CSCS cards not necessary for principal designers, says CIC

CSCS cards
Principal designers do not need CSCS cards to demonstrate competence (Image: Arne9001 via

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) says designers and principal designers do not require a Certification Scheme for Construction Skills (CSCS) card to demonstrate competence.

CIC issued the clarification after the body said “there has been some confusion” on how designers and principal designers can present evidence of competence.

“CSCS cards are awarded based on competence in construction-related tasks and do not provide evidence of competence to act as a designer or principal designer,” CIC said in a statement.

The Building Regulations (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023 introduced requirements for principal designers on construction projects to demonstrate their competence to plan, manage and monitor works.

These regulations apply to anyone engaged in any controlled building work as defined in Regulation 3 of the Building Regulations 2010 and they must be competent to undertake any work for which they are appointed.

However, CIC clarified that the regulations do not require having a CSCS card for this purpose. Instead, it said that proving evidence would be expected to include relevant qualifications, registration with a professional body, completion of a suitable health and safety test, or evidence of experience relevant to the project.

‘A long-awaited correction’

CIC also “explicitly stated” that designers and principal designers do not need a CSCS card to access a construction site.

“Confusion arises, in part, due to some main contractors deviating from the CLC recommendations and insisting that anyone entering their sites must hold a CSCS card,” CIC added.

Paul Bussey, chair of CIC’s health and safety committee, said: “This
clarification by CIC is a long-awaited correction to the designer and principal competence requirements that have prevailed under the CDM Regulations since 2007 and even earlier.

“For site access, membership of recognised professional designer organisations, including adequate evidence of health and safety knowledge, is all that should ever be required.”

Story for PSJ? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News