Many construction and trade companies now demand their workforces to be in possession of an appropriate CSCS card. This is because each card scheme serves to highlight a worker’s capability, experience, and on-site seniority level.
Without a CSCS card, it becomes automatically more difficult to verify an individual’s credentials. Indeed, CSCS card ownership is now an essential part of any trade person’s tool kit.
However, what happens if you’re card becomes lost, stolen, or damaged? What are the potential consequences? And how do you approach replacing your missing card? Below we will provide the different methods available to you when replacing your card, how much the replacement process costs, and when you can expect your replacement card to arrive.
If you’ve located this article because you need to replace your card, you’ll be fully aware of the role and function of CSCS cards. However, for those who are not yet part of the scheme, it’s worth offering an overview of what the CSCS is, and how it helps operating in the building and construction industry.
The CSCS, or Construction Skills Certification Scheme, is a trusted, industry-recognised body. As mentioned, their cards are used as confirmation that a worker is fully-qualified in their respective field or discipline.
There is a considerable amount of card schemes in operation, with some attached to a particular occupation or trade. For example, the CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme) is used by plant operators, and the Plumber Skilled Worker CSCS card is used to verify that a plumber has been suitably trained to carry out their duties.
The cards are distinguished by colour, with each shade identifying a different type of worker. For example, red CSCS cards (of which there are five variants) are for students and trainees. Alternatively, black cards are reserved for site managers and senior leadership personnel. For more information on the various cards available, please visit the ‘types of cards’ page on the official CSCS website. Each coloured CSCS card has an attached set of qualifying criteria.
Candidates need to fulfil these requirements prior to submitting their card application. This will usually entail earning a specific grade of qualification, and being able to evidence a certain level of experience. The difficulty of these requirements clearly differs from card to card. To use the examples referenced above, those applying for red card schemes have very basic entry requirements to address. Conversely, those targeting black cards will need to have undertaken a number of different qualifications, and accrued a wealth of experience in their field.
The CITB test
In all cases, this will also include passing an appropriate CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test. As the name suggests, this assessment is based on health & safety awareness, with its content specifically relating to compliance considerations on construction sites.
The CITB, or Construction Industry Training Board, is a highly reputable organisation. Its key objective is to drive quality standards across the building sector. It looks to do this through a number of progressive initiatives. One of these is to provide training materials and learning resources to construction companies and their employees. Another is to establish fair testing criteria, which serve to assess the skills and knowledge of trade workers. Therefore, in the act of passing a CITB-based assessment, individuals can easily demonstrate their grasp of a particular discipline to an industry employer.
There are three different versions of the CITB test available. These are the Operatives, Specialists, and Managers and Professionals exams. The test you take is dependent on the type of card you’re applying for.
Members of the general workforce will take the Operatives assessment, whilst supervisors and highly-technical workers will sit the Specialists exam (however, applicants need only sit the module most relevant to them i.e. supervisor card candidates only need to navigate the ‘Supervision’ section of the assessment). Management-level staff will undertake the Managers and Professionals test. This exam assesses candidates on all elements of the Operatives test, and each section of the specialist assessment. It also includes some specific questions on how managers may address specific health & safety considerations.
How to get a CSCS replacement card
It is not a legal requirement to hold a CSCS card in order to be able to gain access onto a construction site. However, your employer may make it compulsory for you to be in a possession of a suitable CSCS card, relevant to your occupation, at all times. This means that in the unfortunate event that your card has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you’ll need to quickly arrange a replacement. Therefore, it’s important that you’re comfortable with the process of renewing and replacing cards.
If you’re already in possession of a CSCS card, there’s a good chance you applied to receive your card online. This is because the CSCS’ online application service is widely recognised as the most efficient way to apply for your card. To use this service, you must register for a personal CSCS account. This is an extremely simple procedure, which can be done by following the instructions listed on the following CSCS webpage.
Your account acts as the central hub of all information relating to your CSCS membership. From here, you’ll be able to track the progress of any ‘live’ card applications, keep a record of any previous cards you’ve held, and check the expiry date of your current scheme. You’ll also be able to apply for, renew and replace your CSCS card through this service.
Please note that there is also a separate, ‘Employer’ account available. This is ideal for construction companies who are consistently making card applications on behalf of numerous employees. To submit these applications, business administrators need to download an ‘Employers Application Form’ and complete the document accordingly.
However, the CSCS does appreciate that some may prefer to speak directly to a person instead. Therefore, the organisation also operates a dedicated contact centre, with advisors positioned to help you with any card query. Again, you’ll be able to apply for, renew and replace your CSCS card via this channel. To contact the CSCS by phone, simply call 0344 994 4777, and follow the advisor’s instructions. Please note that the contact centre is open between the hours of 8.00am-6.00pm, Monday-Friday. Unfortunately, this site is closed on weekends.
If you’re phoning the CSCS on behalf of a friend or colleague, please note that they’ll need to be present when you make the call. This is because they’ll need to provide their consent for you to discuss matters relating to their card. Furthermore, they’ll also need to provide either their CSCS registration or national insurance number. The advisor will ask for this information, regardless of whether the call relates to applying, renewing, or replacing a card. These measures have been put in place for security purposes, and to protect the integrity of the application process. Please be aware that telephone applications usually take a little longer to process than online submissions.
How much does a CSCS Card cost to replace?
A CSCS card costs £36.00, regardless of whether the application is for an original, replacement, or renewal card. When it arrives, a replacement card will feature all of the same key information that your previous card displayed. This will include your qualification details on the reverse of the card, and the exact same expiry date on the front. Please be aware that the same fee applies to administering any CSCS card, irrelevant of colour or the occupation it relates to.
Your card will be dispatched to you, in the post, the next working day. On average, cards take between 3-10 days to arrive at your home address. However, there are certain circumstances which may result in you receiving your card beyond this timeframe. Nevertheless, if your card has not arrived within ten days, you should inform the CSCS. Please do this by calling them on the same telephone number provided earlier.
Hopefully, you now feel confident enough to know what to do if an instance arises where your CSCS card becomes lost, stolen, or damaged. Remember, CSCS cards hold an essential role in the construction industry. If you’re not in possession of your card, you could risk failing to gain entry to your place of work. This could result in a loss of income, frustration to your employer, or a project not being signed-off in time for the client. Therefore, it’s vital that you familiarise yourself with the replacement process mentioned above.
There is no ‘right or wrong’ method to replace your card. You may feel more comfortable talking to someone over the phone about a lost card, rather than trying to navigate your way through an online portal. Regardless of the option you select, replacing your card should be positioned as an extremely high priority.
If you require any further information about the Construction Skills Certification Scheme in general, we would recommend visiting the official CSCS website. Alternatively, you may like to speak to a course tutor or a trusted industry professional.