Best Practice Guide to Heritage Plastering launched by FIS

Best Practice Guide to Heritage Plastering launched by FIS

FIS has today launched its Best Practice Guide – Repair of Historic Ceilings to help promote best practice in the repair and restoration of historic plaster ceilings.

Produced by the FIS Heritage Plaster Group which includes representatives from the plastering trade and building conversation, and written by Sarah Mayfield, a building conservator, sculptor and ornamental plasterer, the guide is an invaluable aid to building owners, managers, architects or surveyors, plaster contractors or conservation officers. This publication will guide them through the specification of traditional ceilings, the multiple varying scenarios and the advantages and disadvantages of each repair technique in accordance with its historic value.

Split into sections, the guide covers everything from the principles of building conversation to understanding the history of the ceiling and its materials, along with the assessment process. It offers a series of points to consider when carrying out repairs in terms of the appropriate materials and techniques, and suspension methods, and includes:

  • Guidance for inspection procedures, scope and site considerations
  • Assessing the historic value and significant features
  • Understanding past interventions, historic maintenance work to the ceiling and its value
  • Future inspection regimes
  • Competence of plaster inspectors and craftspeople

‘It’s a document written for the trade by the trade, and I think that gives it some strength and relevance,” said Roger Curtis MRICS, Head of Technical Resources, Operations Directorate at Historic Environment Scotland.

Commenting on the Guide, FIS Technical Director Joe Cilia said this guide is the culmination o almost three years work to ensure that the content was relevant, informative and importantly peer reviewed by the sectors conservators, craft experts and other associate bodies who work to ensure our heritage is maintained and recorded for others to see, enjoy, and study for years to come.

By increasing a level of understanding of the technical issues among key stakeholders, the guide will play a part in raising the standard of repairs so that the significance and authenticity of the ceiling can be assured.

FIS can trace its roots back in the plastering trade through the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers.  FIS represents suppliers and contractors in the finishes and interior sector. Its members are vetted when they join and then every three years. They abide by a code of conduct and agree to carry out work in accordance with the FIS best practice guides.

A valuable resource for improving works package delivery, these guides work well when they are included in proposals and project plans to demonstrate how to best approach a project.

A searchable list of members can be found here

FIS Best Practice Guide - Repair of Historic Ceilings

Toilet accommodation: Approved Document T

Toilet accommodation: Approved Document T

Building regulation in England to provide guidance on the design and layout of universal toilets, ambulant toilets and toilet cubicles.

The regulations set out in Part T of the Building Regulations are crucial in ensuring that toilets are accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. Universal toilets are designed to cater to a wide range of users, providing a comfortable and safe environment for everyone. Ambulant toilets offer additional support and space for individuals who may have difficulty using standard facilities.

When it comes to toilet cubicles, the design and specifications play a key role in creating an inclusive and welcoming space. It is essential to consider factors such as size, layout, grab bars, and accessibility features to meet the needs of all users. By following the guidelines outlined in Approved Document T, designers and architects can contribute to the creation of more inclusive and accessible facilities in new non-residential buildings and structures undergoing significant changes.

Ultimately, these efforts not only comply with regulations but also promote equality and diversity, ensuring that everyone has equal access to essential amenities. By prioritising accessibility in toilet design, we can create a more inclusive environment for all individuals.

Download the document here

Update on Technical Team Activities at FIS

Update on Technical Team Activities at FIS

Our technical team at FIS are continuously working to provide guidance answer questions and look out for changes in legislation that could impact your business.

The work we do is varied as you will see from the presentation, this first video update includes:

  • Details of a new guide on repairing historic lath and plaster ceilings,
  • Understanding how products work together and integrate with other building systems especially where Fire walls are installed with services, doors, glazed partitions, this will be launched later in the summer.
  • Addressing a gap in training our teams to estimate or procure products including drylining, ceilings, infill SFS and glazed partitions.
  • Developing systems to evaluate acoustic performance and specifications for offsite manufactured meeting pods
  • Reducing risk in managing nominal or unresolved design details
  • Detail behind the first industry alert issued this year on the suitability of Smoke shafts, one not to miss!
  • Fire resistance of Glazed fire screens and the importance of insulation values
  • Update of our publication reviews
  • Details of our upcoming meetings and events including a free to attend meeting for drylining organisations on 30 May and the Ceilings and absorbers group on 5 June
  • More information on our Advisory service and answering your technical calls

Play the video below to hear from Jim and Joe

Technical Resources

You can access the full suite of FIS Tehcnical resources in our knowledge hub.

FIS issues safety alert for smoke shafts

FIS issues safety alert for smoke shafts

FIS Safety Alert: Suitability of gypsum-based systems in the construction of smoke shafts

Concerns have been raised with FIS that gypsum-based systems are being specified to construct smoke shafts for mechanically ventilated systems in some high-rise buildings. Members are advised that gypsum-based systems are typically tested for fire resistance, sound insulation, air permeability and robustness. These tests do not replicate the pressure differential conditions or measure leakage at ambient or elevated temperatures which may be required for this application.

Members are advised to be watchful for this detail in their tender requests and project specifications and seek clarification, especially where any specific requirement to meet performance in accordance with BS EN1366-8, the shaft is classified to BS EN 13501-4 or elevated negative air pressures are referenced. On design matters members should seek clarification from the Principal Designer and/or Engineering Services Designers and consult with Manufacturers with respect to any live or legacy specifications. They are also reminded to be watchful for any clauses in contract that may leave them with responsibility for the design, compliance, or cost of demonstrating compliance of such details.

If you have additional questions, please contact the FIS Technical team on 0121 707 0077 or email or

Subsequent to the publishing of above statement on the 3rd May 2024 the Smoke Control Association has issued a statement recommending that the materials and products used for smoke control ducts and shafts are tested in accordance with the test standards referred to in BS EN 12101-7 for multi-compartment smoke control ducts which is BS EN 1366-8. 

BS EN 1366-8 covers air leakage, integrity, insulation, maintenance of cross-sectional area and mechanical stability under pressure, characteristics which are detailed within BS EN 13501-4.

The full statement from the SCA can be viewed here


European Court of Justice Judgment on free standards

European Court of Justice Judgment on free standards

In a recent appeal heard at the European Court of Justice (Case C-588/21 P), the Court ruled that four harmonized standards form part of EU law and access must be freely available without charge.

The Court decided that there is an overriding public interest in free access to harmonized standards that have been cited in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Although the case related to just four standards, in practice it is likely to apply to future requests for access to all harmonized standards that have been cited in the OJEU.

BSI is now working with CEN, CENELEC and the other members of CEN and CENELEC to understand the implications of the judgment. They will look at how the judgment can be delivered whilst ensuring the future sustainability of the standards system.

If you have any queries on the ECJ ruling please send them to

FREE British Standards for FIS SME Members

Sign up now for exclusive access to 100 British Standards. Eligible companies will receive access to the British Standards upon registration.

Access the standards

See full details and access the standards

CROSS reports potential problems with the application of passive fire protection products

CROSS reports potential problems with the application of passive fire protection products

FIS is aware of two recent reports raised through CROSS (Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures UK) that highlight potential problems with the application of passive fire protection products.

One issue relates to the use on sealants with CPVP pipes (sprinkler pipe) which can apply to fire stopped pipe penetrations whereby the sealant or firestopping product used can cause failures over time which require repair and downtime of the sprinkler system. Additionally, it is possible that these failures could manifest only at such a time where the active fire suppression systems are required, and that the firestopping at the location of the penetration could itself fail in the event of a fire due to a difference between the site condition and the test condition.

FIS has previously published guidance on this which can be found here, and the CROSS report can be found here.

The second report deals with assumptions being made about the fire protection of steel supporting members within fire rated timber joist supporting floors. In these cases steel beams are not being protected with intumescent coating as it is assumed that the fire resistance of the floor encompasses the steel beams despite the absence of test evidence demonstrating this.

The CROSS report can be found here.

CROSS is a confidential reporting system which allows professionals working in the built environment to report on fire and structural safety issues. These are then published anonymously to share lessons learned, create positive change, and improve safety.