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Last edited 27 Jan 2023
Construction Skills Certification Scheme cards
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. In 2015 the CLC recommendation, which was then updated in 2017 and 2020, set an expectation that all CSCS cards would be achieved via qualification by the end of 2024.
As such from the 1st Jan 2020 all Industry Accreditation (IA) cards will expire on 31st Dec 2024 and cannot be renewed. The process will be to replace the IA card with relevant qualifications, though CSCS have assured IA cardholders that they will not need to attend college as much of the assessment can be carried out remotely. These changes specifically effect blue, gold or black industry accreditation cards, those issued by CSCS, via industry accreditation. Transition to the appropriate card can be by recognising an existing qualification, assessing competence against a relevant qualification, undertaking additional training as required or for a minority more extensive training.
Historically there are 7 different colour cards (or 8 as there were two slightly differing grey cards) covering 11 different roles and level of experience, the guidance for changing cards where required differs for the different colour cards, as does the validity of the specific card types (as opposed to the colours) this information is outlined below.
The Green Card is the Labourer card specifically for people carrying out labouring duties, not work in a skilled occupation. Valid for five years, currently it is not possible to renew, labourers must apply for a new Labourer card.
 Red cards
 Blue cards
Blue cards are for craft or skilled workers with a construction related NVQ or SVQ level 2 or CSCS approved apprenticeship. For further information on transition for IA Blue Skilled Worker cards follow this link.
Gold cards are for Skilled Workers or Supervisory roles, with Construction Related NVQ or SVQ level 3, approved indentured apprenticeship (e.g.with NJCBI, BATJIC etc.) approved employer sponsored apprenticeship. Supervisory roles require construction Related Supervisory/Technical NVQ or SVQ Level 3 or 4 or occupational Work Supervision NVQ or SVQ Level 3 (including proof of endorsed occupation).
 Black cards
Black card are for managers and technical occupations with relevant Construction Management/Technical related NVQ/SVQ level 5, 6 or 7 or SVQ Level 4 in Construction Management/Technical related qualification or pre-existing NVQ level 4 in construction management. For further information on transition of IA Black Manager cards follow this link.
 Grey cards
Grey cards are for professionally or academically qualified persons and are not being replaced as they will no longer be needed. They were available to people who have completed certain construction related degrees, HNDs, HNCs, CIOB Certificates and NEBOSH diplomas or assessed members of CSCS approved Professional Bodies.
Grey cards for Construction Related Occupations (CRO) stopped being issued in April 2017. The card did not require any qualifications, following guidance from the CLC, it was recommended these cards were no longer issued, since March 2017, and all existing cards expired at the end of September 2017.
 Yellow cards
 Other card schemes
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.
 Verification app
 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/
 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.”
 Training Standard ad Safety Helmet Colours
In April 2016, Build UK published a Training Standard, specifying and promoting card schemes carrying the CSCS logo. This was published alongside a new standard Safety Helmet Colours. 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."
- Architects Registration Board.
- Build UK.
- Construction apprenticeships.
- Construction Industry Training Board.
- CSCS verification app.
- Health and safety.
- Industry placement CSCS card to help learners into construction.
- New route to CSCS cards for built environment professionals.
- Royal Institute of British Architects.
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
- Safety helmet colours.
- Site inspector.
- TESP calls for industry mentors.
- Understanding mental health in the built environment.
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