FIS, the representative body for the £10 billion finishes and interiors sector in the UK, has joined other leading construction groups in signing the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Conflict Avoidance Pledge, which commits businesses to working proactively to avoid conflict, promote the value of collaborative working and work with industry to use conflict avoidance measures.
With the financial cost of disputes in the construction sector measured in billions of pounds, conflict can cause immeasurable harm to business relationships and brand reputations. The RICS Conflict Avoidance Pledge is about creating and maintaining good business relationships, dealing with problems early and amicably, and working collaboratively to ensure projects are delivered on time, on budget and without the need to waste huge amounts of money on legal disputes.
Commenting on the signing, FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee stated: “Signing the pledge underpins our commitment to creating a better environment for our supply chain.
“The construction industry spends around 1.6 per cent of its total expenditure in the UK on legal services, which compares unfavourably to the UK economy’s median spend of 0.8 per cent. This is because we have created an adversarial environment built on win-lose contract negotiations. We have made the contract more important than the project – we have even started calling ourselves contractors rather than constructors! We need to consign this 20th Century thinking to the past as it stands in the way of progress and undermines attempts to drive up quality and reduce waste. The RICS Avoidance Pledge and corresponding Conflict Avoidance Process (CAP) are part of an industry wide commitment to change this, and we are eager to support and encourage others in and around our community to do the same.”
Martin Burns, Head of Dispute Resolution Services (DRS), Research & Development at the RICS stated: “It is great that we have leading trade bodies like FIS supporting the pledge and actively encouraging their members to sign and adhere to the terms laid out. The culture in construction needs to change, but change will openly happen when enough people take that first step to being better and believe that others can and will change too.”
As part of the signing, FIS is encouraging all members to sign the Conflict Avoidance Pledge and is working with industry-wide groups to ensure that the core principles are embedded in future editions of standard construction contracts.
To mark signing the pledge, FIS is hosting a webinar (Midday, 25th March) aimed at helping members avoid disputes and embrace the RICS Conflict Avoidance Process.
Individual businesses can sign the RICS Conflict Avoidance Pledge here.