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Last edited 07 Jan 2021
Construction Skills Certification Scheme CSCS
The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) was established in 1995. It is a card certification scheme for construction. The cards certify that the holder has the appropriate training, experience and qualifications for their work (in particular in relation to health and safety).
Many contractors require that site workers hold a valid CSCS card. Checks are made before allowing workers entry to a construction site, and if they do not have the appropriate card for their work, they are not allowed access. Increasingly these checks are made by electronically reading smart cards. Cards can also be used for checking identity and recording on-site training.
There are eight different colours of card, covering 11 different types of occupation:
- Professionally qualified person.
- Academically qualified person.
White / grey (no longer available):
- Construction related occupation. This card does not require any qualifications, and following a decision by the Construction Leadership Council, has not been issued since March 2017, and all existing cards will expired at the end of September 2017.
- Visitor with no construction skills. These will expire on 31st August 2020 and CSCS will stop issuing the card from 28th February 2020. See below.
- Experienced technical supervisor or manager.
- Experienced worker.
- Advanced craft / supervisory.
In addition, there are a 10 other card schemes that are affiliated with or amalgamated into the CSCS scheme.
- Engineering construction workers.
- Demolition workers.
- Plant operators.
- Cards issued in Northern Ireland.
- Utility industry workers.
- Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration workers.
- Plumbers in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In 2014, the board of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme considered introducing a single 'smart' card, but these plans were dropped in 2015. Ref Construction Manager Magazine, 28 April 2015.
Suzannah Nichol MBE, Chief Executive of Build UK, said: “Health and safety is a priority for Build UK and we are delighted with the positive response from our members who have welcomed the latest standards, which aim to make life easier and help them meet the increasing demands of working on-site."
Administration and testing for the scheme is provided by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), however, in December 2017, CITB announced it was giving notice to withdraw from this role. CSCS have 3.5 years to find an alternative provider.
Graham Wren, CSCS chief executive said; “The three-and-a-half-year notice period provides an opportunity to identify new and smarter ways of working, such as online applications, that could benefit not just individual card holders, but their employers too. We would like to reassure card holders that the scheme will operate as normal while the process to identify a new service provision takes place."
 Withdrawal of the Construction Site Visitor card
On 13 June 2018, it was announced that CSCS was to withdraw the Construction Site Visitor card (the yellow card) as part of its move to ensure that all CSCS cardholders have a construction-related qualification. The card was originally introduced for workers who often did not perform a construction-related role but visited site on a regular basis, such as site cleaning and catering staff.
Construction Site Visitor cards issued from 3rd September 2018 will expire on 31st August 2020 and CSCS will stop issuing the card from 28th February 2020. Construction Site Visitor cards issued before 3rd September 2018 will remain valid until their expiry date.
Workers with Construction Site Visitor cards that have construction-related roles will have to obtain the appropriate skilled card. Some may already hold the necessary qualification or membership, but those who do not will have to obtain them before their card expires.
Graham Wren, Chief Executive at CSCS said; “Following the closure of the Construction Related Occupation card in 2017, the Site Visitor card is now the only card issued without the need for the applicant to achieve a recognised qualification. The Construction Site Visitor card does not support industry’s desire for a fully qualified workforce and as such it will be withdrawn. The withdrawal of the Site Visitor card will see an increase in the numbers of individuals turning up to site without a card. We are not suggesting site supervisors and managers turn non-cardholders away from site. If a worker is there to carry out a construction related activity then a card is required as proof of their training and qualifications. If they are there to perform a non-construction related activity it then becomes the responsibility of site supervisors and managers to induct and supervise these people to ensure they remain safe at all times when on site.”
 Withdrawal of Industry Accreditation
In March 2019, CSCS confirmed it would phase Industry Accreditation (sometimes known as Grandfather Rights) from 2020, abolishing it from 2024. The scheme allowed workers to obtain CSCS cards on the basis of industry knowledge and employer recommendation rather than by a recognised qualification. Ref https://www.cscs.uk.com/news/ia-withdrawal/
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Architects Registration Board.
- Build UK.
- Construction apprenticeships.
- Construction Industry Training Board.
- Health and safety.
- Royal Institute of British Architects.
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
- Safety helmet colours.
- Site inspector.
- Understanding mental health in the built environment.
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