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What is a CSCS Card and how does BIID membership help you get one

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A CSCS card proves that those working on construction sites have the training and qualifications for the work they undertake – and membership of the BIID is proof of qualification

The construction skills certification scheme (CSCS) is the leading skills certification scheme in the UK construction industry. A CSCS card shows the individuals on a construction site have the right training and qualifications for their jobs, assisting in improving both standards and safety on site.

Why hold a CSCS card?

You don’t have to hold a card by law but the principal contractor or client can require one before allowing you on site and, according to the CSCS, most principal contractors along with the major housebuilders demand it, so it’s well worth it for interior designers to hold a card.

There are actually a number of CSCS cards to reflect the different occupations and qualifications in construction, and BIID Registered Interior Designers can hold the professionally qualified person (PQP) CSCS card. Because the BIID is a CSCS-approved professional body, members can apply for CSCS cards using their membership as proof of a qualification. This is the only interior designer route that is recognised for the CSCS PQP card.

Preparing for application

To apply for the PQP card, you will also need to have passed a relevant health and safety test.  The CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) offers managers and professionals a health, safety and environment test that last two years. You can book a test via the CITB. The test covers six core areas: legal and management; health and welfare; general safety; high risk activities; environment; and specialist activities.  To prepare for the test, the CITB recommends taking a relevant training course, and working through the sample questions in its revision materials.

An alternative to the CITB test is the new e-learning health and safety certification that’s been recently launched by the Construction Industry Council (CIC). The course is designed for industry professionals who visit sites in their role, but who aren’t site based, and it’s recognised by the CSCS as a route to applying for a PQP card. It provides three year certification and has been produced specifically for professionals in the built environment. The course features six modules including legal requirements on site, your safety onsite, your health and welfare on site, risk management issues, design risk management and protecting the environment.

How to apply for a CSCS card

The best way to apply for a CSCS card is via the CSCS site. When you apply, you’ll need to provide proof of your current membership of the BIID, and you can find details of what you need to supply on the PQP card page of the CSCS site. You’ll also need to give the test ID number from the pass certificate of the CITB health, safety and environment test you took or the CIC course details.

Once you hold your CSCS card, it is valid for five years. After this time, you will need to apply for a new PQP card rather than renew an existing one, and to show the appropriate documentation to support your application once again.

Costs of application

CSCS cards all cost £36.  The CITB health, safety and environment tests cost £22.50. If you take the new CIC e-learning course, it is priced at between £29.99 and £39.99 per person, dependent on the number of licences purchased. BIID Members will recieve a 15% discount on the course; details can be found in the members area.

Why BIID members should have a CSCS card

Without one, you may count yourself out of projects where the principal contractor or client requires it. It shows you are aware of professional expectations when working on construction projects and allows clients and contractors to have confidence in you.  The BIID is the only interior design professional body that’s CSCS approved, with membership proof of qualification, but only BIID Registered Interior Designers can apply for the PQP card. Associate members can however apply for the trainee card.