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Portcullis House

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what assessment has been made of environmental factors affecting thermal comfort as defined in British Standard BS EN ISO 7730 in Portcullis house; whether any survey has been made of thermal comfort of workers in Portcullis house; whether any workplace temperature risk assessment has been undertaken with regard to Portcullis house; what the maximum operating capacity of the air conditioning unit at Portcullis house is; and if he will make a statement. (142331)

I am well aware of this issue and know that there have been a number of complaints about temperature control in the building. The Serjeant at Arms has directed his staff to investigate and to take the appropriate remedial actions. He will write to the hon. Lady when the issues involved are clear.

Parliamentary Works Services Directorate staff monitor the environmental conditions and systems in Portcullis house using the computerised building management system. As a result they are aware that since Easter the temperature has not been controlled as well as it should have been. An investigation of the cooling system has revealed a number of small faults. The majority of these have now been rectified and work is in hand to address the remainder as quickly as possible.

I understand that no survey of the thermal comfort of workers in Portcullis house has been undertaken. Nor has a workplace temperature risk assessment been carried out.