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.

FIS launches technical note on specifying acoustic absorbers

FIS launches technical note on specifying acoustic absorbers

To help specifiers understand the performance of wall mounted acoustic absorbers, FIS has published a new technical note, Specifying Acoustic Absorbers where they will be installed against a wall.

The sound quality of a room often doesn’t need a specialist to tell you that something is wrong. Whether it is an office, café or community space, it can sound like being in an unfurnished room and as people arrive it can become louder and louder for occupants. It is an issue that can be addressed by reducing reverberation caused by hard surfaces through the installation of acoustic absorbers on the walls.

The new guidance will help specifiers understand the acoustic and fire performance of wall mounted acoustic absorbers, acoustics and room acoustics, reverberation and absorption, conformity marking and importantly, their installation.

Iain McIlwee, Chief Executive of the FIS said: “The new technical note is aimed at anyone wanting to address noisy spaces by installing acoustic absorbers on the walls to reduce reverberation.”

This brief guidance provides information on how products are tested, what the results mean, what fire performance needs to be considered and what to look for in terms of how they should be installled so that they perform correctly.

“The positioning and installation of the absorbers can all have a big impact on the effect the absorbers will have, so it is important for specifiers to have all the informationduring the crucial specification stage ,” added Iain McIlwee.

The technical note is available to download at

FIS Acoustic Verification Scheme: New video, It’s about integrity…

FIS Acoustic Verification Scheme: New video, It’s about integrity…

FIS has launched a new video to help support understanding of the process and values behind the Acoustic Verification Scheme.

This verification scheme was established in 2019 to introduce standard methodology and support honest and consistent declaration of acoustic performance, encouraging best practice and preventing inaccurate or misleading information from undermining the market and responsible manufacturers.

The video explains simply how products are tested and how the verification process helps specifiers and contractors to specify and select products safe in the knowledge that they will meet the expected performance.

The FIS Acoustic Verification Scheme currently covers partitions and operable walls.  FIS Member Linear Group uses the scheme to support their work.

Stephen Holmes CEO, Linear Group states: “We have now adopted the FIS Acoustic Verification Scheme on all relevant specifications for Linear Group. The scheme helps us to short-cut a complex verification process, safe in the knowledge that the test evidence we are confronted with has been interrogated and is both accurate in itself and we can be confident that the product we are installing will perform as designed.

Acoustics is a complex space and information can be misleading – this scheme gives us the reassurance we need as a contractor and we can pass this reassurance on to the customer.”

FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee added:

“The launch of the scheme has been really encouraging for two reasons, firstly as it is helping to make a difference in terms of winning back trust and supporting acoustic specification, but also because it is the embodiment of FIS values.  The scheme is about the industry deciding that there is a better way and doing something about it to regain and build trust, it is our community in action and I am proud to be part of it – FIS draws no income from running the scheme, it is, like FIS not for profit, but all about values and value.  We are encouraging all members who have products in scope to get their products verified and those installing and specifying to ensure that are checking products are verified.”

Currently the FIS Acoustic Verification covers Operable Walls and Partitions, but a working group is being formed to look at Pod products.  The verification work is done in batches and FIS is intending to put the next verification batch through before the end of April.  If you would like more information on the process email

To watch the video and find out more about the scheme you can visit the FIS Acoustic Verification Hub here

Reverse Charge VAT: Managing change

Reverse Charge VAT: Managing change

In this webinar, tax expert Liz Bridge discussed the issues and challenges associated with the implementation of the Domestic Reverse Charge VAT, which came into effect on 1 March 2021.

It looked at how to manage Reverse Charge VAT in your business and there was conversation on the challenges businesses are experiencing.

A reminder that FIS has a Reverse Charge VAT Toolkit here, which includes previously recorded webinars.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to play them in.

FIS strengthens team with appointment of Skills and Training Co-ordinator

FIS strengthens team with appointment of Skills and Training Co-ordinator

FIS has recently appointed Catherine Bullough to project manage the BuildBack and Kickstart Programmes. Catherine has over 17 years’ experience of working with the construction industry, having previously worked with CITB in both an operational and strategic capacity. Catherine was the Partnerships Manager with the Industry Relations Team, working with construction employers and stakeholders to ensure that the construction industry had the supply of skills that it needed across the South and South West of England

Originally hailing from “the Lang Toun” of Kirkcaldy, Fife, and gaining a mining technology qualification, Catherine headed south to study at Manchester Poly originally embarking upon a career with the Police and Trading Standards before moving into the field of learning and development.

Catherine will be working as part of the Skills & Training team at FIS; with a keen focus upon helping the sector recruit and retain new talent; enabling on-site solutions to help finishes and interior employers recruit and train; creating new opportunities through extended partnership working and identifying funding opportunities to support the sector.

Catherine is an APM qualified Project Manager and remains a keen Raith Rovers supporter!

Skills and Training Lead George Swann said; “We welcome Catherine and value the wealth of knowledge and experience she brings to the FIS team.  In the short time Catherine has been here she has played a leading role in the implementation of the FIS KickStart programme and we should be seeing individuals placed with employers in the next few weeks.  Catherine is preparing for the first cohort of FIS BuildBack candidates and we look forward to reporting success in placing these candidates with employers”.

FIS partners with Workspace Show

FIS partners with Workspace Show

FIS is a key strategic partner for this brand new event taking place at the Business Design Centre in London on 4 & 5 November and its members can benefit from a 10% discount off the cost of exhibiting.

Bringing together the UK’s commercial interiors community to discuss the latest trends in workspace after the recent disruption, Workspace Show will feature around 80 exhibitors showcasing their furniture, lighting, surfaces, storage, tech and supplies, and will be attended by over 3,000 workspace professionals from the A&D community as well as facilities managers, specifiers and procurement from corporates.

The event also features a conference with industry leaders from Perkins & Will, Gensler, tp bennett, MF Interiors, BDG, BBC, Arup among others presenting their thought leadership on the future of workspace.

FIS is to offer its members a 10% discount to exhibit at the event (please email quoting FIS-WS), or you can register your interest to attend the event here.