FIS Updates Site Guide for Suspended Ceilings

FIS Updates Site Guide for Suspended Ceilings

The FIS Site Guide for Suspended Ceilings has been revised and updated by the FIS Ceilings and Absorbers working group and is available to download here.

The site guides are intended to help main contactors, designers and project managers that you are working with to understand the terminology, descriptors and different ceiling systems used, and the process of delivery, handling, planning the installation, as well as understanding the site conditions, the plant and access equipment needed. It also highlights the key health and safety points and requirements from the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM).

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

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

The next online meeting of the Ceilings and Absorbers working group will be held on 2 March. To register please follow this link, or call Joe Cilia on 07795 958 780 if you have any questions.

Additional funding for training completed since 1 August

Additional funding for training completed since 1 August

The FIS Training Group has secured additional funding to support the cost of training and qualifications completed by FIS employer members in scope to CITB.

The additional funding, of up to £2,000 per company, covers a range of training from generic health and safety through to specialist courses such as spray plastering, deflection heads or fire door inspection and includes vocational qualification achievement.  This funding is in addition to the CITB grant eligible training (GET) code grant you already claim from CITB.

How to claim

Simply send the invoice for training completed since 1st August 2020 to if it meets the criteria set out below, we will arrange a refund to the full 100% of the course cost (up to a maximum of £2,000 per company, less the grant already claimed from CITB and less VAT incurred).  The funding will be available on a first come, first served basis.

For a full list of eligible courses please see: CITB training standards

CITB GET Fund FIS Supplement Terms and Conditions

  1. The supplement cannot be used for GET codes that are already included on an individual employer contracted CITB Skills and Training allocation.
  2. An FIS supplement can only be paid to organisations ‘in scope’ to CITB and up to date with levy payments.
  3. The supplement is primarily for micro and small organisations no more than 25% of the total fund can be paid to large organisations (100 or more employees).
  4. Non grant eligible training is not covered by this supplement.
  5. Training must have taken place between 01 August 2020 and 31 March 2021 and have been completed before applying.
  6. Training must have been completed by delegates who are currently employed by or are NET (taxed) Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) sub-contractors of CITB registered employers.
  7. Invoices supplied must show the full costs of the training completed including CITB registration number, Training Provider, course name, CITB GET code, Tier value, date of completion, number of delegates, course cost and VAT.
  8. Successful applications will be notified within 25 working days.
  9. Payments will be made when the invoice is verified.

Funding is limited so cannot be guaranteed.

FIS is happy to review and support all of your funding claims through our one to one Skills and Funding Clinics.

This is a service freely available to members through the booking form here.  Members are also strongly advised to apply for the CITB Skills and Training Fund 2020 which can allow organisations to claim up to £25,000 to support their training needs.

Commercial sector falls only 4% in 2020 thanks to strong offices contract awards

Commercial sector falls only 4% in 2020 thanks to strong offices contract awards

Increases in contract awards in the North West, East of England and the South West.

Contract awards in the commercial sector valued £7.3bn, 4% lower than 2019’s £7.6bn. The number of projects fell by 17% to 1,100 from 1,400. This is broadly consistent with preceding years and continues the long negative trend in the sector.

The sector experienced a major shock this year with a huge increase in home working leaving offices unoccupied and retail stores shuttered for much of the year resulting in a surge in online purchases by consumers.

FIS members can access the full report here.

Total number of contract awards decrease by 16% in 2020 and values fall by 5%.

Construction output increased by 2% in November, bringing the in-month value above pre-Covid levels for the first time. This was achieved through strong infrastructure activity, as well as repair & maintenance activity across all sectors. Private housing was also strong in November and continued its upward trajectory since the summer.

However aggregate output for 2020 remained significantly down on 2019. Housing has taken the largest hit, at 20% below last year’s levels – public housing especially is down, by 28%. The industrial and commercial sectors are 18% and 17% lower respectively. The sectors least impacted are infrastructure (-3%), RMI (-5%) and public non-housing (-7%).

Company director sentenced after worker sustains serious crush injuries

Company director sentenced after worker sustains serious crush injuries

The director of a construction company has been sentenced after a subcontractor suffered serious injuries when a stack of plasterboards fell on him at a construction site in Thames Ditton, Surrey.

Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard that on 12 April 2019, subcontractors were moving sheets of plasterboard weighing 32kg each from the ground floor to the second floor of a house undergoing refurbishment. As there was no staircase in place, they were stacking the plasterboard against an unsecured ladder and sliding them up to the floor above. During the process the plasterboards fell on the worker, fracturing his pelvis.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found there was no safe system of work in place and the workers were not being adequately supervised. The stairwell openings were not guarded and they were partially spanned with scaffold boards resting on insecure scaffold poles, creating a significant fall risk.

Siamak Samyani the sole director of SS Reforms Limited of Eastcote Avenue, West Molesey, Surrey pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months, fined £3,400 and ordered to pay costs of £600.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Cousins said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the director to devise and implement a suitable safe system of work.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those who fall below the required standards.”

FIS has created a guide for the Safe Ingress of Plasterboard, which is available to download here.

FIS launches new career and competency pathways to support drylining and ceiling fixers

FIS launches new career and competency pathways to support drylining and ceiling fixers

FIS has launched two new Career and Competency Pathway documents for drylining and ceiling fixing occupations. With a focus on quality and safety within the sector, the pathways show how individuals can show proof of competence by the achievement of training and qualifications.

Through the FIS Skills Board and support for the ongoing competence work as part of the Grenfell Industry Response Group activities, FIS has a renewed focus on developing the principles outlined in the FIS Competency Framework (SAKE) which measures competency through a combination of skills, attitude, knowledge, experience.

The new career and competency pathways map the qualifications and training available against the critical stages of a career in drylining and ceiling fixing occupations.  It provides a spine of information to help individuals and organisations to understand which steps to take and whether an individual is ready to progress through a better defined “gateway” to the next stage of their career. The pathway is aligning trained and assessed outcomes that support progression within the occupation, through to supervisory and management roles.

Commenting on the launch of the pathway, FIS Skills Board Chair, Paul Leach of Stortford Interiors said: “The aim of this work is to provide a better-defined pathway built around clear job roles and the stages within a career in key occupations within our sector.  It will remain fluid and we can adapt it as new competency standards, qualifications and guidance emerges, but we felt it important to make a start to both support companies in managing competencies and help to present careers within the sector.  The publishing of these pathways is a vital and clear rally call to the sector as we seek to improve competence within the workforce and address any skills shortages.”

FIS Skills and Training Lead, George Swann added: “Many are already well on this journey and undoubtedly there will be subtle differences within individual companies. But, by providing this standard pathway we can help all contractors and employers to understand what good looks like, benchmark where they are at and hopefully support a better culture of training and development through the sector.  We often talk about skills and competency and default to a conversation about card colour, but a genuine focus on competency is much more than this and involves ongoing learning as well as effective supervision and management and providing support and encouragement for individuals.  Having an organisational training plan supports social value requirements which are now prominent in contracts.”

The pathways are designed to be adapted by individual companies in-line with roles within organisations.  FIS is working to provide more detailed standardised job descriptions to further support a consistent approach to career management within the industry, and developing pathways to cover all the core occupational areas associated with the Finishes and Interiors sector.

You can download the Career and Competency Pathway documents for Drylining and Ceiling Fixing occupations here

For further information or for any questions and comments please contact the FIS by email at or call 0121 707 0077.