A variety of signs on a construction site fence.

Accreditations in construction, which ones do you need?

Accreditations in construction. Which ones do you need?

There are various types of accreditations in construction and knowing which ones your businesses needs to hold can confusing. There are various kinds of accreditation for those in construction, varying across different aspects of the business such as, health & safety, environmental, quality management etc. 

It is not uncommon for accreditations to be a requirement that is asked for during the tendering process, whilst others may not be required but can be a huge benefit to your businesses reputation. 

In this article we will go through the most common types of accreditation for those in the construction industry, where they are required and what kind of businesses would benefit from having them. 

SSIP

SSIP (Safety Scheme in Procurement) is a standard for health & Safety recognised throughout the UK. It is commonly requested by those within the house building industry but can be used for any sector to show health & safety compliance. 

SSIP is completed online and will not require any on site auditing in order for you to pass. Depending on the member scheme you choose the number of questions may vary but for all schemes you will need to meet the core criteria

If you are required to hold an SSIP certificate, SMAS Worksafe can help you to become accredited. For more information visit our packages page

CSCS

CSCS cards provide proof that individuals working on construction sites have the appropriate training and qualifications for the job they do on site. By ensuring the workforce are appropriately qualified the card plays its part in improving standards and safety on UK construction sites.

Holding a CSCS card is not a legislative requirement. It is entirely up to the principal contractor or client whether workers are required to hold a card before they are allowed on site. However, most principal contractors and major house builders require construction workers on their sites to hold a valid card.

CPCS

CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme) is a card scheme that was devised to prove the skills of plant operators. It’s based on a combination of professional competence and health and safety awareness – both essential qualities for plant operators.

All Build UK sites will require you to show your CPCS card and it is being enforced by most employers to show their skills. In some cases an employer might not ask for a CPCS card and certification may be enough to prove your skills. 

ECS

The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) is the sole ID and competence card scheme for electrotechnical operatives in the UK and is recognised and endorsed by the industry.

Holding an ECS card proves your qualification status, main electrical occupation, identity, your health and safety awareness, as well as any additional disciplines in which you are skilled to work.

ECS is a partner of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), so anyone in an electrotechnical-related occupation who’s told ‘you need a CSCS card’ will likely need to provide a ECS card.  

SSSTS

Site Supervision Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) is a course is designed for workers who are set to take on supervisory responsibility at an organisation and need official training and qualifications for the role. 

The course will help individuals to understand: 

  1. health and safety law and how it applies to supervisors
  2. your supervisory responsibilities in controlling site safely
  3. risk assessments and the need for method statements
  4. effective site inductions, toolbox talks and method statement briefings
  5. monitoring site activities effectively
  6. timely intervention when bad practice is identified.

Once passed, the certificate will last for 5 years and you will then need to take a refresher course (SSSTS-R) to maintain certification. If your initial certificate expires you will be required to retake the full course.

SMSTS

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is an industry recognised course providing companies who need to meet the ever increasing demand for evidence of health and safety compliance with all the relevant knowledge to meet today’s legislative demands.

The course will give you a full understanding of: 

  1. how to implement all health, safety, welfare and environmental legislation affecting your daily work
  2. how to set up new guidance and industry best practice
  3. your duties and responsibilities with regards to health, safety, welfare and the environment

Once passed, the certificate will last for 5 years and you will then need to take a refresher course (SMSTS-R) to maintain certification. If your initial certificate expires you will be required to retake the full course.  

ISO 14001

ISO 14001 helps businesses of all sizes across all sectors make their day to day operations more sustainable. Sustainability can ultimately save money, improve brand reputation, engage employees and build resilience against uncertainty as well as the ability to rapidly adapt to change. 

Designed for any type of organisation, regardless of its activity or sector, it can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.

An ISO is not a require but is recommended for any business that wants to set up, improve and  then maintain an environmental management system to conform with industry regulations and requirements. 

If you are interested or require help with an ISO 140001, you can go to our sister company QMS who will help you meet the criteria and guide you through the process. 

ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is the internationally recognised Quality Management System (QMS) standard that can benefit any size organisation. Designed to be a powerful business improvement tool. 

This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. 

While no company needs an ISO, they may see the benefits of having one when tendering for work. 

If you are interested or require help with an ISO 9001, you can go to our sister company QMS who will help you meet the criteria and guide you through the process. 

Lots of aspects from ISO 9001 can be transferred into ISO 14001. Combining the management systems can increase focus and remove any room for confusion. 

Responsibilities for the combined standards might include:

  1. Drafting a policy statement and quantifiable objectives
  2. Setting up organisational charts and job descriptions
  3. Providing adequate resources
  4. Managing documentation for both standards in a single document control system
  5. Appointing a management representative as well as coordinators for the quality and environmental managements systems

When adding ISO 14001 components to those of ISO 9001, planning must be expanded to deal with environmental impacts, and the inspection and test systems modified to cover environmental conformance. The organisation must meet the environmental expectations of customers and the government, and it must incorporate environmental management elements into internal audit programs and training sessions.

CAS

The Common Assessment Standard is an accreditation designed to standardise the pre-qualification process, helping both clients and contractors improve supply chain efficiency, reduce supply chain risks, and find reliable business opportunities.

Launched by Build UK with the support of CECA in 2019, the Common Assessment Standard has fast become the construction industry’s gold standard for pre-qualification.

The standard is available for all businesses sizes and helps contractors to display compliance across wider criteria such as environmental, financial standings and modern slavery. 

PAS 91

PAS 91 is a standardised pre-qualification questionnaire which has been developed to reduce the need for suppliers to complete a variety of different pre-qualification questionnaires for different, and in some cases, the same clients.

Developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI), the question set has been commissioned by Government and is a recommended common minimum standard for construction procurement.

PAS 91 was originally introduced as mandatory for central government contractors but is now recommended for all principal contractors. 

Asbestos Awareness

Asbestos awareness training should be taken out by anyone that may come into contact with asbestos during the course of any work that they undertake, not just for those who will remove asbestos.

For those that may come into contract with asbestos, this would only need to be asbestos awareness training as opposed to the more detailed training for those that carry out unlicensed or licensed work on asbestos.

If you’re looking for asbestos training visit our partners UKATA. They are a leading asbestos training authority with training centre all over the UK.