Scottish Parliament – Debating Chamber Lighting Project


Scottish Parliament


Debating Chamber Lighting

Project Description

Carry out improvement works to the lighting in the Debating Chamber of The Scottish Parliament. Project was in two phases:

  • PHASE 1 Preparatory Works – Spring Recess 2017
  • PHASE 2 Main Works – Summer Recess 2017

Works successfully completed and site handed back to Client 31st of August, ready for Parliament to reconvene 04th September.

Client Requirements

• Bespoke scaffolding design and installation to give access to all areas of the ceiling.
• Replacement of all Chamber lights with new bespoke fully controllable LED fittings.
• New blinds and window film to screens.
• Completion of work during summer recess (1st July to 3rd September).
• Accident free work site.


Numerous unknowns due to limited ability for surveys (many areas inaccessible) plus short programme with no room for delay (MSPs must return on the 4th September) made this a high risk project. Challenges faced included:

• Wiring above ceiling; there would not be enough time if a re-wire or spec change be required.
• Accommodating scaffold in this architecturally complex interior; the high level being crowded with timber beams, steels ties and glass panels.
• Due to the unique interior it was impossible to accurately estimate the time that would be needed to construct scaffold.
• Floor not strong enough to hold scaffold.
• Whether scaffold would give access to all areas of the ceiling – never before achieved in the Chamber’s finished form.
• Distance from set down area to chamber for scaffold transport.
• Expensive, fragile and unique fixtures and fittings – any damage had potential to impact greatly on project due to time restrictions.
• How to position bespoke pendant lights – lights to be hung from complex and irregular structure of beams from 4 cables.
• How to keep site clean while 175 tonnes of scaffold are removed – need to ensure that new fittings are not soiled as access to clean is removed.
• How to test new lighting levels that requires a scaffold free space when any need to rectify might require the scaffold access.
• Each individual component to come through site to be visually checked by Parliament security and police and their dogs.


Worksite surveyed for dimensions using latest 3D scanning technology. This enabled:

• Scaffold uprights to be placed precisely to match with underfloor steel structure.
• Suspended lights hung to accurate locations.
• Templates produced for louvres.

To view some of the impressive statistics from this project check out our project infographic.