New visa fees set to come into effect next month

New visa fees set to come into effect next month

The Home Office has increased the fees for most types of visas, including the ‘Skilled Worker’ visa used by most workers from outside the UK in construction.

  • For those applying for a visa from outside the UK, the fee is £719 for up to three years and £1,420 for more than three years.
  • For those already in the UK extending, switching or updating their visa, the fee is £827 for up to three years and £1,500 for more than three years.
  • For occupations on the Shortage Occupations List, the fee is £551 for up to three years and £1,084 for more than three years, regardless of whether applying from in or outside the UK.

From early 2024, the fine for employing illegal workers will increase from £15,000 to £45,000 per illegal worker for a first offence and from £20,000 to £60,000 for repeated offences. Depending on the individual, employers have the following options for ensuring they have right to work in the UK: a digital check via a certified Identity Service Provider, an online check via the Home Office online service, or an in‐person manual document‐based check.

Third quarter highlights

Third quarter highlights

The FIS team have been hard at work and achieved some brilliant results across our Technical, Business Development, Sustainability. Skills and Training, and Lobbying efforts. Here’s a short look back at Q3 of 2023

Key technical work

  • Reviewed raft of newly published secondary regulations and launched the FIS simple overview of theBuilding Safety Act and Wider Building Regulation Reform
  • Ran fire walls and penetrations webinar co-ordinated with the Passive Fire Knowledge Group
  • Ran promotional campaign on fire walls and fire labels to Tier 1 Contractors
  • Key technical guidance issued covering: Reporting non-confirming installations; Top 10 risks to avoid when procuring and installing fire resistant drylining and Plastering to floor level with applied skirting

Business support and guidance

  • FIS community strengthened by record number of applications
  • Launched new new risk management offering via a webinar

Lobbying and representation

  • FIS responds on behalf of its members to:
    the Morrell and Day Report (recommendations to improve and strengthen the testing regime forconstruction products),
    the Industry Training Board Review
    the proposed changes to taxation of umbrella workers
    the Government consultation on addressing carbon leakage risk to support decarbonisation.
    the Procurement Bill
  • FIS declares support for the new Quality Charter in Scotland calling for better procurement andcontinues to support the Conflict Avoidance Coalition across the UK.
  • FIS CEO Iain McIlwee invited to join expert panel of the Home Builders Skills Partnership looking atsupply chain relationships.
  • FIS lobbying success on Late Payment with new measures on value, disputed invoices and retention tobe included in the Duty to Report

Skills and training

  • Collaboration with Skills Development Scotland, CITB and Scottish members on the review anddevelopment of existing apprenticeships in ceilings and partitions, providing a structure for any futurereview and development of apprenticeships and vocational qualifications.
  • FIS supported the launch of the new Rockfon Training facility.
  • Finalised the Drylining Competency Plan and started work on developing SKEB statements for all coretrades and supporting roles.
  • Collaboration with DWP to develop material which aims to upskill DWP staff and showcase theopportunities available in our sector.
  • Exploratory work with Prisons and DWP (Dept for Work and Pensions) in preparation for a pilot withBuild UK Open Doors programme in 2024.

Key Events

  • Scottish Awards Lunch – celebrating the scottish sector
  • Hosted working groups for steel framed systems and partitions
  • FIS Birmingham event featuring expert speakers from the Deeley Group, the world of Risk Managementand Insurance as well as a lived experience mental health presentation that silenced the room
  • Delivered webinars covering risk when selecting fire walls and penetrations, flexi-job apprenticeshipsand managing organisational risk

Sustainability

  • FIS published a new pre fit-out audit standard to support a common approach to managing strip-outto deliver optimum net zero results.
  • FIS Schools Research conducted with Class of Your Own fed into the City of London Skills for aSustainable Skyline Taskgroup work. FIS continues to support this ongoing project looking at theneed to upgrade offices across the City.

Download this document here

Scottish Government publishes Scottish Social Housing Tender Price Index quarterly report

Scottish Government publishes Scottish Social Housing Tender Price Index quarterly report

The Scottish Government has published the Scottish Social Housing Tender Price Index (SSHTPI) quarterly report. The report measures the movement in construction costs of social housing in Scotland and is based on analysing the construction costs in accepted tenders for affordable housing. Having fallen over the previous two quarters, tender prices for social housing in Scotland in April to June 2023-24, as measured by the SSHTPI, rose 1.3% compared with the previous quarter and 6.9% compared with the same quarter in 2022-23. Underlying construction costs of labour, materials, and plant rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter in the same period and by 2.8% compared with the same quarter a year earlier. The latest data for housing starts in Scotland are nearly 40% down on the same period a year earlier, when 647 social houses were started, and private sector starts were down 23%. Alongside the SSHTPI, a general description of the index has been published.

NHP Market Update

NHP Market Update

The New Hospital Programme is holding an Autumn Market Update on Thursday 9 November from 11:00am to 5:00pm in London and online.

The market briefing will be a chance for Industry to hear about Programme developments and its approach to delivery with further details to be shared around key strategic areas of the Hospital 2.0 standardised design approach, the Programme Digital Strategy, and the overarching Commercial approach.

You can register your interest here, with in‐person places limited to one per organisation.

 

FIS launches contract review service

FIS launches contract review service

As part of our service offering, FIS provide a contract, QS and legal helpline service.  Demand for this helpline has increased in recent months and concerns have been highlighted related to the level of risk (particularly around design and delay associated with the new regulatory environment) being passed through the supply chain.  In response to this we have identified the need to introduce a new FIS Contract Review Service.

Unlike the helpline, which reacts to member enquiries once a problem has been identified, the contract review service provides pro-active support that will seek to identity onerous contract clauses before work starts, thus seeking to avoid contract issues further down the line.

The subsidised service will be staffed by a panel of four experts, and it will be the member’s choice as to which panel member they choose.  The starting price will be £450 for an initial review and written summary and an additional £150 if a virtual meeting is required to go through the contract in more detail.  Prices will be tiered around size of contract.

The panel will use the collective wisdom generated through this work to isolate trends, identify onerous clauses and update on the state of the contractual market for regular reporting purposes. They will offer guidance to FIS and its membership, through a series of advisory articles.  This work builds on our ongoing commitment to support the RICS Conflict Avoidance Process (more details in our Legal and Contractual Toolkit) .

Speaking of the new service, FIS Chief Executive Iain McIlwee said:

“This new service has been developed in response to the procurement research we did earlier in the year that identified that specialist contractors often find themselves under significant pressure to sign amended forms of contracts in the absence of any legal advice.   We have been monitoring this closely and continue to see unacceptable risk transfer through heavily amended standard form contracts.  If anything, this practice seems to be getting worse and it is increasingly hard to understand how unwieldy schedules of amendments are sneaking risk through.  This is being too readily accepted as normal behaviour, so much so that companies are at times not even reading the contacts.  We have to ensure that businesses and individuals understand and manage the risks that they are signing up to.

This new contract review service is designed to bring a bit of structure to how we respond, ensuring our members have access to the best possible advice in their negotiation of and management of contract and at least understand and can mitigate any risks that they are contracted to.  This forms part of our wider work in supporting the Conflict Avoidance Pledge.  Conflict management starts before the contract is signed and sometimes we need to be ready with an informed and responsible “no”.  Through this service we will be working with the reviewers to monitor contractual trends and ensure that we are responding effectively to them as a community.”

You can find out more about the Contract review service at the FIS Regional Meeting in Manchester on 28 November and via our dedicated webpage here

BPF Fair Payment Charter

BPF Fair Payment Charter

The British Property Federation (BPF) has, through its Construction Committee, developed voluntary guidelines that all BPF members are encouraged to adopt in their approach to payment.

A fair and transparent approach to payment is essential for ensuring a successful construction industry. The Charter sets out a number of important areas where construction clients are well placed to drive up standards, including mechanisms to cascade fair payment down the supply chain and approaches to demonstrate transparency of payment terms.

More information can be found here.