Grenfell contractor banned pending inquiry decision

Grenfell contractor banned pending inquiry decision

A contractor in London has been banned from carrying out housing works until the Grenfell Inquiry rules on whether it contributed to the fire.

London mayor Sadiq Khan made the decision to ban Rydon Construction Ltd (RCL), alongside 12 other companies, from carrying out works on public high-rise housing in the area.

The Labour mayor signed an order asserting it was not in the public interest to allow the company to bid for works until the public inquiry “has reported on the extent to which any Rydon group companies or employee contributed to causing or exacerbating the Grenfell Tower fire”.

Rydon was the main contractor for the £10 million Grenfell Tower refurbishment work.

Grenfell United, which represents survivors and bereaved families, said: “The government needs to stop hiding behind red tape, apply common sense and take Rydon off this list.

“If the mayor can do it to keep Londoners safe, the prime minister should do it for the rest of the country. Rydon should not be allowed to work on high-rise blocks until the investigations into how the refurbishment of Grenfell went so badly wrong is complete.”

Pressure has been mounting on Rydon with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government taking to twitter with the statement “I understand why survivors and bereaved do not want to see public contracts awarded to the main contractor for the Grenfell Tower refurb until we have the full results of the inquiry.   The contractor should not bid for further work until we know the truth”.


FIS partners with UK Construction Week Summits

FIS partners with UK Construction Week Summits

FIS has continued its partnership with UK Construction Week Summits, in which its members and partners can save over £100 discount off the cost of attending the summits.

The partnership with UK Construction Week has gone from strength to strength over the last four years due to the synergies between the events UK Construction Week delivers and the projects, issues and subject matters that FIS is passionate about such as quality, wellbeing and mental health in construction that they wish to raise awareness, standards and educate the industry about.

The construction industry is changing fast and the pace of change is accelerating, certainly faster that I have witnessed.  It is vital that we continue to step back and reflect on this change and these summits are a valuable reflection point.  In this we must accept that this is not just the digital age, but the age of transparency.  Critical to a positive change in culture and profound change in our outputs is collaboration.  We must embrace every opportunity to learn from one another and be seeking opportunities to exchange knowledge and discuss innovation and so the industry can move forward together.

Iain McIlwee, FIS Chief Executive

UK Construction Week, Event Director, Nathan Garnett said “we set up UK Construction Summits because we could see major topics in the industry that require in depth knowledge sharing. We are delighted to partner with FIS as we feel a number of these topics are ones that FIS members also face as day to day challenges, such as staying ahead of the agenda on quality and understanding the complexities around wellbeing for the construction work force. The FIS support on these events by sharing their expertise will enhance our content and deliver more benefits for FIS delegates.”

All the Construction Summits will take place at CentrEd at the ExCel in London on the following dates:

  • Marketing in Construction Summit – 12 February 2020
  • Belonging in Construction Summit – 13 February 2020
  • Wellbeing in Construction Summit – 30 June 2020
  • Quality in Construction Summit – 1 July 2020
  • UK Construction Week Tradeshow – 6 – 8 October 2020 at the NEC in Birmingham.

FIS members and partners can save over £100 by quoting FIS149 to get the special discount for just £149+VAT.  Click here for more information and to book your tickets

Structure for Welsh apprenticeship frameworks

Structure for Welsh apprenticeship frameworks

Views are being sought on the structure of apprenticeship frameworks.

The consultation proposal includes:

  • introducing a new, simplified structure
  • focussing framework development on occupational pathways
  • ensuring current frameworks are fit for purpose

Full details can be found at Please submit your comments to by 4 December so that we can submit a response on behalf of the membership.

Apprenticeship reform final report update

Apprenticeship reform final report update

Since the Government reforms introduced in April 2017, many members have been left in a web of confusion and at times possible frustration for multiple reasons in attempts to get their workforce invigorated and enriched by new entrant apprentices. FIS has been monitoring, absorbing and managing members through this web.

Last week a highly critical report Bridging the Gap: next steps for the apprenticeship levy from the Learning and Work Institute was released. This 19-page document cannot be considered bedtime reading, but what it does provides are some big impact statements since the 2017 reforms and brings several critical issues to the forefront:

  • The number of apprenticeships starts has fallen by around 20% since these reforms, with a particularly large decline in the number of level 2 apprenticeships and rises in higher level.
  • What is clear is that apprenticeships look much different now, with growth in higher and degree-level apprenticeships which tend to cost more. Many apprenticeship standards cost more than frameworks, largely because they involve a longer period of training and robust end point assessment.
  • The cold hard truth – the result is the failings of the 2017 apprenticeship reform means the government is on course to miss its own target of three million apprenticeships by 2020 and bust the budget.

For some, the executive summary will provide the headlines you need. But you can review the full report here.

Whether an apprentice levy payer or not, these reforms have impacted your business and our sector greatly. If you need our help to assist you with apprenticeship onboarding or to understand the FIS skills responsive actions on your behalf, please contact


Authors – Stephen Evans and Joe Dromey October 2019. (Learning and Work Institute.)

Learning and Work Institute is an independent policy, research and development organisation dedicated to lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion

FIS appoints new Skills and Training lead

FIS appoints new Skills and Training lead

FIS is delighted to announce the appointment of George Swann as Skills and Training lead for the organisation.  George will pick up the exciting training portfolio of FIS and help to drive the organisation’s focus on competence through the FIS For Competency’s SAKE Framework.  He will take up the post in January 2020.

George has been employed in training and training development since 1979.  He served 22 years in the Corps of the Royal Engineers, the construction arm of the British Army.  During his service he worked on various construction sites around the globe including civil engineering projects for road building, dam, bridge, pier, wharf and harbour construction, firing range demolition, repair and construction and in general building work of troop shelters, security posts, sports and recreational facilities (changing rooms, cafes and bars).  He completed his service after a three-year post employed as a Training Development Analyst working at the Combined Arms Training Centre in Warminster.  He left the Army at the rank of Regimental Quarter Master Sargent with qualifications in Management, Health and Safety, Quality Control and Vocational Assessment.

On leaving the Army he was employed in ship building for 18 months, monitoring and tutoring apprentices and was head hunted by a crane hire company, for the development and delivery of training and qualifications.

He has worked for CITB since 2002 initially as a Plant Monitor with the Certificate of Training Achievement department, now known as Construction Plant Competence Scheme.  He moved to Standards and Qualifications Operations in 2003 as a Training Developer providing information, advice and guidance on standards and qualification revision, development and delivery.  The role includes the development of National Occupational Standards and qualifications derived from these standards for construction industry occupations.  He is currently facilitating the review of the National Occupational Standards for Demolition, Construction Operations and Civil Engineering Services and drafting CITB Training Standards.

Iain McIlwee, FIS CEO commented, “We are delighted to welcome George to our team, he brings with him deep knowledge of the skills and qualifications landscape and a reputation for getting stuff done.  As well as helping us to deliver on our existing and ambitious programme, he will be a real asset to the organisation and our members in helping to really get to grips with the changing landscape of qualifications in the four home nations and strengthening our links with and support for our network of training providers.  He will also bring fresh thinking about how we work together to improve assessment, training and competency in the existing and future workforce and manage the CPD requirements that are emerging from the Grenfell Response work.”

George added “I have had opportunity to work with FIS in recent years and admired the whole approach to the development of people and the values that the organisation projects.  It is certainly exciting times at FIS and for the finishes and interiors sector as we look beyond skills and get to grips with what competence is and how we develop our members’ teams across the supply chain.  I am looking forward to joining the team, meeting the members and getting stuck in working within one of the UK and Northern Ireland’s leading construction trade bodies in developing this crucial workforce.”

Become a Mental Health First Aider

Become a Mental Health First Aider

Building Mental Health (in association with the Lighthouse Club and CITB) has 16 free places available of the two-day MHFA courses being held in Bristol on 27/28 November and Birmingham on 4/5 December.

Two Day Mental Health First Aider Course overview:
Mental Health First Aiders will gain:
·        An in depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing
·        Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
·        Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
·        Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
·        Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support – whether that’s self-help resources, through their employer, the NHS, or a mix
What to expect
Through a mix of group activities, presentations and discussions, each session is built around a Mental Health First Aid action plan.
We limit numbers to 16 people per course so that the instructor can keep people safe and supported while they learn.
Everyone who completes the course gets:
·        A manual to refer to whenever you need it
·        A workbook including a helpful toolkit to support your own mental health
·        A certificate of attendance to say you are a Mental Health First Aider

If you would like to attend, simply register your interest against your preferred date and venue on the link below. Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

For those not able to secure a free place, this two day course is eligible for £70 CITB grant.

Register now at

If you want to learn more about Mental Health First Aiders, there is also a specialist workshop running at the FIS Conference: Rethinking Construction

FIS also runs the #BuildersBrew campaign focussed on helping people to understand more about mental health issues

Welsh Roadmap to Safer Building in Wales

Welsh Roadmap to Safer Building in Wales

Proposed changes to improve the safety of residential high-rise buildings

The Welsh Building Safety Expert Group has produced a series of recommendations for the Welsh Government to take forward to improve the safety of residential buildings in Wales.

The Expert Group’s remit was to identify the parameters for a response to the issues raised by the Hackitt Review following the Grenfell Tower fire. Broadly speaking, the Expert Group agreed with Hackitts’s view that a fundamental, systematic change is required and that reform should be taken forward in a considered and coherent manner which avoids the ‘cherry-picking’ of the easy to do at the expense of the longer-term actions that need to be taken. The report highlights where the Welsh government should prioritise future action.

The CPA has produced a summary of the recommendations.

The full report can be accessed here.

Growth continues and sales optimism for year ahead

Growth continues and sales optimism for year ahead

The Construction Products Association’s State of Trade Survey for 2019 Q1 reveals a balance of 46% of both heavy side and light side manufacturers experienced a rise in sales during the quarter.

Growth in product manufacturers’ output is anticipated to rise further in the coming months, with 33% of heavy side firms and half of those on the light side expecting an increase in sales in Q2.

FIS members can read the full report here.

FIS and Barbour Product Search sign new partnership agreement to promote the finishes and interiors sector

FIS and Barbour Product Search sign new partnership agreement to promote the finishes and interiors sector

At UK Construction Week, Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) and Barbour Product Search signed a new partnership agreement focussed on promoting excellence and supporting specifications in the finishes and interiors sector.

With buildings anticipated to go through 30 refits over their lifetime and accounting for 11% of construction spend, the finishes and interiors sector is a vital part of the built environment.  It is also a complex arena with aesthetic, acoustic, thermal and fire safety performance all intrinsic to an effective fit-out.  Ultimately the way buildings are finished impacts the safety and wellbeing of everybody who lives, works, learns and plays in them.   Through this partnership Barbour Product Search and FIS aim to educate and inform the wider construction industry on regulations, technical performance, innovation in products and processes and to deliver technical content and industry news to the specifier audience to support best practice.

FIS CEO Iain McIlwee commented “Whether it is acoustic performance, fire safety or innovation in construction, we want to ensure that specifiers know that they can turn to our community for help.  Through FIS specifiers have access to a wealth of knowledge and a community of vetted members, but this can be lost in the noise – there is so much confusing and conflicting information out there and who specifies is an ever increasing complex area, making it more and more difficult to target communications.  Collaboration is the answer.”

“Barbour Product Search is a natural partner here and we are excited about the opportunity and the message that this new partnership sends out.  Barbour Product Search is part of the Barbour ABI group, one of the leading lights in terms of construction intelligence and they command a powerful network and we are confident that through Barbour Product Search our expertise will blend with theirs and ensure the specification world is better informed about the options open to them to ensure buildings are finished effectively and safely.

Simon Mahoney, Group Director of Barbour ABI said “We recognise the importance of this sector and have also been impressed with the expertise, energy and drive that we see evident in FIS.  It just made sense that if we were going to step up our work in this arena that we should do it with the leading trade body.  We are very much looking forward to working with FIS and their membership over the coming months to really develop a finishes and interiors hub on Barbour Product Search that supports decision making in our community and promotes excellence in the sector”.

The agreement between Barbour Product Search and FIS was signed on the Barbour ABI stand at UK Construction Week today, the two organisations are now working to deliver the platform in time for launch at the FIS AGM and Rethinking Construction Conference on the 19th November.

More information on the partnership is available here

FIS launches Acoustic Verification Scheme

FIS launches Acoustic Verification Scheme

To create a level playing field for the declaration and verification of the acoustic performance of products, the Finishes and Interior Sector (FIS) has today at UK Construction Week launched the FIS Acoustic Verification Scheme for Operable walls and Partitions. The scheme will allow designers, architects and contractors to specify products, safe in the knowledge they will provide the acoustics performance claimed, eliminating any misinformation and misleading information.

Created in partnership with the acoustic team at multi-disciplinary consultants Cundall, this new verification scheme takes manufacturers’ test reports and assessments and runs a series of thorough checks to verify the data is accurate and compliant. The scheme has been created to enable best practice and prevent inaccurate or misleading information from undermining the market and responsible manufacturers and suppliers.

Commenting on the launch, Iain McIlwee, FIS CEO said: “The misleading use of data has become an industry concern, as it means clients end up paying for acoustic performance that is not achieved and undermines the credibility of our sector.”

“We are determined to curb this practice, to create not only a level playing field for manufacturers, but peace of mind for clients, specifiers and contractors that the product selected has been properly tested and met the performance claimed. The test framework we have created will provide consistency and will enable the comparison of products and systems on a ‘like for like’ basis.”

The FIS Acoustic Verification Scheme will enable members to verify tests against an agreed criterion and a methodology to present these to market in a consistent and transparent manner.

A robust process has been created that will see manufacturers provide product data in a standardised format, along with test reports and where applicable third-party certificates. Non-English test information must be translated by the original test house to ensure accuracy and traceable evidence on the independence of the test facility has to be supplied. Photographs of the test, where available, along with drawings of the installation of the test sample must be supplied. This information is then provided to Cundall for independent verification in line with the schemes agreed criteria.

FIS is a driving force within the industry, providing unparalleled guidance, events, training and technical support for its members. A unique voice for the sector, FIS is committed to delivering the best knowledge and services for its members, continually reflecting the trends and innovations the industry has to offer.

For manufacturers and suppliers wanting to find out about getting test data verified, email and request a copy of the FIS Acoustic Verification Scheme Manual.

More information on the click here

Free BSI live webinar: introducing ISO19650

Free BSI live webinar: introducing ISO19650

Looking to understand more about the new ISO 19650 BIM standards and certification?

Whether you’re new to BIM, want to learn more about ISO 19650 or are looking at transitioning over from your current PAS 1192-2 certification to the new ISO, this webinar is a great place to get the facts.

When: 16 April, 10:00-11:00 BST
Where: Online
Register: Register here

Join BSI and other BIM professionals to:

  • Gain an understanding about the new international standards for BIM
  • Ask our experts direct questions on BIM and ISO 19650
  • Learn how companies can migrate from PAS1192-2 to ISO 19650 certification
  • Gain insight into a typical BIM assessment
  • Realize steps to get you started today