FIS guidance gains RIBA CPD Accreditation

FIS guidance gains RIBA CPD Accreditation

FIS has a suite of Specifiers Guide, and earlier this month we published the fourth in our series focussing on Partitioning. You can access this guide, along with others covering Ceilings and Absorbers, Drylining and SFS here. Two of these guides have now gained RIBA CPD accreditation, and we will be putting the others forward for accreditation in the coming months.

These guides work well when they are included in proposals and project plans to demonstrate how to best approach a project. They are also good differentiators when in competition with a non-member, and are an excellent introduction to new members of the team and any trainees and apprentices.

But our offering doesn’t stop there. We also have a dedicated Knowledge Hub packed full of resources for our sector. Our easy-to-use online library contains a wide variety of material, covering contractual and legal, technical guidance and quality standards, drawn from a broad range of sources. The Knowledge Hub is constantly expanding, with up-to-date and topical material added on a regular basis.

In addition a member of our in-house technical team is only a phone call away to offer support to help you navigate the complexity of contracting and supplying products to the sector.

New specifiers guide to light gauge SFS external wall systems

New specifiers guide to light gauge SFS external wall systems

FIS in partnership with the Steel Construction Institute (SCI) has launched a Specifiers’ Guide to Light Gauge Steel Framing Systems (SFS) External Wall Systems to help specifiers understand the granular details involved in the design process and production of a specification.

The Specifiers’ Guide was produced by the FIS SFS working group made up of manufacturers and installers of SFS external wall systems in conjunction with the Steel Construction Institute (SCI), which provide an independent source of information and engineering expertise in steel construction. It is intended to guide architects, engineers, designers and installers through the stages in designing, selecting and specifying steel framed systems to form the external envelope for steel and concrete framed buildings.

FIS Chief Executive Iain McIlwee said: “This is the second specialist guide that FIS has produced in partnership with the Steel Construction Institute and demonstrates the strength in collaboration, producing guidance to ensure that accurate and detailed specifications can be written so that external walling systems can be procured and installed to meet the required specification.

Commenting on the guide, Colin Kennedy, Chair of the FIS SFS working group and Managing Director of FIS member Veitchi Interiors said: “Specifying SFS external wall systems requires considerable thought and design, even before a specification can be written. This is because the specification should be developed alongside the engineering design rather than a simple output from a list of attributes and parameters, to cover the three light steel external wall systems and the six current variants of SFS.”

Andrew Way, Associate Director at the Steel Construction Institute, added: “In order to achieve the correct specification, a considerable amount of information is required about the intended use of the product and the desired performance characteristics. This was the learning curve for me and the key lesson that this new guide addresses, in that the SFS should be fully engineered specifically for the building. Most importantly its location, proximity to other buildings and how that building is designed to accommodate movement is essential before it can be specified.”

Colin Kennedy continued by saying: “The construction industry is rightly under the microscope to ensure that the lessons from the terrible tragedy three years ago at Grenfell Tower are learned and that this starts with ensuring that the specification is clear, compliant and written by those who are competent and subsequently installed by those who can demonstrate they have the Skills, Knowledge, Experience and Behaviour (SKEB) to be considered competent.”

The guide includes 23 questions relating to ‘critical building information’, a further 15 questions to check that they are all addressed, a list of 10 questions on risk and how to avoid them and a further 10 questions on writing a smart specification to ensure a safe, compliant and complete specification can be written. All of which is crucial to ensure that the specification is not open to misinterpretation, and that any alternatives can be assessed and checked as equal, before approving them.

The guide sits alongside other FIS best practice guides that relate to SFS:

Design and Installation of Light Steel External Wall Systems

Recommendations for the Safe Ingress of Plasterboard

FIS Health and safety handbook

These guides work well when they are included in proposals and project plans to demonstrate how to best approach a project and are an excellent introduction to new members of the team and any trainees and apprentices.

You can download the Specifiers’ Guide to SFS External Wall Systems here

CIJC pay agreement sees 2.5% increase in all pay rates

CIJC pay agreement sees 2.5% increase in all pay rates

The Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) has completed negotiations with trade unions GMB and Unite the Union and reached agreement on a 2.5% increase in all pay rates, which will take effect from Monday 28 June 2021.  Non‐taxable elements of pay, such as travel and subsistence allowances, will also increase, and the guidance on bereavement leave has been updated encouraging employers to now grant up to five days paid leave.

The Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) Working Rule Agreement – sometimes referred to as ‘The Pink Book’ – is an agreement between employers and Trade Unions setting out terms and conditions, including national pay rates, that are applied in principle by ‘adherent bodies’ and others across the industry.   The aim of CIJC is to help avoid industrial disputes, and simplify the process of negotiating terms between employers and workers. In addition to standard rates of pay, not taxable expenses such as travel and accommodation costs, are incorporated into the agreement.

FIS is represented and the Board were consulted and fed vies in via our membership of Build UK.  Other organisations involved in the negotiations include Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), Home Builders Federation (HBF), National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC), National Federation of Builders (NFB),  National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), Painting & Decorating Association (PDA), Scottish Building Federation (SBF) and Trades Unions Unite the Union and GMB.
FIS is recruiting – strengthening your FIS team

FIS is recruiting – strengthening your FIS team

This year already seems to be disappearing at pace and whilst COVID-19 is thankfully starting to dominate less, we are now looking at material and labour shortages and cash tightening. But beyond the immediate pressures, a positive is that conversations are intensifying around change – transformation driven by core values of quality and sustainability.

At FIS we are keen to support this change, frankly it is why we exist – we are owned, effectively as a co-operative, by our community to help make the market better for you and get our members specified on jobs.  In this work we are constantly asking ourselves and using our network to interrogate:

  1. How can we help YOU today?  By producing toolkits, factsheets, guides, honing advice, helping you secure funding etc
  2. How can WE be better tomorrow by working together as a community and being more than the sum of our parts?  Sharing, consolidating, research, standardising, benchmarking, finding economies of scale etc
  3. How can THEY help us?  How do we need to INFLUENCE the world around us to ensure success? Research, engagement, best practice, respect, lobbying, representation, negotiation and communication (key to this is showing we have the support of our industry, effectively researched and backed up views and being present when the debate happens)

To this end and off the back of a growing and increasingly engaged membership, our Board have decided to invest in two new roles. The first focussed on the vetting and technical support provided by FIS and the second to look at the opportunity that the net zero and wider sustainability work presents in terms of driving early engagement and improving the reputation of the sector as a whole and specifically our membership as value driven businesses and leaders.  This second role is on a contingent basis initially, but we hope with continued growth and support we will be able to develop the individual and the role into a permanent role.  Initially we would be prepared to consider secondment options to test and support our views about the ongoing requirement.

Both of these roles will help us to develop resource and add to the collective wisdom – helping us not just to do, but to have the time to listen and improve our understanding of our community and ultimately the customers of our sector and will crucially adds weight to our ability to influence.

Please do share an pass on details to help FIS better support you.  Together we are stronger.

Sustainability Champion

Find out more about this role

Technical and Vetting Manager

Find out more about this role

Strong, committed and dynamic leadership for FIS community

Strong, committed and dynamic leadership for FIS community

At the FIS Board Meeting on 27 April, industry challenges related to shortages, transformation, evolution of FIS as a community and leadership were discussed.  One key outcome was that Helen Tapper of Tapper Interiors and current serving President, was invited, and has agreed to extend her term of presidency for another year.  As part of the process, Lydia Sharples, Encon Group has been nominated and has agreed to take on the role of Vice President.

Former Vice President Richard Jones remains committed to supporting the Board and will stand for re-election at the 2021 Board elections, but has opted to step aside to focus his energy on being an ordinary board member and managing growth within his own business Paramount Office Interiors.

FIS is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to support members, improve safety, minimise risk, enhance productivity and drive innovation in the sector.  It is governed by an elected Board of Directors which sets policy and direction and provides oversight and scrutiny to the operation of the organisation.  The FIS President and Vice President assume the duties of Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board as well as representing the organisation when called upon.  All Directors are nominated from the membership and serve as volunteers – they are supported by the FIS Executive Team.

Commenting on the announcement, Helen Tapper stated:

“COVID-19 has dominated our world in the past 18 months, but as the worst of the impact starts to recede, we need to ensure that we don’t let the lessons learned fade into the background and we continue to drive the transformation agenda.

“Just before the enormity of COVID gripped us, I focussed on the three steps to Rebuilding Construction, I will dedicate my remaining time as President to taking this work forward and ensuring that the finishes and interiors supply chain is exemplar and leading change when we look at fairness, quality, inclusivity and collaboration and that FIS Membership through our vetting process and ongoing work upholds these values and ensures members benefit from the value led change that is being talked about by Government and the Construction Leadership Council.  I would also like to take this opportunity again to thank the FIS Board for the support they have given to me as President and the dedication of the FIS team for the daily help they give to my business.  I am very proud of our community and it is a real honour to serve it”.

Lydia Sharples has served on the FIS Board since November 2019.  She has over 20 years’ experience working within the building industry including brand leaders of drywall and insulation manufacturing and UK market leading distribution, much of which has been in marketing and communications.  Having worked with various trade bodies over the years, Lydia fully understands the importance they can play in future development.  Lydia commented:

“It is a real honour to step up to support Helen as Vice President of FIS and to get this vote of confidence from the Board.  The last year has been exceptional and I have been very proud, not just to support FIS efforts through the Board, but to be a part of a community that has been so steadfastly committed to its values. The FIS team have given all their energy to help members adapt and confront some of the most exacting times we will (hopefully) ever encounter.  Helen has been an inspirational and supportive leader over this period and for me it is great news, at the request of myself and our fellow Board members, that she has agreed to stand for election as President for another year. Enabling her to have the time and the opportunity to deliver the clear vision of change she has and we as a Board share – exciting times ahead for our community.” 

All members are invited to consider nominating themselves to join the Board. By joining, you have the chance to use your knowledge and experience in the finishes and interiors sector to influence the direction of the Association and support our mission to improve safety and quality, minimise risk, enhance productivity and drive innovation in the sector, ultimately ensuring that membership and guidance are reflected in all relevant specifications.

Reaching out to the wider membership Helen Tapper called on individuals from member companies to get involved:

“The Board is key to ensuring FIS delivers for our community and ensuring our activity is aligned to your needs.  I am particularly keen to use my last 12 months as President to encourage new applicants for the board from all sections of the membership, however big or small their companies.   We need the next generation to be coming through and I can promise you that the Board is an open, progressive and inclusive group – fresh views, challenging the status quo and your unique insight will be welcome and valued.  We know many are reticent to come forward as they are caught up in the ‘day to day’ particularly in the smaller businesses.  Like any commitment, joining the FIS Board it is not without challenge, but it is rewarding, allows your voice to be heard and, with modern methods of communication, it has never been easier to engage and support the leadership of our association.” 

If you are interested in considering standing in the 2021 elections, contact for more information.

Find more about the FIS Board and Strategy here.

FIS launches Specifiers Guide for Ceilings and Acoustic Absorbers

FIS launches Specifiers Guide for Ceilings and Acoustic Absorbers

The Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) has launched a Specifiers’ GuideCeilings and Acoustic Absorbers to help a project team fully understand the criteria when writing a specification for a suspended ceiling or acoustic absorber.

The Specifiers’ Guide – Ceilings and Acoustic Absorbers was produced by the FIS Ceilings and Absorbers working group which comprises representation from manufacturers, suppliers and contractors involved in the design, supply and construction of ceiling systems. It is intended to guide architects, designers and installers through the criteria in selecting and specifying a suspended ceiling and acoustic absorber that will satisfy the performance needs of an internal space while providing the desired visual effect.

Commenting on the guide, Iain McIlwee, Chief Executive of the FIS said: “This guide, written by industry specialists, pulls together decades of experience from specification managers who almost instinctively know the questions on all aspects – from performance, material characteristics, sustainability and environmental, conformity marking, installation, maintenance and end of life.

The guide addresses what a good specification looks like and how it should be structured, it even includes 10 top tips to producing a specification. It then breaks down the key performance issues around fire and acoustics and the other issues of volatile organic compounds, light reflectance, impact resistance, air permeability, wind loading, sustainability and conformity marking.

“In total, there are 36 parameters to consider to ensure a safe, compliant and complete specification. This is crucial if the specification is not to be misinterpreted and any alternatives assessed and checked as equal before approving them,” added Iain McIlwee.

The guide sits alongside other FIS best practice guides that relate to ceilings:

Site Guide for suspended ceilings

Installation of suspended ceilings

Selection and installation of top fixings for suspended ceilings

Maintenance and access into suspended ceilings

Recommendations for the Safe Ingress of Plasterboard

Health and safety handbook

These guides work well when they are included in proposals and project plans to demonstrate how to best approach a project. They are also good differentiators when someone is in competition with non-members, and are an excellent introduction to new members of the team and any trainees and apprentices.

You can download the Specifiers’ Guide – Ceilings and Acoustic Absorbers here.

For further information or for any questions and comments contact us via email at or call 0121 707 0077.