Spec Finish

News www.thefis.org 7 MarkKowal becomes new BCOPresident McLaughlin & Harvey begin construction on new £140m Etex plasterboard plant Mark Kowal, Partner at Sheppard Robson, is the new President of the British Council for Offices (BCO). Two months after the UK Government lifted Plan B restrictions and WFH guidance, Mark’s appointment comes at a crucial moment for the office industry. Under his Presidency, the BCO will demonstrate how the office is meeting the challenges of our era, from enabling hybrid working to adopting sustainable practices, to providing a unique environment that fosters conversation, collaboration and learning. Mark has more than 25 years of experience across all aspects of office design, including speculative and headquarters buildings, covering both new-build and refurbishment solutions. Within the BCO, he has held the role of Senior Vice President and has been part of the judging panel for the BCO National Awards. He succeeds Robin Brodie Cooper, Equity Partner and Director at Gleeds. Mark said: “As we look to the future, the entire sector has an important role to play in providing buildings and work environments that are better for workers and for our planet. “I am certain that the BCO will remain a guiding light, leading the sector through a period of great disruption and change.” www.bco.org.uk Etex has awarded the contract for the expansion of its £140 million Siniat plasterboard facility toMcLaughlin &Harvey. Construction work on the Bristol expansion project began on 31 March with a breaking ground ceremony where children from a local school buried a time capsule to mark the start of construction works. Due to open in 2023, the new facility is a significant investment by Etex and demonstrates the company’s commitment to supporting the future of British manufacturing, and eagerness to meet the demand for plasterboard within the UK. The facility will double Etex’s Bristol-based plasterboard production capacity, whilst also creating 50 new jobs and encouraging more young people to enter the manufacturing sector through the company’s Operator Apprenticeship Scheme. The state-of-the-art expansion will also have a core focus on sustainability, utilising a rainwater harvesting system, installation points for solar PV and electric car charging stations, with the end-ambition of a fully electric forklift fleet. FIS CEO, Iain McIllwee, said: “It was amazing to be here at the start of a new chapter for the drylining sector in the UK. Amidst a period typified by inflation and availability concerns, this is a moment of hope for the sector. An opportunity to talk about value and not price and focus on the amazing contribution that the plaster and plasterboard sector make to the UK construction industry and the vital role the material plays in forming the compartments that keep people safe and comfortable.” www.etexgroup.com Mark Kowal, President of BCO Breaking ground at the extension to Etex’s Bristol-based plasterboard facility Neil Miller has been chairing the FIS Ceilings and Absorbers Group since its formation and has seen the production of a number of guidance documents – it recently oversaw the development and production of the Specifiers Guide to Ceilings and Acoustic Absorbers. Neil felt it time to let someone elseChair the group and to takeon the challengeof helping the sector voicebeheard. FISTechnical Director, JoeCilia, said “We have achieved a huge amount for the sector andon behalf of thewhole group and theBoardwewould like to thankNeil for his support over thepast four years.” FIS will now start looking for a new Chair for this group, so if you would like to know more about what this position involves, please email FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee, at iainmcIlwee@thefis.org 4_SFMar21.indd 1 04/02/2021 09:14 7 y 2.i 11 4 2 12 20 FIS Ceilings and Absorbers group thanks its retiring Chair Neil Miller

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