Construction activity holds steady

Construction activity holds steady

The latest information from Builders’ Conference shows that 451 contracts worth £6.1 billion were awarded in February. Whilst the number of contracts increased again, the value dipped slightly, although it was consistent with the monthly average over the last year (£6.2 billion). 78% of all the contracts awarded by value were in the private sector. Overall, there were 152 housing projects worth £2.4 billion (39%), the largest of which was a £320 million project to build over 1,200 homes in Watford; 64 office projects totalling £684 million (11%); and 56 education projects worth £524 million (9%).

The number of tender opportunities was 9% lower than the previous month and 49% below the monthly average for the past year.

Market Data

FIS has access to a wide range of market data from sources including the CPA and Barbour ABI. In addition, FIS produces a state of trade survey specifically for the finishes and interiors sector.

Timber from Russia and Belarus considered ‘conflict timber’

Timber from Russia and Belarus considered ‘conflict timber’

All timber originating from Russia and Belarus is ‘conflict timber’ and therefore cannot be used in PEFC-certified products, the Board of PEFC International clarified today.

PEFC is extremely concerned about the Russian government’s attack on Ukraine. The military invasion is in direct opposition to our core values. This aggression causes unspeakable and unacceptable pain and death to innocent people, including women and children. It also has an immediate and long-term destructive impact on the environment, on forests, and on the many people that depend on forests for their livelihoods.

The clarification that timber from Russia and Belarus is conflict timber follows an extraordinary meeting by the PEFC International Board to discuss Mr Putin’s military aggression against Ukraine and its implications for PEFC and PEFC-certified forest owners and companies.

The categorisation of timber from Russia and Belarus as conflict timber follows the adoption of the Resolution on Aggression against Ukraine by the United Nations General Assembly, which “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine […] [and] the involvement of Belarus”.

The PEFC International Board continues to monitor the situation and will consider additional measures as necessary.

PEFC has created a set of FAQs which is available at

Technical note

The PEFC Chain of Custody standard considers ‘conflict timber’ as a ‘controversial source’ (PEFC ST 2002:2020 3.7), which cannot be used in PEFC certified product groups (PEFC ST 2002:2020 Appendix 1 6.1). ‘Conflict timber’ is defined as “Timber that has been traded at some point in the chain of custody by armed groups, be they rebel factions or regular soldiers, or by a civilian administration involved in armed conflict or its representatives, either to perpetuate conflict or take advantage of conflict situations for personal gain. (PEFC ST 2002:2020, 3.6)

The clarification that timber from Russia and Belarus is to be categorised as ‘conflict timber’ is based on the UN General Assembly Resolution A/ES-11/L.1 (2 March 2022) “Aggression against Ukraine” during the 11th Emergency Special Session, to safeguard the integrity of PEFC chain of custody certification. This clarification is initially valid for six months.

Cyber security – make sure you’re protected

Cyber security – make sure you’re protected

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the UK’s technical authority on cyber security, have issued guidance for organisations on the steps they need to take to bolster the UK’s resilience against the heightened risk of malicious cyber incidents in and around Ukraine. We know many organisations and businesses in the UK have well laid out plans and good cyber security measures in place. However, due to the nature of online global networks, attacks that occur overseas could have an impact on UK institutions, services and systems. This is why organisations and businesses are being urged to take action now.

While the NCSC is not aware of any current specific threats to UK organisations in relation to events in and around Ukraine, the guidance encourages organisations to follow actionable steps that reduce the risk of being impacted by cyber attacks, including:

  • patching systems;
  • improving access controls and enabling multi-factor authentication;
  • implementing an effective incident response plan;
  • checking that backups and restore mechanisms are working;
  • ensuring that online defences are working as expected, and;
  • keeping up to date with the latest threat and mitigation information.

For further information visit: where you will find the relevant advice, actions and resources.

FIS Business Risk Management Toolkit

The FIS Business Risk Management Tool has been updated to take account of the latest information and advice. The toolkit is a free resource available to FIS members. It provides a structured approach to understanding risk and reducing uncertainty.

Search on for CLC Co-chair as Andy Mitchell steps down

Search on for CLC Co-chair as Andy Mitchell steps down

Mitchell will step down as co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council in Spring 2022.

Andy Mitchell, who co-chairs the CLC alongside the Minister for Business and Industry Lee Rowley MP, was appointed in October 2018 and has since guided the sector through the considerable challenges of Covid-19 while establishing the CLC as a powerful and recognised driver of change for the sector.

With this increased presence, the CLC continues to deliver positive change with priorities in 2022 including Construct Zero, Building Safety, meeting the Skills Challenge, and implementing the Construction Playbook.

The CLC is now seeking nominations for Andy Mitchell’s successor, which will include working directly with Government, chairing a range of its industry-wide meetings, alongside acting as a spokesperson for the CLC.

Announcing his decision to step down Mr Mitchell said:

“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved together in the last 3 years, and it is clear that not only did we play a major role in leading the industry through the pandemic but in the process we have managed to get a unity and coherence in the industry not seen before – and we are now with credibility and confidence laying out plans for the industry’s development in the future. With a little over 18 months to go before we start commissioning on Tideway, it is right that I now dedicate my full focus to the project, but I wish the CLC the very best for the future.”

FIS Chief Executive Iain McIlwee said:

“I would like to extend, on behalf of all the FIS Community, our gratitude to Andy for the sterling work he has done and the time he has given, notably during the pandemic when we started to see the CLC in a whole new light.  Andy embodied good leadership, approachable, committed, open and dynamic and his contribution to helping our sector through one of its most challenging periods is a testament to this and will not be forgotten.”

CLC Co-chair Lee Rowley MPadded:

“On behalf of the CLC and the Government I want to express our thanks to Andy for the extraordinary commitment that he has provided to the CLC for the past three years. His leadership of the Council through one of the toughest challenges that the industry has faced has been exemplary and has set UK construction on a positive course for the future”

About the Construction Leadership Council (CLC)
The CLC’s mission is to provide sector leadership to the construction industry. The expanded CLC has twelve workstreams that operate collaboratively to address the biggest issues facing the sector. Workstreams include skills and inclusion, building safety, Net Zero and business models. The CLC is co-chaired by Lee Rowley MP, Minister for Business and Industry, and Andy Mitchell CBE, CEO of Thames Tideway.

The CLC was created in 2013 to work between industry and government to identify and deliver actions supporting UK construction in building greater efficiency, skills and growth. The CLC is Co-chaired by the Minister for Business and Industry (Lee Rowley MP) and an Industry representative (this role), who provides the overall leadership and co-ordination of the CLC. The Co-chair is appointed by the Industry and BEIS.

The primary function of the Co-Chair is to provide leadership and strategic direction to the Council, facilitate the operations and deliberations of the Council and lead the Council’s functions and responsibilities under its mandate. The role will require the candidate to have an excellent understanding of the industry and its challenges and be able to represent the industry as a whole from large to SME, design to aftercare, including specific issues such as Building Safety. They must be a champion for industry change and promote inclusion, diversity and improving the image of industry, as well as understand future trends and requirements to address industry change, i.e. sustainability, innovation, productivity and skills.

The job description is available here with details of the selection timetable. The selection process will be led by members of the CLC’s Steering Co-Ordination Group. Expressions of Interest should be emailed to

Deadline for applications: Thursday 31 March

Interviews: Mid/late April

Appointment: By end of April

Philip Brown steps up to Vice President at FIS

Philip Brown steps up to Vice President at FIS

FIS is pleased to announce that Philip Brown has been elected as Vice President of its executive board.

A member of the FIS board of directors for six years, Philip has more than 45 years’ experience in the construction industry. He started out as an electrical apprentice before going on to project manage numerous interior works, gaining in depth knowledge and experience within the industry before joining Meronden Ltd in 1997 as director.

“I am looking to build upon the good work that the board has achieved by actively encouraging the increase of new members whilst maintaining the high standards achieved within the membership,” said Philip. “I am also keen to increase the profile of the association within the industry, ensuring it is associated with quality, commitment and prestige.”

Philip continued: “I believe that as a specialist industry, by working in association with one another we are able to share information, ideas, trends and best practice which will enable each member to succeed in today’s challenging and ever-changing market.”

Commenting on the new appointment, FIS CEO Iain McIlwee said:

“Philip has already made a huge contribution whilst on the board and has been instrumental in the development of a number of key projects.  Add this to his exceptional track record across the finishes and interiors sector, and we have the ideal Vice President.  Philip will play a crucial role in taking FIS onto its next chapter of growth and success.”

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

How to adopt the Common Assessment Standard and eliminate the completion of multiple PQQs

How to adopt the Common Assessment Standard and eliminate the completion of multiple PQQs

On Wednesday, FIS hosted a webinar explaining the Common Assessment Standard (CAS), which was introduced in 2019 to address concerns of multiple Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQ), multiple subscriptions and duplication of effort.

CAS is now gaining traction, and there are clear benefits of adopting this standard.

On this webinar we were joined by Jo Fautley, Build UK Deputy Chief Executive who gave an introduction to the Common Assessment Standard and Neil Mant, Supply Chain and Procurement Director at Vinci Construction who has implemented the CAS and sees the efficiency this has throughout the supply chain.

You can access the recording via Listen Again Hub at