and the abortive professional fees will have added considerably to the original cost.”
The appointment of Miralles was also criticised. Armstrong said the Catalan architect had “no track record” in comparable projects.
Armstrong also warned that the costing and timing of the project was impossible to judge. He said: “[It] will stagger on, incurring additional costs and finishing in its own good time.”
Armstrong was the first of two project managers to resign from the scheme as costs rose. Alan Ezzi left in June last year. The current project manager, Sarah Davidson, has faced calls to resign.