In the construction industry, ‘first fix’ and ‘second fix’ joinery are related to the building of both houses and commercial buildings – but what do they mean?

Every project starts with a lot of organisation, applications and floor plans, but once the construction actually starts, you can think of the first fix and second fix as the two main stages of your building project.

First Fix

The first fix involves all of the structural, internal work – from its foundations to becoming ready for plastering. This stage starts with the shell or frame of the building and takes it up to the point of decorating.

This includes constructing walls, floors and ceilings, and inserting cables for electrical supply and pipes for water supply – all the initial framing work needed to get a building to the point of putting plaster on the internal walls.

Some examples include:

Plaster BoardingFire alarms
Door bells
Door frames
Pocket door frames
Sound insulation
Plaster boarding

The general rule for first fix applications is items that are not visible when the project is finished as this is the base for the second fix. Common tools that are used during first fix installations are nail guns, plasterboard lifters and screw guns.

Second Fix

Carrying on from first fix, second fix joinery includes all of the finishing work that happens after the plastering process where all the visible fittings and products will be installed.

Examples of work that is completed at this stage are:

Handrail InstallationInternal doors
Skirting and mouldings
Wall linings – acoustic or decorative
Stair handrails
Bespoke and fitted furniture

As well as electrical fixtures being connected to the cables, and plumbing work such as sinks and baths are connected to pipes.

Second fix joinery work is what everyone looks at and therefore requires a different skillset, with an eye for detail and the patience to deliver a high quality finish. This is an exciting time when all the finishing details come together, however it’s important to not rush the second fix as completing these stages effectively is key to successfully project managing a build.

It’s important to know the difference between these two stages as it’s likely that individual contractors, including plumbers and electricians, will need to come back to finish different jobs during each fix.

If you’re in need of any bespoke joinery, acoustic panelling, or specialist doorset services in the commercial, leisure, healthcare, education and fit-out sectors – don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.