CSCS ‘Construction Skills Certification Scheme’ is the leading skills certification scheme for people working within the UK construction industry, and a CSCS card provides proof that you’re qualified and sufficiently trained for the type of work you’re carrying out.
Just like how your driving license confirms your age, your CSCS confirms your qualifications. The scheme keeps a database of people working in the construction sector who have achieved or are committed to achieving their relevant qualifications, which can easily be checked against by site managers.
The History of the CSCS Card
The CSCS Card is, today, a ubiquitous part of the experience of working on a construction site, but it wasn’t always that way.
Going back to the early 1990s and here in the UK, the accident levels within the construction sector were quite startling, as were the levels of fatalities. In terms of health and safety, the construction sector was amongst the very worst in Great Britain and was widely perceived as being a dangerous place to work.
In turn, this was dissuading the next generation of construction workers and managers from joining the industry. Put simply, it wasn’t acceptable.
The government, alongside the Health and Safety executive, looked to the gas industry where the CORGI system of accreditation had been establishing competence for years, with excellent results. The issue for the construction sector was that, unlike the gas sector, construction is an extremely broad church (which even includes church building!), and with so many trades, the accreditation system had to make sense for everyone.
And so, the CSCS Card was born.
Is a CSCS Card a Legal Requirement?
Despite the popular usage of CSCS cards, there is no legal requirement to own one in order to work in the construction sector. At present, CSCS cards are optional.
However, you will find that most principal contractors and major house builders will require you to hold a CSCS card before you’re allowed on site. Increasingly, construction firms both large and small are rallying behind the card.
What Do I Need to Apply for My Card?
The majority of CSCS cards require a construction related qualification, as well as a Health Safety & Environment Test, passed within the last 2 years. You can find out the type of test you need to take and further information here.
How Do I Get a CSCS Card?
Applying for your card is easy and starts with you checking which card is right for you by using the online CSCS Card Finder. Card Finder will also tell you which type of CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test you need to take. These tests cost £22 to complete.
Once you’ve obtained the right qualifications and completed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test (within the last 2 years), you can call CSCS on 0344 994 4777 to apply for your card.
You may need to email CSCS copies of your qualifications. Details of how to do this will be provided over the phone.
How Much Does a CSCS Card Cost?
The current fee is £36 which you can pay over the phone using a credit/debit card. It’s important to keep your CSCS card safe, as you will have to pay to replace it.
If you need to replace a lost, stolen or broken card you can do so through the CSCS online application service.
What Types of CSCS Card are There?
When it comes to CSCS card, there’s a card for every level and every profession. Here’s the current range of cards they offer:
- Experiences Technical, Supervisor or Manager
- Experienced Worker
- Industry Placement
- Skilled Worker
- Advanced Craft
- Academically Qualified Person
- Professionally Qualified Person
- Provisional (temporary card)
- *Construction Site Visitor
- *Trainee (craft and operative)
- *Trainee (technical, supervisory and management)
- *Construction Site Operate (CSO)
- *Construction Related Occupation (CRO)
*These cards have since been withdrawn, but remain valid until the expiry date.