FIS launch innovation awards

FIS launch innovation awards

FIS has launched its all-new Innovation Awards, which are open to all companies operating in the finishes and interiors sector.

The Awards aim to focus on ideas that help support improvements in efficiency, productivity, performance, quality or perception of the finishes and interiors sector.

The Award categories are:

  • Product Innovation – fit-out
  • Product Innovation – FF&E
  • Digital Innovation
  • Sustainable Innovation

There will also be an overall Innovation of the Year. This will be chosen by the conference audience from the winners of the above four categories.

The awards will be judged by a panel of experts and winners will be announced at the FIS Conference, which is taking place during the Workspace Design Show in February 2023.

Entry will close on 9 December. For more information and to enter click here.

FIS Chief Executive Iain McIlwee said:

“There remains a perception that construction is not an innovative sector, our aim with these awards is to debunk this myth and celebrate innovation in our sector across a number of categories. We are looking for innovation that meets a need in the sector and has evidence of adoption or planned use in a commercial environment. So, the successful exploitation of new ideas and bringing creative ideas to life.”

Joe Cilia, FIS Technical Director, added:

“I can think of at least four products which I have seen in the last few years that have been developed by both large and small
organisations based on need to improve quality, address sustainability or save time and I am looking forward to these awards
to be the showcase they need to get to a wider audience.”

The FIS Conference will be a two-day programme on 27-28 February at the Business Design Centre in London. There will be several 1-hour workshops each day, with the winners of the Innovation Awards announced at the Awards Ceremony on 27 February.

More information on the Conference is available here.

Michelle Armstrong appointed FIS Head of Membership

Michelle Armstrong appointed FIS Head of Membership

FIS is delighted to announce the appointment of Michelle Armstrong as Head of Membership. The role has been newly created in support of the company’s growth strategy, achieved by the development of a programme of member engagement and recruitment activities.

Michelle has over two decades of experience in the construction industry, having worked for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) since 2000. She is a skilled and practised Company Development advisor, making her FIS’ clear choice to fulfil the new position of Head of Membership.

In her new role, Michelle will continue to develop the company’s growth strategy by developing and leading a programme of member engagement and recruitment activities. She has most recently worked as an Area Delivery Manager for CITB, ensuring she brings a wealth of organisational experience to the new role in addition to her recruitment background.

Michelle’s extensive career in construction has given her great insight into the sector, allowing her to understand how the industry operates and the obstacles faced by members. This understanding will be fundamental to her new role, as she will help to overcome these systemic challenges.

The role will see Michelle at the forefront of ensuring that FIS is a dynamic and growing membership community, alert and responsive to the challenges members face and delivering effective and practical support.

Working with the FIS Community in this new role, Michelle will lead the company’s efforts to strengthen relationships with members through improved account management and formulating an effective regional strategy, ensuring member retention remains exceptional and FIS continues to attract new members and grow.

Michelle commented: “After 21 years working for CITB and navigating the challenges of the construction industry, I am delighted to be joining FIS. I look forward to working with colleagues in continuing to provide a first-class service to our members, as well as extending our influence to new members.”

Commenting on the new appointment, FIS CEO Iain Mcilwee said:  “We are excited to have Michelle join the team, she builds a wealth of experience in developing and managing relationships.  FIS is a Membership body and a voice for the sector – to be effective we need to engage with our members, to listen and ensure that they are accessing all we have to offer and matching our resources to meeting their challenges head on.   The organisation has been steadily growing and it is the right time that we bring someone in to help us to better structure and manage relationships, to support ongoing growth built on a foundation of active engagement, open communication and dynamic support.“

For further information or for any questions please contact the FIS at or call 0121-707-0077.

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

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Technical and Vetting Manager

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