To help support its members and to provide protection before a formal contract is issued, the Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) has launched a Client Order and Guidance Note that reflects the legislative and regulatory landscape in recent times.

Developed by FIS with the support of expert legal advisors at law firm Anderson Strathern, the new Client Order and Guidance Note for use in Scotland, England and Wales, is based on common issues and concerns that members have raised and is backed up by expert helplines. These new contracts will support FIS members working directly for clients and include a new and fresh set of standard terms that offer a fair share of risk and reflect the latest legislative and regulatory changes.

In an environment where the standard contract has become a misnomer, these contracts provide a mechanism to measure and benchmark onerous clauses that may have been introduced and offer more reasonable alternatives. In recent procurement research conducted by FIS, only 11% of contractors are routinely working on unamended “standard” contracts.

It is more common than might reasonably be expected for companies in the sector to start on site in the absence of a formal contract – 20% of respondents to research by the University of Reading indicate that they are required to start on site without a formal signed contract most of the time.  The client order and guidance note will therefore provide a framework to support better training of members into some of the risks that are routinely being buried in contracts.

“The Guidance in particular gives FIS members key parameters to run and manage the commercial end of construction projects.  Working in conjunction with the excellent construction solicitors, Karyn Watt and Gillian Green from Anderson Strathern, gave us the platform to marry legal and commercial advice to FIS members,” said Len Bunton FRICS FCIArb Hon FRIAS, Bunton Consulting Partnership.

“It is essential, particularly in today’s complex and challenging market, that members are aware of the risks they are taking on when entering into contracts and do what they can to mitigate them. The provisions in the Client Order and the Guide are there to highlight risks and to give members guidance as to how to best manage them. In a sector where recent  changes can often be difficult to manage, the Client Order aims to address the most common issues the members are currently encountering in a pro-active and commercial manner,” added Karyn Watt, Partner at Anderson Strathern.

Commenting on the launch of the Client Order and Guidance Note, Iain McIlwee, CEO, Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) said:

“Contracts sit firmly at the heart of risk management. Developing these, whilst it isn’t a panacea to all the problems raised in our report produced with the University of Reading, it does start to focus efforts on managing the risk associated with the significant changes in the commercial and legislative landscape.  They also build upon recent Best Practice Guidance that we produced with the CICV and the great work of the Conflict Avoidance Process to help individuals to better understand how we can improve overall understanding and management of the contractualisation of risk.”

In addition to this new Client Order and Guidance Note, FIS members can access a range of services to support them in managing the complexities of contracting and supplying products into the construction market. This includes template contracts, guidance on standard terms, support in dealing with disputes and a raft of best practice advice.

For further information or for any questions and comments, please contact FIS at or call 0121 707 0077.

WEBINAR: An introduction to the Client Order and Guidance Notes

Join us on 27 June to find out how these terms can support your own contract negotiation.

Download the Client Order and Guidance Notes

FIS members can download their copy via the link below