It will be the responsibility of all contractors to ensure that their workforce is properly qualified.
The move is in response to lobbying from the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) and the aim is to improve safety and competence on site.
Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland’s public sector spends more than £2bn per annum on construction related contracts. We are happy to implement the Scottish Building Federation’s proposal to introduce this policy.
“Adopting schemes like CSCS can make a significant difference to efficient working and health and safety on construction sites. This is particularly important given the significant challenges the construction industry faces in the current economic climate. I would urge other parts of the public sector to adopt the same policy.”
SBF chief executive Michael Levack said: “I’m delighted to see the Scottish government putting its weight behind formal accreditation of skills amongst construction workers.
“This is an important step in a continued drive to ensure everyone working in the Scottish construction industry is properly qualified and accredited. We welcome all efforts the Scottish government can make to support firms with getting their workforce signed up to recognised schemes.”
The move was also welcomed by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme, whose chief executive Graham Wren said: “By recognising CSCS as the pre-eminent card scheme for the Scottish construction industry they have taken another step forward in ensuring workers hold the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their work competently and safely.”
Civil Engineering Contractors Association Scotland Alan Watt chief executive also liked the idea, saying: “CECA has strongly supported the principle of a fully carded workforce for many years and has set itself improvement targets through annual audits. At present well over 80% of the CECA workforce across Scotland hold CSCS or equivalent cards and these cards are now required on most major civil engineering sites across Scotland. This has delivered huge benefits in terms of promoting skills and a basic level of health and safety knowledge.
“We are therefore right behind the Scottish government’s decision to make CSCS or equivalent cards mandatory on public sector construction projects.”