It is estimated that buildings may have 30-40 fit-outs during their lifecycle.  With non-domestic buildings producing around 18% of the UK’s Carbon Emmissions, there is an increasing need to interrogate how we can safeguard the environment for future generations and ensure the buildings we develop are healthy places to live work and play.

Sustainability and Health in the Finishes and Interiors Sector

An underlying objective of the FIS is to help deliver a sustainable and healthy built environment.  Our working groups retain a focus on how we can work as a supply chain to reduce waste and use materials and processes that help to create a healthy environment.  Below are some resources and information that support this activity.  This is not exhaustive and if you are interested in improving the sustainability of your business or working on projects where there is the opportunity to introduce or the need to comply with key environmental or health requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact the FIS team.

Plasterboard Sustainability Partnership

The Plasterboard Sustainability Partnership (PSP), which is made up of the broad range of stakeholders involved in the production, installation and disposal of plasterboard as well as the relevant government departments and regulatory agencies, was established in 2009 as an output of a DEFRA programme to develop a Plasterboard Roadmap identifying the environmental impacts of plasterboard throughout its lifecycle.  The Partnership is supported by the FIS Drylining Working Group.

More Information.

The Plasterboard Resource Efficiency Action Plan (REAP) sets targets for reducing waste across the sector.  There are currently no records across our sector for plasterboard waste. In order to understand the levels of plasterboard waste in the sector, the FIS Drywall Group has proposed members using a single method to record waste.

Download the document here

Plasterboard Company Waste Report

Plasterboard Site Waste Report

Technical note – The true cost of disposing of a skip full of plasterboard


Ceilings Sustainability Partnership

The Ceilings Sustainability Partnership (CSP), which is made up of manufacturers, distributors and installers of suspended ceilings, was established to ensure that the resources used to manufacture Mineral Wool Ceiling Tiles are not wasted or having a detrimental impact on the environment.

Ceiling Sustainability Partnership

CSP List of Recyclers

Mineral Wool Ceiling Tiles: A Resource Efficiency Action Plan

Fit-Out Environmental Good Practice – Ciria Guide

A Resource Efficiency Action Plan for mineral wool ceiling tiles

Flooring Sustainability Partnership

This work was initiated by the Construction Products Association and supported by FIS as part of their commitments within the Strategy for Sustainable Construction. More information on the action plan can be found here.

As part of this work a specialist website has been created with the support of funding from WRAP and BRE Trust. It acts as a useful resource for those who want to know more about flooring waste and how it can be managed.

It has information for 5 types of flooring: Broadloom carpet and underlayment, Carpet tiles, Resilient flooring, Hard flooring, Resin flooring

For assistance with the recycling of carpets – List-of-carpet-recyclers

For assistance with Raised Access Flooring – click here

SKA Rating System

Ska Rating was established in 2009 as the environmental assessment method, benchmark and standard for non-domestic fit-outs.  It helps designers, contractors, landlords and tenants assess fit out projects against a set of sustainability good practice criteria, known as good practice measures (GPM).   FIS sits on the board and supports the development of this standard.   

Although there were established tools for assessing the environmental impact of whole buildings (eg BREEAM in the UK, LEED in the US), industry feedback that the certification of fit out, especially on existing buildings, indicated that attempts to use whole building systems were unsatisfactory both in terms of high costs and low relevance.  Ska Rating has been developed with designers, contractors, corporate occupiers, managing agents and consultants. It differs from other labelling systems in that it is:

  • Project driven: labels fit out projects irrespective of base building
  • A free online tool has been made available to help organisations achieve more sustainable fit outs (businesses only pay if they want formal
  • Flexible scoping: the tool measures only what is within the specific project’s scope.

How does it work?

SKA comprises more than a hundred ‘good practice’ measures covering energy and CO2 emissions, waste, water, materials, pollution, wellbeing and transport. An example of a good practice measure is that when wooden flooring is stripped out, it should be sent for re-use to a salvage yard instead of to landfill.

  • Key aspects of the rating system
  • Flexible scoping: match the rating to the scope of the fit-out 
  • Easy-to-use online tool
  • A label that is clear and easy to understand: Bronze, Silver and Gold, plus a percentage score 
  • A formal, quality assured scheme for those who require a certificate
  • Applicable to offices 
  • Applicable to retail

For more information on SKA visit the website here.



WELL Building Standard

FIS Members will often be involved in projects that adopt the WELL Standard.  WELL is a leading tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings globally.   Register your office, building or other space to leverage WELL’s flexible framework for improving health and human experience through design.


WELL Building Standard article in SpecFinish May 2017

WELL Case Studies

Fit-out specialist and FIS member QOB Interiors has delivered a ‘gold’ level performance in the fit-out for multi-disciplinary engineer Cundall at One Carter Lane, Europe’s first building to gain the WELL Building Standard (WELL) – you can read more about the project here

Cundall London demonstrated a positive ROI outcome from WELL within three months merely by calculating their reductions in sick leave and attrition without any accounting for all the other benefits: Read the Case Study from a Cundall perspective here:  An Introduction to the WELL Building Standard – Cundall

Implementing a Sustainable Approach in your business

Whatever the reason, if you are interested in implementing a more sustainable approach in your business or on a particular project, the FIS is here to help.  Some basic advice is available below, but don’t hesitate to contact our team to talk through your options.

Environmental Policies – How They Can Help Your Business and How to Write One

Sustainable Building Training Guide