The confusion is arising on some sites that operate a 100% Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) workforce, says BDA. It stems from changes to the CSCS carding system that state: “…card schemes carrying the CSCS logo must only certify those occupations with nationally recognised construction-related qualifications”.
However, BDA says that the wide range of services required on many construction projects means there are times when individuals may need to attend a site to perform a non-construction activity, such as catering, delivering materials, managerial tasks or security, as well as on-site soils testing. “These are not construction workers and the CSCS has therefore stopped issuing cards for over 60 non-construction related occupations,” it said. “This change to the scheme however is leading in some instances to people being wrongly refused access.”
BDA chair Anne Baxter said: “The BDA’s members are not questioning the important role the Construction Skills Certification Scheme performs in improving safety and standards on site. However there appears to be a basic misconception that personnel arriving on site to perform non-construction-related services should be in possession of a CSCS card. This clearly demonstrates a misunderstanding of the scheme and undermines the construction industry’s desire for a fully qualified (not carded) workforce.”
She added that BDA has reports from members of problems with principal contractors applying a strict 100% CSCS Card policy irrespective of the activity being undertaken. “Many site investigation companies undertake on-site soils testing,” she said. “Laboratory technicians who attend such sites do not undertake any construction work and yet they are having to obtain CSCS Cards not appropriate to their disciplines simply to gain access.”
The BDA is calling on CSCS to issue more guidance, aimed in particular at principal contractors, and put an end to the thinking that only CSCS-carded people can be allowed on site.