FIS Responds to Safer Buildings in Wales Consultation

FIS Responds to Safer Buildings in Wales Consultation

FIS has written to the Welsh Government to formally support the CPA response to the Safer Buildings in Wales consultation and highlighted the confusion caused by Regulation 7 and challenges in building classification.  On the whole the consultation sets out an achievable path for Welsh Regulations to embrace the fundamental elements of the Building Safety Bill that is expected to be passed into law before the summer recess.

The consultation focussed on 7 key areas.

  1. Setting out the scope of the Building Safety Regime
  2. The Building Safety Regime (Design and Construction Phase)
  3. The Building Safety Regime (Occupation phase)
  4. Residents: Roles and Responsibilities
  5. Raising Concerns
  6. Regulating the Building Safety Regime
  7. General Requirements in Relation to Fire Safety Equipment

FIS is particularly encouraged by the recognition of the importance of compartmentation and the emphasis outlined and the importance of managing interfaces.  We were also able to highlight recent collaborative work in the production of the Fire Stopping of Service Penetrations Guide that can be referenced in future official guidance to support the avoidance of design and construction issues in this space and support one of the aims identified in the consultation in terms of “verifying that all works that breach compartmentation (eg holes drilled through walls) use appropriate and adequate fire-stopping”.

The full response from the CPA can be downloaded here

Product Shortages ‐ CLC Statement

Product Shortages ‐ CLC Statement

The CLC Product Availability Group has issued a statement on the availability of construction products, which confirms that demand will remain high throughout 2021 and urges ‘all users [to] plan for increased demand and longer delays, keep open lines of communication with their suppliers and order early for future projects’. It highlights timber, steel, polymer supplies and coatings as materials of particular concern, with both timber and steel experiencing very strong global demand.

Build UK is working with the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) to monitor the availability of construction materials post‐Brexit. There are no products currently RAG‐rated ‘red’, with most manufacturers reporting that the mitigation strategies they put in place have avoided significant delays or shortages, and they will continue to hold extra stock this quarter to ensure continuity of supply.

Construction Product Availability Statement

Construction Product Availability Statement

Statement from John Newcomb, CEO Builders Merchants Federation and Peter Caplehorn, CEO Construction Products Association, co-chairs of CLC Product Availability work group.

Demand for construction products remains high both in the UK and globally and is set to continue throughout 2021 in every sector.  Unfortunately, this means the availability issues we are currently experiencing are likely to worsen before they improve.

While supplies of plaster and plasterboard are much improved on last year, almost every other product group is experiencing longer lead times and, as a consequence, higher prices.

Plastics (PE and PP), cement and aggregates have joined existing lists of products in short supply, including timber, steel, roof tiles, bricks and imported products such as screws, fixing, plumbing items, sanitaryware, shower enclosures, electrical products and appliances.

Prior to the temporary blockage of the Suez Canal, we were seeing a slight lowering of both container costs and delivery times of these imported goods.  We anticipate that this will continue once the effect of the temporary closure works through.

Imports of timber will be an issue for the foreseeable future. Not enough timber is being produced to meet world demand.  Added to this, other countries are prepared to pay more to secure their supply, pushing the UK lower down the pecking order.

Steel is also experiencing strong global demand. While supply and demand are likely rebalance within the next few months, global dynamics will continue to drive prices up.

Raw material shortages constraining polymer supplies are causing production problems for plastics (lower ground drainage etc).  Coatings manufacturers are also experiencing raw material shortages beyond their control, at a time when demand is particularly high.  These issues will continue for at least 2-3 months.

All users should plan for increased demand and longer delays, keep open lines of communication with their suppliers and order early for future projects.

The CLC’s product availability group will continue to monitor the situation. The CPA and the BMF – who jointly chair the group – produce quarterly forecasts on market activity which is helping manufacturers to plan output.

FIS Launch Digital Spine to help companies chart their digital journey

FIS Launch Digital Spine to help companies chart their digital journey

Ahead of the next Digital Construction Working Group (28th April 10am), FIS has launched a new tool to help members to follow and understand the technologies that are shaping the present and future of construction.

Expressions like Industry 4.0’, the fourth industrial revolution, the Digital Revolution are bandied around and the Construction Playbook isolates the need to “develop new solutions including improved digital capabilities.” but what does the digitalisation of the finishes and interiors sector actually mean to projects and businesses in the supply chain?

FIS CEO Iain McIlwee commented “The Digital Spine was born at a Round Table we hosted with key experts from our sector. We looked at where digital is having influence and what is holding us back.  A key concern was that behind all of these digital solutions is whole new language that we are struggling to get to grips with. The roundtable also isolated that the environment can be bewildering with solution not always matched to problem and real concerns over interoperability of all of the rapidly expanding range of tools at our disposal.  Taking a step back we decided that the best way to help was to create the Digital Spine, a simple outline of the language behind the technology that is evolving to support the FIS community, but vitally also to contextualise tools against the core areas of business operation where they have the potential to support change. We are grateful to all the members who have supported the development to this point and encourage all users to bombard us with questions and omissions to support development from here”.

Mark Norton Group BIM Director, ISG added “The Digital Spine is great because it is simple and the key to innovation is to keep it simple and align it to genuine problems, not get caught-up in the technology.  We recognise that this is a start and the tool will evolve with questions and as new innovation emerges.  We’ll be reviewing at the Digital Construction Working Group on the 28th and starting to look at where the biggest impact is and how we can ensure the FIS community is aware of opportunity, alert to the challenges and vitally too has influence in the way that some of these tools are emerging to support standardisation.”

The Digital Spine is available here.
You can reserve your place at the FIS Digital Construction Working Group here.

Signs of Sustained Growth in Contract Awards Data

Signs of Sustained Growth in Contract Awards Data

The latest information from Builders’ Conference shows that both the number and value of contracts have increased month‐on‐month since the start of this year. One year on from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there were 621 contracts worth a total of £9.2 billion awarded in March. It is the fourth month in a row where the value has exceeded the monthly average of £6.0 billion in the year prior to coronavirus between April 2019 and March 2020. 42% of all the contracts awarded by value were housing (£3.9 billion), with road projects making up 13% (£1.2 billion) and entertainment and leisure projects 6% (£751 million).

The number of tender opportunities increased compared to the previous month but remains 25% below the monthly average pre‐coronavirus.

CLC Call to Complete the People Survey

CLC Call to Complete the People Survey

The latest CLC People Survey is now live! Build UK is responsible for collating the results and we would be extremely grateful if all members could find 10 minutes to complete the online survey to help us measure the impact of coronavirus on the construction workforce one year on.

The deadline for responses is Friday 16 April and the results will help us to prioritise support for the sector.