What is a CSCS card?

CSCS cards (and CSR cards in Northern Ireland) provide proof that people working on construction sites have the appropriate training and qualifications for the job, including having passed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test.

What is Industry Accreditation?

Industry Accreditation is one way in which people working in construction might have obtained a CSCS card. These cards would have been issued because your employer recommended you for one, and not because you were able to prove you had completed a recognised qualification.

What’s changing?

If you have a card issued through Industry Accreditation it will expire on 31 December 2024, and you will not be able to automatically renew it. The cards affected are the:

  • Black Manager card
  • Blue Skilled Worker card
  • Gold Supervisor card
  • Gold Advanced Craft card.

Why is this change happening now?

Over the past decade, attitudes have been changing in construction, and there is a growing expectation that people working in the industry should be able to prove they are competent. This started with the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations in 2015, followed by the Building Safety Act in response to the Grenfell Tower fire.  

At the FMB, we champion high standards in construction and recognise that these help to build trust in our industry. We know that quality is important to our members, and that the FMB badge of quality is the reason many builders want to join.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has backed the changes to CSCS cards. The FMB is a member of the CLC and while we don’t disagree with the principle of the change, we do recognise that for some members, the transition may not be easy. That is why we are working to find ways to ease the transition.

Do I need to hold a CSCS card?

You don’t need to have a CSCS card to work in construction. However, if you are working on a larger site, it’s likely that your principal contractor will require you to have one. So, while we know some FMB members will be working for larger clients in this way, and therefore be more familiar with the CSCS system and requirements, for many FMB members it’s unlikely that you will be asked to produce a CSCS card in order to work.

Many cardholders will also find that they no longer require a card. If you have moved into a management role, become a company director, or rarely visit or work on site, it’s likely that you will not need a card, so you don’t need to worry about renewal.

We are aware of the special case in Northern Ireland where holding a CSR card is more common. Although not mandatory, CSR cards are very much sought after as an accreditation for public procurement and commercial contracts work in Northern Ireland.

I’ll still need a CSCS card after December 2024, so what do I need to do?

There are four ways you can move away from Industry Accreditation:

  1. You’ve already got the relevant vocational qualifications: Cardholders who have achieved the relevant qualifications for their trade or occupation can renew their card in the normal way. Make sure to do this before the end of 2024.
  2. You’ve got a construction-related academic qualification: Cardholders who have construction-related degrees, HNDs, HNCs, CIOB Certificates and NEBOSH diplomas can get the Academically Qualified Person card.
  3. You are part of a Chartered or occupational body: Cardholders who are members of professional bodies such as the CIOB are eligible for the Professionally Qualified Person card. The FMB is not one of these bodies.
  4. You no longer require a card: Card holders who have changed roles (eg become a manager, or moved off site) do not require a card.

None of these options apply to me, but I still want to keep my card. What can I do?

You will need to register for the appropriate qualification for you job. This will be either an NVQ or and SVQ. This will be an assessment, not a training course. It’s a one off, life-long qualification that won’t need to be repeated the next time you renew your CSCS card.

Do I need to go back to college?

Mostly likely, no. We know that any FMB member going through this process is going to be highly experienced, and the assessment has been designed so you can do it at your workplace. There are a few ways you will be able to demonstrate your competence:

  • A professional discussion (with an assessor)
  • Questions to test evidence of your knowledge
  • Reflective accounts of your experience carrying out your work
  • Witness testimonials (confirming you’ve done various things at work)
  • Product evidence (evidence of your work)
  • Observations (by an assessor).

How long with the NVQ/SVQ qualification take me?

This will depend on your level of experience and the type of card you are applying for. It could take as little as 14 weeks, but more likely between six and 12 months from registering to receiving your certificate.

Do I need to take time off work?

No. NVQs and SVQs are completed in the workplace. You will need some time with your assessor, planning your assessment and feeding back evidence of your work.

Can I get funding to help me or my workers get the qualifications I’ll need?

Grants of between £1,250 and £1,500 are available from the CITB to support with any training you might need to do to get a new CSCS card. Your business will need to be registered with CITB to apply for one.

If you are self-employed, but have been working with a contractor long-term, you should be able to get support to train via your contractor.

What’s the deadline?

CSCS cards issued through Industry Accreditation will expire on 31 December 2024.

I didn’t get my CSCS card through Industry Accreditation. What do I need to do?

Nothing. If you have got a CSCS card through the normal route you will already have provided evidence of your qualifications and that you have completed the relevant health and safety training. You card will need to be renewed every five years.

More information

Follow the links below to flowcharts that summarise what you need to do to update any of the following CSCS cards if you gained them through Industry Accreditation, and not the current best practice route of proving your qualification and completed the health and safety test:

Got a question?

Speak to our policy team on 020 7025 2934 or send us an email.

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