Telling the truth about SME life today

What Is A CSCS Card And Who Is Required To Have One?

What Is A CSCS Card

A CSCS (construction skills certification scheme) card is a mandatory requirement for anyone working on a construction site in the UK. It offers proof that the person has the relevant training, qualifications and understanding of health and safety procedures to be in that role in the construction industry.

There are different colours CSCS cards to indicate different levels of competence. Labourers for example have a green card and highly skilled and experienced workers have a black card.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the CSCS card, from the different types of cards available to when you need to apply for a card.

What Are CSCS Cards Used For?

Working on a construction site is a task that requires specific qualifications and skills. It is also imperative for you to hold up-to-date training related to health and safety. Imagine carrying your certificates around the site as evidence. It will be so impractical that you will need to replace all these papers with a CSCS card, which is easily carried around proving that you have the right qualifications.

Holding the necessary qualifications and doing the required training have a positive impact on the work environment in the construction field. It promotes health and safety within the site, and ensures maintaining quality standards in the industry.

Types Of CSCS Card

There are different types of CSCS cards to reflect different classes of the worker on the construction site. The card you will require depends on your job role, your qualifications and the level of experience you have in the industry. Here are the different types of CSCS cards that are available for you.

Green CSCS Card

Entry level labourers at a construction site will hold the green CSCS card. Plumbers, carpenters, and bricklayers can hold this colour of the CSCS card. It demonstrates that the holder has a clear idea of how the site works, including the health and safety procedures involved with working on a construction site.

A green CSCS card is provided for the worker after passing the CITB test, Safety and Environment touch screen test. The card is valid for 5 years.

Red CSCS Card

Construction workers who are undergoing training are eligible for the red CSCS card, such as those who are still serving their apprenticeship or are following any other trainee scheme. Let’s say you are working towards a NVQ qualification while working on a construction site. In this case, you will be provided with the red CSCS card to demonstrate your status.

Your knowledge of the health and safety procedures on a construction site is essential so taking the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test is a prerequisite for the red CSCS card to be awarded.

Blue CSCS Card

The blue CSCS card is given to skilled workers on the construction site. Before workers are awarded the blue CSCS card, they have to pass the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test, in addition to holding a level 2 qualification, such as an NVQ or a completed apprenticeship.

Gold CSCS Card

Highly skilled workers on the construction site are given the gold CSCS card. In addition to having an advanced NVQ or SVQ qualification, the candidate for the gold CSCS card should hold a level 3 or 4 supervisory qualification, proving experience in supervising other workers.

White CSCS Card

The White CSCS card is provided in two forms. The Professionally Qualified Person receives a white CSCS card or PQP card which is assigned to workers who visit the construction site for work, such as structural engineers, surveyors, or architects. These job roles are not based on the construction site.

The Academically Qualified Person or PQP card is a worker who holds a higher level qualification in a certain field. Degree holders, such as electrical and civil engineers and those who have a NEBOSH diploma or HNC are candidates for this type of white CSCS card.

Black CSCS Card

The Black CSCS card is the highest level. Only those who hold an advanced level qualification in the field of construction and managerial experience can hold the black CSCS card. Those who hold degrees in technical fields or construction management, and have a minimum of level 4 can acquire this type of card.

Before getting your black CSCS card, you are supposed to pass the CITB Managers and Professionals HS&E test. Having the black CSCS card means you are a leader on the site, therefore you should have higher qualifications and a deeper knowledge of health and safety regulations and procedures on the site.

What Qualification Do I Need For A CSCS Card?

Working on a construction site makes holding a valid CSCS card necessary. But what are the qualifications you need to hold if you want to gain a CSCS card?

The type of card you wish to apply for, and the job role in which you are working determine the necessary qualifications you will need to hold. Undertaking The CITB Health, Safety and Environment test is necessary for all types of cards. For other types of cards, additional requirements and qualifications and experience may be required.

For instance, if you aim to get a gold CSCS card you are supposed to hold specific advanced qualifications such as level 3 or 4 NVQ or SVQ. However, the green card requires no special qualification other than the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test. Therefore, even without holding any qualifications, you can still get one of the CSCS cards.

Can I Get A CSCS Card With No Qualifications?

The answer is yes. Labourers usually require no qualifications, and can obtain a green CSCS card easily after passing the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment test, which is the only prerequisite for starting to work on a construction site. It is necessary to demonstrate your understanding of the basics of work as well as health and safety requirements before accessing a site.

Can I Get On Site Without A CSCS Card?

What if you need to access a construction site as a worker? Will you be able to enter the site without a CSCS card? Is it necessary to apply for a card beforehand?

It is not mandatory to possess a CSCS card to access a construction site. Therefore, the CSCS card is not a legal requirement for working in the construction industry. However, the policies of the companies including most of the main house builders state that workers who have access to the site must have a CSCS card as proof of qualifications possessed and training received. Owning the CSCS card ensures working safely on the site.

To be on the safe side, contact the site manager beforehand. The company’s policy will determine whether you need a CSCS card to access the site.

How Long Does It Take For A CSCS Card To Be Approved?

If you want to get a CSCS card, you need to apply for one. The application process includes passing the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test in order to be eligible for application. After application, there comes the waiting time until you get your card.

The CSCS card is usually received 10 days after submitting an application, as stated on the CSCS website but if 4 weeks have passed and you still have not received your CSCS card, you should contact CSCS to enquire about the status of your application. It is recommended to contact CSCS as early as possible, since the application is closed after 90 days, and that means you need to pay again for a replacement card.

How Much Does A CSCS Card Cost?

The cost does not only include the card application. The application fee to the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test which is a prerequisite for gaining a CSCS card is £22. Added to it is the application fee for a CSCS card which is £36. Therefore, the total cost of the test and the CSCS card application is £58.

Fastest Way To Get A CSCS Card

To ensure your application process is started right away, applying over the phone is the fastest way. You call CSCS on 0344 994 4777 and submit your application, so that you might get your card dispatched the next working day. This is applicable only if you have passed the CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test. Otherwise, applying for a CSCS card will surely be delayed. Applying by post is also possible, but this process surely takes longer than a telephone application depending on postage times.

What CSCS Card Do I Need To Get On Site?

Accessing a construction site will be defined by the job role you are performing on the site. The qualifications, training and experience you possess will determine the colour of the card you should hold for being on the site. If you are a labourer such as a bricklayer or carpenter, a green CSCS card is provided for you. However, if you are undertaking an apprenticeship or any other form of training, the red CSCS card is the one offered to facilitate your entry to the site.

It is always a good idea to refer to site managers for guidance, for they are able to answer your inquiries about the right card to obtain. They can also help you with the requirements to access the site and start working.

How Long Does A Labourer CSCS Card Last?

Most CSCS cards with different colours are valid for five years and can be renewed. The green, blue, gold, black and white CSCS cards all have five-year validity and are renewable. Only the red CSCS card is not renewed since it indicates undertaking apprenticeship and training, and its validity ends with the end of the training. After completing the training, you can apply for another card depending on your qualifications.

In Summary

A CSCS card is an essential credential for anyone employed on a construction site in the UK. The card verifies the owners qualifications and training whilst promoting a safe and efficient working environment. The aim of the CSCS card system is to make sure that workers have the right skills for the job so they can be done safely. Overall, this helps to maintain a high standard of care and safety in the construction industry to minimise risks.

A quick and easy application process will end with having the right card 10 days after submitting an application. For more information, contact your construction site manager, or by calling CSCS directly on 0344 994 4777.



Related Stories

More From

Most Read


If you enjoyed this article,
why not join our newsletter?

We promise only quality content, tailored to suit what our readers like to see!