FIS Conference: Embracing change in the finishes and interiors sector

We have decided to go virtual for our annual conference this year, but rather than ask you to carve out a day, we want to make September a month focussed on understanding the drivers, embracing change and seizing your future in this amazing sector.

Building Trends in the finishes and interiors sector

Date: 1 September

Time: 12:00 – 13:30

In our first session we are looking at some of the social and economic drivers of change, how society is adapting and the impact this will have on what we will be building over the next five years.

Our keynote speakers will cover:

  • Socio Economic Change: What will we be building in the UK in the next five years.
  • Workplace Trends: The changing face of the office, workplace needs and construction trends.
  • Building Design: The key trends that are driving specification and influencing design.
  • Specification: Building Safety, how specification is evolving and technology helping

These speakers will be joined by familiar faces from the sector to look at the key trends that are driving change and how the finishes and interiors sector is and will need to react.

  Guest speakers

Vanessa Brady OBE, Founder & CEO of the Society of British and International Interior Design (SBID)

Dr Vanessa Brady OBE is the founder of the Society of British and International Interior Design (SBID) and an international interior designer with over 30 years experience in the design industry, amassing an impressive portfolio of discerning clients. She regularly speaks on business development and finance overseas on behalf of the UK government for the creative industries, and received an OBE from the Queen, recommended by the Prime Ministers office for services to Interior Design and the UK Economy. Vanessa was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Design in recognition of her achievements to the profession and education of interior design from Southampton Solent University. Alongside this, she was recognised for the Woman in the City Award for the Built Environment in 2013 and achieved the first Diploma for completion of Corporate Governance from the Institute of Directors in 2002.

Tom Hall, Chief Economist – Barbour ABI

Tom is chief economist at Barbour ABI and AMA Research, providing analysis and economic insight for construction and related sectors, assessing the trends and developments that impact the industry.

Clare Danahay, Be Inspired Interiors

Clare has over 20 years’ experience in Commercial Interior Design and specialises in workplace consultancy, supporting companies achieve the most out of their working environment through detailed evidence based design.   Clare is passionate about research and development in the workplace sector and supports this through membership of the BCO’s regional Northern Committee and National Technical Affairs Committee.

Lee Jones, Head of Manufacturer Solutions – The NBS

Day to day, Lee assists Construction Product Manufacturers in their adoption of digital technologies within the construction sector. Prior to joining NBS, Lee served over 20 years in the construction product manufacturing sector, working internationally for many well-known large companies and also SMEs. Lee’s back ground is in Mechanical Engineering and Architectural design, being qualified in both fields. Lee has specialised in digital adoption for the past decade, including pioneering BIM for manufacturers, working with CEN on the delivery of the digital declaration of performance project and many other highlights. Finally, Lee is a MSc qualified Architectural Technologist with specialism in sustainable architecture. Given that sustainability is arguably the number one priority our industry has to resolve and that in order to achieve many goals, digital delivery is paramount in achieving those. Lee has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share in aiding the sector to meet demands.

Andrew Smith,  Managing Director – OWA (UK) Ltd

Andew will join our keynote speakers to discuss the key trends that are driving change and how the finishes and interiors sector is and will need to react.

Andrew is a non-executive Director of FIS since (2006) and was President in 2018 and 2019. He has previously served on the Board of other Trade Bodies including SCA, ASFP and AIS. Andrew is a co-author of the FIS Guide to Office Acoustics and worked in conjunction with Herriot Watt University in 1997 to highlight the issue of poor acoustic conditions in schools. Andrew has a lifetime of experience with the Interiors industry and received a distinction for his MBA dissertation researching Strategic Planning in construction SMEs in 2018. Andrew has insights to global supply issues in his current role, since 2005 as Managing Director of OWA (UK) Ltd, the UK organisation of international ceilings manufacturer OWA, and has worked extensively throughout Europe with OWA and Promat (Etex), with earlier career spells with Saint-Gobain and Pilkington PLC, and spent time in India with OWA throughout 2003.


  Other sessions in the programme

8 September - A Path to Net Zero


The CLC Roadmap to Recovery has laid out proposals to secure the future of construction, while setting the industry on a sustainable path towards recovery.  But what does this mean to projects in our sector.

15 September - People and Skills

With immigration and labour shortages hitting the headlines, we look at where we are at, how our workforce is evolving and how responsible businesses are reacting to the challenge.

22 September - Contracts and Risk

Is the contractual and procurement process now completely at odds with effective risk management, delivering quality in construction and ultimately making us uninsurable.

29 September - Quality and Innovation


We take a peek into the future and look at the technology that is shaping our future.