Leading contractors, developers and housebuilders have stepped up to support the Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) and signed a pledge to work with their strategic suppliers and manufacturers to drive CCPI conformance and raise standards in the industry.
Barratt Developments PLC, Berkeley Homes PLC, Mace Group, Morgan Sindall Group, Murphy, Persimmon Homes and Skanska UK, are the first companies to step up and become CCPI Demand-Side Supporters.
In becoming a CCPI Supporter, these companies are committing to supporting the CCPI and requiring their strategic suppliers and manufacturers of construction products in their supply chain to ensure that those products are either verified by the CCPI or undergoing the CCPI verification process.
The pledge includes a focus that CCPI conformance will be delivered as soon as possible and has a timebound commitment for delivery by December 2026 at the latest. To this end and wherever possible, CCPI Supporters are committed to introducing this commitment into supply agreements as a preference and prioritising working with strategic suppliers and manufacturers who prioritise delivery of CCPI verification and conformance.
The announcement has been positively welcomed by key industry organisations wishing to support this critical effort to raise standards in the industry including the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and the Construction Products Association (CPA – which is also the organisation credited as the founder of the CCPI).
Dame Judith Hackitt, author of the Building a Safer Future Review and Chair of the Industry Safety Steering Group said,
‘It is great to see demand side companies take this lead and setting expectations for the supply chains. This is exactly what we need to see to drive the take up of CCPI’.
From the National Construction Products regulator, Duncan Johnson Deputy Director Construction Products said, “This is a very welcome initiative and an important step forward in constructing better, safer buildings.”
Amanda Long, Chief Executive of CPI Ltd, the not-for-profit organisation set-up to independently verify CCPI conformance said,
‘I warmly congratulate the first CCPI Supporters on their leadership and strongly encourage others to join them. CCPI Supporters recognise that they need to deploy products that are supplied with clear, accurate, accessible, up-to date and unambiguous product information. Products that are verified against the CCPI will help enable companies to have greater confidence in the construction product information on which they base important decisions in the construction process. Watch this space for further CCPI Supporters announcements to come!’
CCPI, having announced its first product set verifications at the beginning of September is gaining momentum with now approximately 48 companies either already through or in process for the CCPI Organisational Assessment, (which is the gateway element of the CCPI assessment process), and approximately 46 product sets (including approximately 700 products) product information either verified or in process of verification.
The launch of the CCPI Demand-Side Supporters now provides the opportunity for organisations that wish to drive positive tangible change in the sector from the demand-side to join this community and demonstrate their commitment.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a CCPI Supporter please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to request a CCPI Supporter Pledge.
In conjunction with its members and the wider sector, FIS is developing an exciting new reuse pilot project to reduce the environmental impact of the fit-out sector and embodied carbon emissions and waste from strip out projects.
Surveys have shown that there is a growing appetite for enabling more reused products into commercial projects. However, there are a number of practical barriers for reuse. Often, there is little time and space on site to segregate and store products to be picked up by an organisation for reuse. Construction projects are very time dependant and any delays to a project timeline can be very costly. In order for the project team to specify reused products, they need to be confident that the products will be available at the time of installation and that the products meet the right quality requirements.
The reuse initiative seeks to remove these barriers, by collaborating with industry stakeholders to create a physical hub to store, process and distribute quality reuse products.
The pilot will take place in London and focus on two products: metal suspended ceiling systems and luminaires used in Cat A and will run for 12 months.
To support the initiative, FIS is looking for a project manager (on short-term contract or a secondee) to work alongside its sustainability champion and its CEO to deliver the pilot. More details here.
The project also requires a storage facility up to 200m2 of safe and secure storage space for six months, with the ability to grow in the future. More details here.
FIS CEO Iain Mcilwee said:
“I am excited about this project, we talk a lot about circularity, but sometimes I worry the hot air is contributing to climate change! This is a concerted effort to actually do something material, to learn as a collective and start, I hope, to catalyse change. We simply can’t carry on generating waste like we do – urban mining, reuse and circular thinking is essential in this.”
If you are interested in finding more about the project or joining the Reuse Initiative Working Group contact email@example.com
In an environment where detailing is under constant review, we recommend that designers check with the partition system manufacturer, and the doorset manufacturer when detailing any fire resistant drylining and where fire resistance and robustness is required.
The key message here is just because a detail has been used before, don’t assume it will still be supported by the manufacturer.
CITB Homebuilding Funding Pilot
The CITB Homebuilding Network is a 12-month pilot which can support CITB registered homebuilding employers and their supply chain, to access subsidised training without the need for employers to claim the CITB grant.
The pilot, which has been extended to the whole of England is aimed at smaller to medium homebuilders and their supply chain. Larger home builders are also able to apply for support for their supply chain.
Examples of training which can be funded include Fire Safety for Low Rise Flats, Housing, Building Regulations and Controls, Net Zero Carbon Foundations Courses.
(Below is a list of courses that can be funded and delivered by Saint-Gobain Training academies)
- Introduction to Single Frame Partitions (Metal Stud) (2 days) – Classroom
- Introduction to GypCeiling MF (MF Ceilings) (1 day) – Classroom
- Hand Taping (2 days) – Classroom: SUITABLE FOR DECORATORS
- Machine Taping (3 days) – Classroom: ALSO SUITABLE FOR DECORATORS
- Drylining Dab (Dot and Dab) (2 days) – Classroom
- Residential Site Managers Course (1 day) – Classroom
To discuss your training needs further please contact Farhan.Sattar@citb.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org
Construction workers operating under the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) agreement will see the second-stage pay increases come into effect from 1 January 2024. The CIJC pay rates were announced earlier this year, with the first stage increases effective from 1 July 2023.
In addition, the taxed travel allowance will increase by 1.5 per cent from 1 January 2024. Industry sick pay (which is paid on top of statutory sick pay) will increase to £156.33 from January 2024.
The rates should be read in conjunction with the Working Rule Agreement and Holiday Entitlement 2023.
The Chancellor presented the Autumn Statement yesterday setting out the Government’s plan for a stronger economy. This supported British businesses by removing long-term barriers to investment, delivering energy security and the Net Zero transition, investment in advanced manufacturing and delivering a world class education system enabling a highly skilled workforce that meets industry needs.
CPA Economics Director, Noble Francis, said:
“With one eye on the General Election next year, this was always likely to be an Autumn Statement primarily aimed at helping working households and businesses. Jeremy Hunt highlighted that lower personal and business taxation will play a central role in the Conservative party’s approach for next year’s election and gave more clarity to the Government’s updated approach to boosting growth. A cut in the National Insurance rate from 12% to 10% and ‘Full Expensing’ for business investment were the two key headlines from the Chancellor’s speech in the House of Commons today.
“For UK construction product manufacturers, it is the ‘Full Expensing’ announcement that will resonate most with them. CPA was a key part of the letter calling for this measure to be made permanent and is pleased to see this confirmed today. This will allow companies to invest in the UK to reduce their tax by up to 25p for every £1 they spend on plant and machinery. Other announcements today that will also be of interest to our industry include:
- More funding for apprenticeships and skills.
- Planning reforms to allow councils to recover the full costs of planning applications – provided they meet prompt deadlines.
- A consultation on allowing any house to be converted into two flats – provided the exterior is respected.
- Speeding up and providing more certainty for developers and investors on infrastructure delivery.
- Support for strategic manufacturing sectors, manufacturing SMEs and green industries.
- New Investment Zones announced in the Midlands, Manchester, and Wales.
“While these announcements are helpful, the Chancellor could have gone further with industrial policy by providing a clearer strategy on key growth areas. Equally, more could be done on housing supply and home buying, as well as energy efficiency in housing such as introducing a green stamp duty. While the announcements on improving infrastructure delivery are welcome, how effectively they will translate into reality on the ground is yet to be seen. The Government published a policy paper ‘Getting Great Britain building again: Speeding up infrastructure delivery’, which demonstrates that it finally understands the difficulties associated with delivering major infrastructure projects. It is disappointing, however, that Government hasn’t published an updated National Infrastructure and Government Construction Pipeline since September 2021 and announced in the Autumn Statement that there also won’t be a revised National Infrastructure Strategy until next year. This lack of certainty over the project pipeline means that it is difficult for all firms in the construction supply chain to justify signing-off significant new investments in skills and capacity, especially after all the Government announcements of infrastructure projects being paused, delayed and cancelled this year.
“This Autumn Statement marks a step in the right direction from Government for the construction industry, but how much of it is electioneering as opposed to real action is not yet clear.”
Mark Reynolds (Co-Chair, Construction Leadership Council) welcomed the Statement:
“The Construction Leadership Council warmly welcome the focus on speeding up infrastructure delivery in yesterday’s Autumn Statement. We are pleased to see alongside the Autumn Statement an announcement of a rapid review of productivity in the construction industry as well as an infrastructure ‘Star Chamber’ reporting to the highest level of government. In our recent productivity report, we estimated a potential £45bn of savings and additional value could be generated by improving productivity across the sector.
Following our engagement with the Treasury, we noted the positive change in direction on R&D Expenditure Credit for subcontractors in relation to ‘contracting’ out. However, we still require urgent clarity relating to which contract types this impacts and who will still be able to claim relief in the construction supply chain.”
FIS CEO Iain McIlwee responded.
“There are some helpful sounding bits, but I don’ t think we expected or got much from the Statement.
Taking a strong stance on Late Payment is welcome and definitely a step in the right direction with sanctions are clearer, this is what we asked for through the consultation. But, the fact remains that 45 days is still late and an average of 55 days for a ban to kick in means some are likely to be waiting even longer for money that they are entitled to. I am always wary when I see a Government commitment (reducing the average to 30 days) to be “introduced in the future” – an average of 30 days should be achievable now for responsible companies and we should be reflecting this in our procurement policies.
The R&D Tax Credit changes have potential as it has been a confusing arena. This may help to drive innovation and investment in the supply chain (particularly in digital process improvement), but the biggest inhibitor to innovation through the supply chain is inefficient and ineffective procurement and I am not convinced that the Procurement Act is really getting to grips with the underlying problem. It would also be nice to see extended to encourage more businesses to modernise their space, which can also help to enhance productivity.
Again more funding to get people into apprentices may be useful, but we need to understand how this cascades. The systemic issues always seem to make it so difficult to utilise the funding or don’t provide enough incentive to over-ride the costs that employers actually face. The subsequent comments around the Shortage Occupation list are a concern as it suggests that they are really not grasping the extent of the skills shortage we are facing.”
The Construction Products Association have prepared a detailed briefing on the Statement which is available to FIS Meembers here Statement Write-up
FIS and Worshipful Company of Plaisterers have announced the winners of the sector Training Awards at its gala lunch held at Plaisterers’ Hall in London today.
In front of a packed audience at Plaisterers’ Hall, the winners of the 2023 Training Awards were announced and presented by Lord Mayor Michael Mainelli. The Awards are a collaboration between FIS and The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers to recognise outstanding apprentices and students, and individuals and organisations that have made a lasting contribution to training and development in plastering and interior trades.
Tony Mitchell, Master of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers, said “The Company is absolutely delighted to once again host these prestigious awards in our magnificent Hall. We are very pleased to have once again teamed up with FIS to recognise the achievements of many within plastering and the finishes and interiors sector”.
Commenting on the awards, FIS President Philip Brown said: “We are delighted to recognise the outstanding talent, both in apprentices and students themselves but also the colleges and training providers and mentors that work so hard to help the students forge hugely successful and rewarding careers.”
The 2023 award winners are:
Student of the Year – Plastering
Winner – Kathryn Doyland (Training Provider: G.R.W.P Llandrillo)
Runners up – Edward Celmins (Training Provider: Carlisle College) and Caroline Moor (Training Provider: Vision West Nottinghamshire College)
Student of the Year – Interior Systems
Winner – Julius Debrah (Employer: MPG Contracts, Training Provider: Now Get Qualified)
Runner up – Dan Title (Employer/Training Provider: V & D Interiors)
Apprentice of the Year – Plastering
Winner – Bella Romain (Employer: Cyfle Building Skills, Training Provider: Coleg Sir Gar)
Runners up – Ryan Stanford (Employer: Locker and Riley,Training Provider: College of North West London) and Deniss Fridenbergs (Employer: Brian Horn Plastering, Training Provider: Carlisle College)
Apprentice of the Year – Interior Systems
Winner – Zara Dupont (Employer: Sparta Systems, Training Provider: Leeds College of Builiding)
Runners up – Ben Comerford and Michael Aarons (Employer: Measom Dryline, Training Provider: Buttercups Training)
British Gypsum Trophy
Now Get Qualified
Saint Gobain Formula Trophy
K L Langton Decorative Plasterwork
Colleges and Independent Training Providers (large)
Winner – NPTC Group of Colleges
Runner up – College of North West London
Colleges and Independent Training Providers (small)
Winner – DMR Training and Consultancy
Runner up – Carlisle College
FIS Member Training Programme
Ben Kerslake – CarringtonLime Heritage Skills CIC
Lifetime Achievement Award
Dave Radley – DMR Training and Consultancy
Our thanks go to our awards and event sponsors British Gypsum, Formula, The Plaisterers Charity, CITB and STEPs.
The Welsh Government has published its response to the consultation on the definition of a Higher‐Risk Building (HRB). It confirms that a HRB in Wales will be defined as over 18 metres or more than seven storeys with a single residential unit, as opposed to two or more residential units in England. A number of standards, codes and rules documents have also been published in relation to the new building control system in Wales, which will commence in April 2024.
The Procurement Act received Royal Assent on 27 October and aims to create a new public procurement regime designed to deliver better value for money. Expected to come into force from October 2024, simpler and more transparent procurement processes will streamline the way companies bid for public sector contracts and support small businesses to win more work. It will also ensure 30‐day payment terms are an implied term in every public sector contract and public sector organisations are required to report on their performance against this target every six months.
After a consultation earlier this year, the Government has confirmed it will be amending elements of the Working Time Regulations following the UK’s departure from the EU. This will include reducing recordkeeping requirements as well as simplifying annual leave and holiday pay calculations.
FIS is working at pace with NOCN (National Open College Network) to develop the End Point Assessment for Interior Systems Installer apprenticeship – Ceilings and Partitions pathway as there is not an assessment in place for this pathway.
To progress this work, we request technical knowledge and support from employers in designing and reviewing the questions for the knowledge element of the assessment plan and develop the practical test.
The deadline for this work to be completed is by end of December 2023. We aim to do this virtually via Teams meetings, with NOCN and FIS.
Your support is crucial in ensuring this assessment and qualification meets the needs of the sector and for learners who are undertaking this apprenticeship.
Please contact email@example.com if you are able to support.
A new set of resources looking at penetrations and compatibility were launched today at London Build by the Passive Fire Knowledge Group (PFKG), a collaborative construction forum (co-chaired by FIS Technical Director Joe Cilia).
The PFKG brings together contractors, consultants and relevant trade associations established to encourage collaboration and improve the delivery of well designed, specified and installed passive fire protection by focusing on three key areas: Process, Testing and Education. The group aims to investigate, understand, inform and promote knowledge and research in all areas of passive fire protection and support compliance through the supply chain with the Building Safety Act.
The new resources have been developed to support compliance in the supply chain and cover:
- Knowledge Share 1 – MEP Service Positioning And Separation Within Compartment Walls
- Knowledge Share 2 – Wall Compatibility Checks
- Knowledge Share 3 – Shaft Walls & Services Penetrations
- MEP Services Penetration Seals Best Practice Design And Specification
The resources are available to download from the PFKG website here : https://pfkg.org/reports-2/
The Housing (Cladding Remediation) (Scotland) Bill has been introduced. The bill seeks to reduce the risk of life from unsafe cladding on people’s homes and will give powers to ministers to assess and remediate certain types of buildings with unsafe cladding. Ministers will then need to record these assessments and any remediation works completed in a register, and the bill also allows ministers to create a responsible developers scheme. The bill has been published as introduced with explanatory notes, alongside a policy memorandum, financial memorandum, delegated powers memorandum and a statement on legislative competence. The Scottish Government has also published a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment, Equality Impact Assessment and Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment.
At the FIS AGM this week, Philip Brown (FIS President) assured members that their trade association “is in good health, is well managed, in good financial shape, well respected and continues to grow in every meaningful way”. This is in no small part due to the leadership provided by the elected Directors (all volunteers from the membership).
FIS Chief Executive Iain McIlwee gave an overview of FIS activity, zoning in on the themes of competence, compliance, raising standards and supporting businesses.
Iain spoke of the “I”, “we” and “they“ approach that FIS adopts to support change. “I” being helping individual members with guidance and tools, “we” being collaboration, collective action, research, common understanding and setting standards and “they” being about leveraging collective knowledge and data to influence others – to lead change.
You can read all about the event and access the presentations from the day, here.
FIS Consultant Len Bunton shares his concerns about the payment and cash flow issues in the construction industry in the UK.
“Everybody who reads this will be acutely aware of difficulties in the current marketplace, and what I would like to do is to share some recent experiences and to highlight some recommendations to allow businesses to find a way through an exceedingly difficult period.
“What we have experienced recently as a number of significant failures of contractors and subcontractors in the UK, and there is no doubt that these failures result in a trail of devastation for the supply chain who have been involved. What members need to do is to minimise risk. I have recently been involved with a number of FIS members in dealing with payment and cash flow issues, and the level of difficulties that are being experienced is extraordinary and after 40 years in this industry I do not think I have seen so many issues arriving on so many projects.
Here, Len provides some suggestions and recommendations for you to take on board.
These monthly Blogs are designed to help FIS Members avoid common traps and build on our focus on collective experience. They share ideas about improving the commercial management of your contracts. In other words, instilling best practice into the way FIS members run and manage their business. What I have endeavored to suggest is ways to ensure you get paid on time, and what you are due.
To help members recruit overseas skilled workers to fill the skills gaps being experienced in the industry which is inhibiting growth, FIS has partnered with specialist immigration lawyers, Migrate UK.
This partnership enables members to explore whether hiring overseas skilled workers is a viable route for them. Members will be supported with immigration legal guidance and advice on how to apply for a Sponsor License, Certificate of Sponsorship applications and compliance and record keeping.
Migrate UK will be offering all FIS members a 10% discount on all legal fees and offer an initial consultation free of charge. You can find details on this new member benefit at https://www.thefis.org/membership-hub/memberbenefits/immigration/
Migrate UK are hosting a webinar on Thursday 23rd November 2023 to look at Unlocking Global Talent: How to Employ Overseas Workers in the UK.
You can register for this webinar here
Business Models and Fair Payment Workstream – Pilot project to cut defects
CLC is running a pilot project on a scheme developed by the contractors’ umbrella body ActuateUK to tackle project defects at source with the long-term aim of removing the need for payment retentions. It takes previously successful data gathering schemes used to address health & safety concerns and late payment as its inspiration, with a similar focus on using anonymous data to tackle the root causes of our defects ‘culture’.
Both these earlier schemes produced tangible results and had a profound impact on the prevailing culture. Clients and contractors are invited to take part in the pilot by sharing their project data, which is non-attributed and will help to build up a picture of why defects come about and how we can set about eliminating them. Defects will be collected from completion certificates using processes developed by the Get It Right Initiative (GIRI).
They are compared and rationalised against the overall value of the contract, to enable comparison between projects and produce a score that can be used to evaluate a solution. This initial stage working with Cranfield University is strictly a proof of concept, a test that the data can be collected and collated from projects. But getting this right could unlock benefits for all parties.
Please use this link to submit your data.
For further information and questions please contact the CLC.
In a written statement to Parliament this week, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove confirmed the transitional arrangements for second staircases in new residential buildings in England above 18 metres. From the date when the Government formally publishes the changes to Approved Document B, there will be a period of 30 months during which new Building Regulations applications can meet either the existing or the updated requirements. At the end of that period, all applications will be required to meet the updated requirements.
We understand that approved applications that have chosen to follow the existing guidance will have a further 18 months for construction to ‘sufficiently progress’. There will be no requirement to add a second staircase at a later stage provided they are built in accordance with the existing standards, well‐maintained and properly managed.
The Government has also published additional guidance on determining whether a building is a Higher‐Risk Building (HRB) as the definition varies for new buildings, existing buildings, and those ‘in occupation’. It confirms that military accommodation which is over 18 metres or at least 7 storeys and has two or more residential units will be brought into scope of the HRB regime.
This year’s SkillBuild event is taking place from 21 -23 November 2023. You can watch the national finalists battle it out during the competition, attend a Continual Professional Development session, hosted by an expert panel of judges, in one of the 10 competition trades, and have go at a range of inspiring activities that highlight construction trades at the designated careers experience hub, the Construction Showcase
SkillBuild is the largest multi-trade competition in the UK for construction trainees and apprentices, and as competitors progress through each stage, they are tested on their technical abilities, time management, character, and commitment. The competition is viewed by many as an opportunity to develop confidence, self-esteem, and life skills. The winners of the SkillBuild UK National Final are classed as the best in the UK.
Book your ticket here
Featured this year is the Construction Showcase, an interactive event on 22 November designed to encourage young people to consider a career in construction and to have some fun with the construction have-a-go activities!
The event will include construction-based activities suited to all age ranges, skills games, quizzes and videos showcasing the variety of construction occupations available. Also featured is a series of curriculum-related resources, from Key Stage 2 through to Key Stage 5, as well as STEM Ambassadors from the industry, to support and answer questions from those curious about construction.
Not only will groups take part in the Construction Showcase, but they will also be able to have a guided tour of the competitions by a SkillBuild expert, and take home some goodies too! If you know a youth group who would be interested in attending, they can claim their free tickets to attend here.
The FIS Partitions and Pods working group is made up of members who manufacture supply and install glazed, and industrial partitions, and meeting pods. The group meet to discuss issues and develop initiatives such as the acoustic verification scheme, the classification of pods and produce guidance for specifiers and installers.
We are now looking for a new chair, to help lead this group, provide guidance on direction and ensure that the meetings run efficiently and are in accordance with the competition act and our code of conduct.
To be FIS Working groups are chaired by members and are re-elected every two years.
The role is open to FIS members only. If you would like to nominate yourself for the position of Chair please send a brief application telling us why you would be an ideal chair to JoeCilia@theFis.org no latter than 31 November.
According to the latest CPA Construction Industry Forecasts, construction output is expected to fall by 6.8% in 2023, similar to the 7.0% contraction forecast three months ago, before a further marginal fall of 0.3% in 2024, a revision down from the 0.7% growth forecast in the Summer. Both private housing and private housing rm&i are forecast to be the worst affected by the prevailing economic conditions of flatlining growth, stubborn inflation and interest rates remaining at peak throughout 2024. Infrastructure activity remains strong down on the ground due to work continuing on major projects but there are signs that more roads projects are being pushed back or cancelled than anticipated previously, limiting the sector’s growth over the next 12 months.
“With only a couple of months left in a difficult year for construction and looking forward to 2024, the evidence suggests it will still be a while before the clouds begin to lift. Both new build housing and rm&i have taken a significant hit from rising interest rates, falling real wages and weak economic growth and demand is expected to remain subdued for house purchases and improvements.”
CPA Head of Construction Research, Rebecca Larkin
FIS members can download their copy of the Forecast here.