Workshops and webinars available through the Supply Chain Sustainability School and FIS

Workshops and webinars available through the Supply Chain Sustainability School and FIS

The Supply Chain Sustainability School and FIS have collaborated to bring you a range of workshops and webinars specific to the finishes and interiors sector. We’ve highlighted below all the upcoming sessions and relevant resources.

Introduction to Modern Slavery with Willmott Dixon
Tuesday 16 January 2024, 10 – 11am
This webinar will introduce you to the topic of modern slavery featuring insights from Willmott Dixon.

Using Lean for Continuous Improvement and Problem Solving
Tuesday 23 January, 10am – 12pm

Net Zero, SBTs and Carbon Offsetting
Thursday 1 February, 10 – 11am

Introduction to Circular Economy
Thursday 15 February, 12 – 1pm

Embedding Sustainable Procurement
Wednesday 21 February, 9:30 – 11:30am

Expanding England’s tree coverage and encouraging the safe usage of timber in construction

Expanding England’s tree coverage and encouraging the safe usage of timber in construction

The government is committed to increasing England’s tree canopy and woodland cover to 16.5% by 2050, as per the statutory tree and woodland cover target. However, planting trees alone is not enough. To make the most out of the materials they provide, the government has also pledged to enhance the safe use of timber in construction (TiC) as part of the Net Zero Strategy, the England Trees Action Plan, and the 2023 Environmental Improvement Plan. This will help reduce embodied carbon in the built environment, promote tree planting and forest management, create new green jobs and industries, and build domestic supply chains.

It’s important to prioritize safe, high-performing, and best-practice timber construction to achieve the net-zero pathway. Alongside resource efficiency measures and other low-carbon products, the use of timber will provide the most significant benefits.

See the roadmap here

Re-use, net zero, sustainability and FIS efforts

Re-use, net zero, sustainability and FIS efforts

Wednesday marked the last formal FIS Working Group meeting for 2023 with the FIS Sustainability Leadership Group descending on Clerkenwell, kindly hosted by Troldtekt in their showroom.  As host Steve Mansell kindly acted as Guest Chair (this Chair for this group rotates between the members).   

Action:  If you are interested are a contractor and interested in sustainability and haven’t could you please complete our survey here (it is helping to inform our work). 

The meeting was a chance to reflect on key work programmes associated with supporting sustainable transformation and a net zero approach within the finishes and interiors sector.   

As in all aspects of our activity the FIS focus of this group is observation (understanding the challenges and opportunities), standardisation (encouraging consistency), normalisation (collective action) and representation (ensuring external barriers are understood and removed).   

Led ably by FIS Sustainability Champion Flavie Lowres, the Leadership Group reviewed progress against the plan.  This is an important area of focus and it is becoming increasingly so as clients start to interrogate in more detail the impact work.   

The meeting zoned in on the area of re-use with the first live demo of the pre-refurbishment audit tool that FIS has been working to develop with the University of Hertfordshire (built around the standard Audit protocols FIS has developed and is currently working with NBS to turn into a specification standard).   We also discussed the re-use initiative, our plans to set up a pilot collective re-use hub on the outskirts of London.   

At the heart of all FIS does is collaboration and we have and are doubling down on our partnership with the Supply Chain Sustainability School in 2024 with a number of targeted training interventions: 

Upcoming sessions   Dates 
Introduction to Modern Slavery webinar     16th January at 10 – 11am  
Using Lean for Continuous Improvement and Problem Solving workshop     23rd January at 10am – 12pm 
Net Zero , SBTs & Carbon Offsetting webinar    1st February at 10 – 11am  
Introduction to Circular Economy webinar    15th February at 12 – 1pm 
Embedding Sustainable Procurement workshop    21st February at 9:30 – 11:30am 
Business Case for FIR workshop     12th March at 10am – 1pm 
Building Level Assessments webinar   21st March at 12 – 1pm 
EPD webinar  Date TBC 

The plan is also to work with the School to help benchmark activity within the sector based on a framework that has been developed (in consultation with FIS).  More on this in the New Year. 

We had brief updates on the ongoing work around establishing a more consistent approach to information exchange and how we can better embrace social value in the work (the fourth discussion this week about the failure of Section 106 clauses to deliver positive outcomes and something we do intend to take on in 2024 – initially with the work we are doing with the City of London and the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce).  

We also had an update from Iain McIlwee, FIS CEO on why FIS is supporting Ska Rating as a mechanism to support the measurement of project impact within the sector.  Iain has recently joined the Ska Board to help encourage uptake of and support investment in the next stage of development for what is already a fantastic process for measuring impact of refurbishment projects in retail, office and higher education.  

We’d like to thank all members who have supported the Sustainability Leadership Group and provided inspiration, imagination, expertise and time to help shift the dial and we look forward to working with you all to deliver on your ambition in 2024. 

The FIS sustainability group has grown since I started at FIS 2 years ago. It is very interesting forum where participants can share and collaborate on the topic of sustainability. The strength of the group is that it includes all the stakeholders from the fitout industry and all different levels of knowledge of sustainability.  

If you are interested in getting involved in the FIS Sustainability Leadership Group in 2024 or just want to find out more about our activities, email   

Action:  If you are interested are a contractor and interested in sustainability and haven’t could you please complete our survey here (it is helping to inform our work). 

Activity Map and update 2023 – FIS Sustainability Leadership Group. 

Visit the FIS Sustainability Hub here 

FIS CEO joins new SKARating Board

FIS CEO joins new SKARating Board

Getting ready for Net Zero: SKA announces new Board and governance

  • SKArating is announcing an exciting change in leadership and new plans to scale up to support the growing need to reshape sustainability in the fit-out world.
  • SKArating has, over the last 15 years, helped over 12,000 fit-out projects improve sustainability and provided a framework for countless more to make better, responsible, sustainable decisions.

This month SKArating is announcing an exciting change in its leadership and governance, as well as new plans to scale up to support the growing need to reshape sustainability in the fit-out world.

Developed in 2008 to help landlords and tenants systemise sustainability and assess fit-out projects against a practical sustainability rating system, SKA is unique in that it is driven exclusively to make a positive impact.  At the heart of SKA is a toolkit and assessment criteria that is free to use – costs are covered via training and certification.  The scheme has now supported more than 12,000 fit-out projects to make responsible decisions.

SKArating was initially developed by a group of industry professionals led by Skansen and supported by RICS and AECOM to focus on sustainability in fit-out, primarily in the commercial office, higher education and retail space.  The underlying philosophy of SKArating has always been to encourage all in the supply chain to make small changes in a practical way today.

To establish SKArating in the market, RICS provided a platform to incubate the scheme, host information and support the rating and certification process.  The changes announced this week will see SkArating trade as an independent “not-for-profit” business.

The new board is formed from people with a long-standing association with the scheme.  Elina Grigoriou has chaired the SKArating Technical Committee since the scheme was first launched in 2008, and served on the SKArating Development Board as well as delivering the training of SKArating assessors.  She is joined by Joe Croft, Charlie Law and Dave Wakelin who have been members of the Technical Committee for many years, and Iain McIlwee who has joined the board, cementing the Finishes and Interiors Sector’s strong association with the scheme.  The Board has supported SKArating through its incubation with RICS and provides continuity as the scheme takes its next steps.

SKA provides:

  • A framework to help understand good practice in fit-out and how to implement it.
  • An informal self-assessment tool for analysing environmental performance of a fit-out project
  • An opportunity to benchmark the performance of fit-outs
  • Quality-assured assessments from an accredited SKA assessor
  • A measure to help landlords and owners to demonstrate the sustainable credentials of commercial space

The way SKArating operates will not be affected.  Assessments will continue to be certified as they were under RICS’s stewardship.  Assessors will continue to receive the same technical support that they have previously enjoyed through RICS, with updated processes for assessor accreditation and CPD.

However, the board has plans to update the SKArating schemes to respond to an increasingly climate-aware fit-out industry, and to expand the sectors that SKArating can be used in.  The board will be reaching out to industry experts, SKArating users, assessors and clients to help develop the next iteration of the tool and the various schemes.

Chairperson of the new SKA Board Elina Grigoriou stated:

“This is an exciting time in the evolution of SKA. After 15 years developing the product and building awareness, we are now ready to step out on our own and work with our amazing community to take this scheme to the next level. With SKA now firmly established, it is time to take the next step and RICS has supported the leadership group to establish SKA as an independent social value business.

“All of us on the new Board and our Technical advisors are passionate and committed to remaining true to the SKA values for its future direction. SKA will remain owned by the industry and run as a “not-for-profit” ensuring it is always acting in the best interest of the market.”

Commenting on the changes, Janine Cole, Sustainability & Social Impact Director at Great Portland Estates plc stated:

“GPE have used SKArating for several years and has supported the business in improving the sustainability performance of our smaller refurbishment projects. The flexible nature of the scheme makes it ideal for this type of project, as a result, it was recently included within “Our Brief for Creating Sustainable Spaces” as a requirement for our on floor fit out schemes. We look forward to working with the SKArating Board as they develop the scheme.”

Ben Stubbs, Head of Sustainability (Built Environment) at UCL added:

“At UCL, all our project teams are accountable for their impacts across a broad range of sustainability indicators. We recognise Ska’s potential to help us further reduce our impacts as we continue to update our institutional targets.”

More details on the SKArating is available here:

FIS seeks project manager and storage facility for exciting new re-use initiative

FIS seeks project manager and storage facility for exciting new re-use initiative

In conjunction with its members and the wider sector, FIS is developing an exciting new reuse pilot project to reduce the environmental impact of the fit-out sector and embodied carbon emissions and waste from strip out projects.

Surveys have shown that there is a growing appetite for enabling more reused products into commercial projects. However, there are a number of practical barriers for reuse. Often, there is little time and space on site to segregate and store products to be picked up by an organisation for reuse. Construction projects are very time dependant and any delays to a project timeline can be very costly. In order for the project team to specify reused products, they need to be confident that the products will be available at the time of installation and that the products meet the right quality requirements.

The reuse initiative seeks to remove these barriers, by collaborating with industry stakeholders to create a physical hub to store, process and distribute quality reuse products.

The pilot will take place in London and focus on two products: metal suspended ceiling systems and luminaires used in Cat A and will run for 12 months.

To support the initiative, FIS is looking for a project manager (on short-term contract or a secondee) to work alongside its sustainability champion and its CEO to deliver the pilot.  More details here.

The project also requires a storage facility up to 200m2 of safe and secure storage space for six months, with the ability to grow in the future.  More details here.

FIS CEO Iain Mcilwee said:

“I am excited about this project, we talk a lot about circularity, but sometimes I worry the hot air is contributing to climate change!  This is a concerted effort to actually do something material, to learn as a collective and start, I hope, to catalyse change.  We simply can’t carry on generating waste like we do – urban mining, reuse and circular thinking is essential in this.”

If you are interested in finding more about the project or joining the Reuse Initiative Working Group contact

Guidance for contractors carrying out a pre fit-out audit

Guidance for contractors carrying out a pre fit-out audit

According to Defra, the construction industry is responsible for 68 million tonnes of construction and demolition wastes each year. While 92% of those wastes are recovered, that still leaves 5 million tonnes going to landfill. It is also understood that most of construction and demolition wastes are crushed and used in low value applications. Products installed in buildings, in particular, in fit out projects, are often taken out of buildings before the end of their useful life because, for example, a new tenants moves in. this generates large amount of unnecessary wastes.

As the pressure on the sector is growing to reduce its environmental impact, there is a need to identify products before the building is stripped out – this can be done through a visual audit which can identify type, quantities and locations of the products.

To support this, FIS has published a document, based on the CIWM pre-redevelopment audit protocol, to guide contractors through the best practice approach of carrying pre-fitout audit. The document explains who is best placed to do it, why it is important, when is best to do it and what the audit should contain.

Pre Fit Out Audit

The pre fit-out audit guide builds on the CIWM pre-redevelopment audit protocol to provide a specific best practice approach for the fit-out sector. This document should be used in conjunction with the table of platforms that have been identified to divert wastes from landfill/incineration. It was developed by the FIS sustainability leadership group.