FIS awards industries best!

FIS awards industries best!

FIS today announced the winners of its 2021 Contractors Awards to members and guests who packed out the Nine Kings Suite at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

The long-awaited ceremony celebrated the fantastic projects completed by FIS members in nine categories.

Guest architect Darren Ross-Dreher of architectural practice Gensler, announced the winner of the 2021 Project of the Year, which he selected from the Gold award winning projects. 

Find out who won here

See the winners across all nine categories.

Independent FIS Award Judges, Tony Pieri and Clive Perry said: “The quality of all the entries we have seen has been excellent, making our task of selecting overall winners in the various categories very difficult. The differences in quality are minimal – decimal points separate those who have and have not won an award.

“To all entrants, we would like to say thank you for making this year’s awards so difficult – but so enjoyable. Our industry is producing truly excellent work and you should all be proud of your achievements.”

The FIS Contractors Awards are held annually to encourage and promote high levels of craftsmanship and design.  Not only does the FIS member who installed the contract win an award, but so does the architect or interior designer of a Gold award-winning project.

Are you one of next year's Award winners?

Only one way to find out!

Entries for the 2022 Awards are open until 12 November 2021.
We’re looking for projects completed between 1 April 2020 and 31 October 2021 – our judges look forward to visiting the spectacular projects that our members complete, and meet the teams that make it happen!

Entering couldn’t be simpler – complete this form and leave the rest to us.

Not a member, but interested in entering? Contact us today to discuss membership on 0121 707 0077 or email

Prompt payment threshold to be increased for suppliers

Prompt payment threshold to be increased for suppliers

The Cabinet Office has published an updated Procurement Policy Note (PPN) confirming that the prompt payment threshold is going to be increased for suppliers bidding for Government contracts above £5 million per annum.

From 1 April 2022, suppliers will be required to show that they pay 90% of invoices within 60 days and have an action plan in place to achieve the required standard of 95% in future, otherwise they risk being prevented from bidding. Currently a company can still pass if they pay 85% of invoices within 60 days and submit an action plan, and the Cabinet Office is continuing to take a phased approach with the threshold being “ratcheted up over time until it reaches 95%”.

On average, Build UK Contractor members now pay 94% of their invoices within 60 days, and the payment performance table shows the percentage of invoices paid within 60 days for more than 100 of the industry’s largest companies.

Construction pipeline summary

Construction pipeline summary

Build UK has published an executive summary of the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline 2021/22 to help the industry understand recent Government announcements on the delivery of £31 billion of economic and social infrastructure procurements in this financial year.

With the Government aiming to build confidence in the industry to invest in innovation and develop capability, the summary provides a breakdown of the 418 public sector projects by sector, together with when they are anticipated to be awarded. It also includes an overview of planned and projected spend of up to £650 billion over the next 10 years to 2030/31.

The Autumn Budget and the critical role of skills

The Autumn Budget and the critical role of skills

Chancellor, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, spoke about the absolute critical role of skills throughout his Budget speech on Wednesday afternoon.  He stated: “Strengthening the skills of our people, the country’s greatest asset.  That’s a real plan for growth.  Higher skills lead to higher regional productivity and higher productivity leads to higher wages.  With 80% of the UK’s 2030 workforce already in work, our future success depends not just on the schooling we give our children but the lifelong learning we offer to adults.  We’ve already done a lot.  Our Plan for Jobs invested in apprenticeships, traineeships, and the Kickstart scheme.  But we need to go further.  Today’s Budget invests in the most wide-ranging skills agenda this country has seen in decades.  We’re increasing skills spending, over the Parliament by £3.8bn – an increase of 42%.  We’re expanding T Levels, Building Institutes of Technology, Rolling out the Prime Minister’s lifetime skills guarantee, upgrading our FE college estate, quadrupling the number of places on our Skills Bootcamps and significantly increasing funding for apprenticeships.”

On Departmental spending, Sunak declared: “Today’s Budget increases total Departmental spending over this Parliament by £150bn.  That’s the largest increase this century, with spending growing by 3.8% a year in real terms.  As a result of this Spending Review, and contrary to speculation…there will be a real terms rise in overall spending for every single Department.”

The Treasury subsequently published its Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021.  This reveals that:  To boost wages and prospects for all, total spending on skills will increase over the Parliament; by £3.8 billion by 2024-25.  This funding will quadruple the number of places on Skills Bootcamps, expand the Lifetime Skills Guarantee on free Level 3 qualifications, and improve numeracy skills through a new Multiply programme.  There will be extra classroom hours for up to 100,000 T Level students.

Spending Review 2021 also confirms funding to open 20 Institutes of Technology and investment for improvements to the condition of post 16 estates; including more specialist equipment and facilities for T Levels. This will be funded through a £2.8 billion capital investment in skills.  Apprenticeship’s funding will increase to £2.7 billion by 2024-25 – the first increase since 2019-20.  The document cites the delivery of “apprenticeship system improvements for all employers”. These include:

  • an enhanced recruitment service by May 2022 for SMEs helping them hire new apprentices.
  • supporting flexible apprenticeship training models to ensure that apprenticeship training continues to meet the needs of employers.

By April 2022, the Government will consider changes to the provider payment profiles aimed at giving employers more choice over how the apprenticeship training is delivered and explore the streamlining of existing additional employer support payments so that they go directly to employers.  Introducing a return on investment tool in October 2022 to ensure employers can see the benefits apprentices create in their business.  Extending the 3k apprentice hiring incentive for employers until 31 January 2022.

Investing approximately £10 million a year over the Spending Review in the Sector Based Work Academy Programme.  Funding for the Help to Grow schemes will help SMEs improve their productivity through world-class management, skills training, and support for digital adoption.

Sunak also announced funding to extend the Kickstart scheme to March 2022.  The KickStart Gateway support programme will close in December 2021.

George Swann Skills and Training Lead said,

“This budget speech clearly indicates the governments drive to encourage investment in home grown talent when it’s known the sector needs competent workers now.  The first qualified Interior Systems Installer apprentices will trickle through at the end of this year, but it will not be enough to fill the current vacancies as the apprenticeship training is an 18 month programme.  Although individuals will be able to fast track if they complete a T-Level or Traineeship prior to finding employment.  To have an impact the government are relying on employers taking on new entrants.  It’s still a complicated system, but FIS can provide information, advise and guidance on all things skills, training, qualifications and funding”.

If you need help or just want to talk something through please call George on 07552 874838, Catherine on 07900 083325 or Marie on 07799 903103.

CPA responds to Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021

CPA responds to Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021

There have been mixed reviews to yesterday’s Autumn budget and spending review, with Construction News referring to it as ‘something of a soggy souffle’. Responding Jeff May, Director of Government Relations and Business Development at the Construction Products Association (CPA) said:

“We think it is understandable that the focus of the Chancellor’s Budget today was on encouraging economic growth, fiscal discipline and resisting demands from the private sector for further expenditure, and rising inflation in all its forms triggering a vulnerability to interest rate rises. 

“We were disappointed to see little help for major industrial users with energy costs, or any further financial details on net zero strategies.  That said, we welcome a handful of relevant items in particular:  the announcements of a 12-month relief on businesses rate hikes arising from premises investment, the cancellation of the planned increase to the business rates multiplier, and the extension of the uplift to the Annual Investment Allowance will go some way to supporting manufacturers while we seek to exit the pandemic in the short-term.

“Given the pre-Budget announcements around various net zero and related sustainability strategies, along with the release in September of the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, the major elements of spending for our sector appear set.  The key then, as always, will be delivery.  If industry and government can work together and address the supply side risks in particular – labour and skills shortages, energy prices, logistics bottlenecks, for example – then the economic stimulus from our sector in support of this Budget will be considerable.”

FIS members can read the full CPA response here.

Government announces free adult training courses to begin

Government announces free adult training courses to begin

Thousands of working adults will be offered free courses to rapidly upskill in STEM sectors including engineering, digital and construction.

65 short and modular courses will start to roll out from later this month at 10 Institutes of Technology (IoTs) across England in sought-after STEM subjects. This will include courses such as Digitisation of Manufacturing and Digital Construction.

The courses will be a blend of classroom and remote online study, and will vary in length from 50 to 138 hours – giving more adults greater flexibility in how and when they learn, so they can fit it around their lives.

The government’s network of Institutes of Technology – collaborations between leading employers, further education colleges and universities – specialise in delivering high-quality Higher Technical Education and training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering, providing employers with the skilled workforce they need.

A total of £6.4 million is being invested to support IoTs to offer the free courses, which will support up to 4,000 working adults to get on the path to a new, rewarding career and will plug local skills shortages.

Boosting the uptake and quality of Higher Technical Qualifications – that sit between A levels and degrees – and supporting adults to study more flexibly throughout their lives is a key part of the government’s landmark reforms to post-16 education and training.

A major review of higher technical education revealed these qualifications can unlock the skills employers need and lead to well paid jobs. However, it also shows that the quality of qualifications on offer at further and higher education providers can be variable and it can be hard for students and employers to find the ones that are right for them.

From September 2022, the government will start rolling out newly approved Higher Technical Qualifications, beginning with Digital, and followed by Construction and Health in 2023. A full suite of qualifications will be available by 2025.

Higher Technical Qualifications will provide a natural progression route for both young people taking T Levels or A levels, and adults looking to upskill or retrain – enabling them to take the next step up and gain higher technical skills in key subjects like STEM.