HR & Employment

How Long Does A CSCS Card Last For Those Working In Construction?

Luisa Ddakis | 6 December 2021 | 2 years ago

 

How long does a CSCS card lastIf you’re working in the construction industry, you’ll need to hold a valid CSCS card. Although this can feel like a hassle, the majority of construction sites will not allow you to enter the site without holding a card. But how long does a CSCS card last for and what do you need to do to reapply when your card expires?

In this article, we’ll explain exactly what a CSCS card is and who needs one, as well as exploring how long your CSCS card will last for once you’ve obtained it.

What is a CSCS card?

CSCS is an abbreviation of Construction Skills Certification Scheme, which is the official body for training when it comes to the construction industry. Holding a CSCS card is the best way to demonstrate that you have completed the appropriate training and qualifications that you need to work on a construction site.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a requirement to hold a CSCS card to be able to enter a construction site. Instead, it is down to the individual site to decide on the requirements for entry. However, the majority of constructions sites in the UK will require individuals to hold a valid CSCS card before they are allowed on site. This is to ensure that safety and standards are maintained on the site at all times.

But how long does this card last for, and how do you go about reapplying once you reach the expiry date of your CSCS card? Read on to find out.

Who needs a CSCS card?

Anyone that carries out work on a construction site should hold a valid CSCS card. This is because the CSCS card proves that you are qualified to work on the site and that you have taken the relevant health and safety training that is required to keep everyone safe.

Some contractors and clients may not need a CSCS card to enter the construction site. However, it is important that everyone that enters a construction site receives a full site induction, including the relevant health and safety information. They will also require suitable supervision at all times on the site, with risk assessments conducted where appropriate.

How do you apply for a CSCS card?

Before you can apply for a CSCS card, you need to find out exactly what type of CSCS card you require. You can view the different card types on the CSCS website – the handy card type finder tool will ask you for your occupation and level of training before telling you which type of card you should apply for. However, we’d always recommend checking with your site manager before proceeding with your application to ensure that you get it right and to avoid any potential mistakes being made.

You’ll then need to undertake a CITB Health, Safety and Environment test. Again, the type of test that you’ll be required to take will depend on the qualifications that you already hold as well as your trade. This test costs £22 to take.

After you’ve passed your CITB Health, Safety and Environment test, you’ll then be able to apply for your CSCS card. To do this, you’ll need to send copies of your certificates to the CITB, as well as paying an application fee of £36. Once your application is approved, your CSCS card will be posted to you.

How often do you need to renew a CSCS card

How often do you need to renew a CSCS card?

How often you’ll need to renew your CSCS card will depend on the type of card that you have. The majority of CSCS cards last for five years, but there are some cards that are valid for a shorter length of time. Let’s take a look at each of the colours of card and how long each of them lasts for.

CSCS green card

The green CSCS card is given to labourers on a construction site. This includes a wide range of tradespeople including bricklayers, carpenters and plumbers. If you have a green CSCS card, this demonstrates that you are an entry level construction worker with an understanding of how a construction site works and the health and safety procedures in place.

The green CSCS card is valid for five years. This means that you will not need to apply for a new CSCS card until five years after your existing card has been issued.

CSCS red card

The red CSCS card is awarded for a few different types of professional. These include:

  • Apprentice – If you are in the process of completing an apprenticeship in construction, you will be given a red CSCS card. This card will be valid for up to 4.5 years and cannot be renewed. After this card expires, you will need to apply for a green, blue or gold card depending on your skill level.
  • Trainee – If you are just starting out in the construction industry, you may be awarded a red CSCS card. This card demonstrates that you have taken the essential CITB test but are still in the process of completing your vocational or academic training. This card is valid for up to five years and cannot be renewed. After this card expires, you will need to apply for a green, blue or gold card depending on your skill level.
  • Technical, Supervisory or Management Trainee – If you have practical experience of working on a construction site and are working towards a construction-related qualification, you may be given a CSCS red card. This is a temporary card that is valid for up to three years. It cannot be renewed and should be upgraded to a blue or gold card once the qualification is complete.
  • Experienced Worker – If you have experience of working on a construction site and are currently undertaking an NVQ or SVQ qualification, you may be given a CSCS red card. This is a temporary card that is valid for up to one year and cannot be renewed. You can upgrade this card to a blue or gold card once your qualification is complete.

CSCS blue card

The blue CSCS card is given to skilled workers in the construction industry. To be eligible for a blue CSCS card, you must have completed one of the following qualifications:

  • Level 2 NVQ or SVQ in a construction-related field
  • NVQ level 2 equivalent NARIC report and certificate
  • An apprenticeship resulting in a City and Guilds of London Institute Craft Certificate being awarded
This card is valid for five years and can be renewed upon expiry.

CSCS gold card

The gold CSCS card is an advanced level card which is awarded to those who are highly skilled within their field. To be eligible for this card, you will need to hold an advanced NVQ or SVQ qualification.

There is also a Supervisory CSCS gold card which is awarded to those who have advanced skills in the construction industry but also have gained experience supervising other construction workers. To be eligible for this card, you will need to have achieved either a level 3 or level 4 NVQ or SVQ supervisory qualification.

The gold CSCS card is valid for five years and can be renewed upon its expiry.

CSCS white card

There are two types of white CSCS card: the Academically Qualified Person and the Professionally Qualified Person. An academically qualified person is an individual that holds a degree, a HNC or a NEBOSH diploma within the field of construction. Similarly, a professionally qualified person is an individual that works in a profession where visits to a construction site may be required, such as an architect or a surveyor.

The white CSCS card is valid for five years and can be renewed upon expiry.

CSCS black card

The black CSCS card is the highest level of card available. To earn this card, you must have experience of being a manager in the construction industry, as well as having an advanced level qualification in the construction field. This can be an NVQ or SVQ qualification of at least level 4 in a technical or construction management related subject.

To be eligible for the black CSCS card, you’ll also need to pass the CITB Managers and Professionals HS&E test. Once you are awarded your black CSCS card, it will be valid for five years and can be renewed upon expiry.

Which CSCS cards can’t be renewed

Which CSCS cards can’t be renewed?

Whilst most CSCS cards can be renewed upon their expiry, there is one type of CSCS card that cannot be renewed. The red CSCS card is designed as a temporary card, allowing access to construction sites for a limited period of time. This card is designed to be used whilst training is being completed.

When the red CSCS card expires, the individual should have completed their training and earned the relevant qualification to be able to apply for a green, blue or gold CSCS card.

How do you renew your CSCS card?

When your CSCS card reaches its expiry date, you will no longer be able to use it. For this reason, it’s always advisable to apply for your new card before your existing card expires. This will ensure that you aren’t left without a card and can continue to access construction sites to carry out your job role.

You can apply to renew your CSCS card up to six months before it expires. When your new card is issued, the expiry date will be calculated from the expiry date of your original card, adding on the remainder of its lifespan. So, you won’t lose any time by applying early.

The can apply to renew your CSCS card online through the CSCS website. You’ll need to prove that you have the required training and qualifications for the card you’re applying for, so make sure that you have your certificates handy.

You’ll also need to retake your CITB Health Safety and Environment test, which costs £22. This demonstrates that you understand the health and safety obligations of working on a construction site, helping to ensure the safety of both yourself and others around you.

Related questions

Can you buy a CSCS card?

If you work in the construction industry, you’re likely to need a CSCS card, so you may be wondering if you can simply buy a card online. The only way to legitimately obtain a CSCS card is through the CSCS website, where you will be required to prove that you hold the qualifications required to hold the card. In 2016, the CITB revoked 4,500 fraudulent cards that had been sold by training centres, so it’s important to ensure that your CSCS card is legitimate by only obtaining your card from the CSCS.

Are CSCS cards being phased out?

There are currently no plans to phase out CSCS cards. However, the CSCS ceased the issue of Site Visitor cards back in 2020, meaning that visitors to construction sites are no longer required to hold a CSCS card unless they are carrying out construction-related work on the site. This was done to ensure that only those working in construction-related roles held cards branded with the CSCS logo.

In summary

If you work in the construction industry, you’re likely to require a CSCS card. These cards prove that you possess the skills and qualifications required to carry out your job role, as well as having completed recent health and safety training.

However, it’s important to note that CSCS cards have an expiry date, and you’ll need to apply for a new card before your existing card expires. If you’re wondering how long a CSCS card lasts, the answer will depend on the type of card that you hold. Whilst the majority of CSCS cards last for five years, there are some exceptions to this rule that you need to be aware of.

Your CSCS card should clearly show the expiry date on the front of the card. You will need to ensure that you apply for your new card before this date so that you continue to be able to access your construction site for work purposes.

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