If you have leadership responsibilities or particular expertise on a building site, you may be eligible for a gold CSCS Supervisor card. Gold CSCS cards are used by construction workers operating in a supervisory role or with an advanced level of specialist skill.
CSCS cards provide employers with formal verification you have the necessary skills and knowledge to work safely on a UK building site. The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) was set up by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in 1995 to take action on the high levels of accidents on construction sites.
The CITB operate in partnership with the UK government so although CSCS cards are not yet a statutory requirement, they are standard practice throughout the UK construction industry. Arriving on-site without one could see you refused entry or unable to start a new job.
To get a gold CSCS card, you will need to have certain qualifications, pass a CSCS test and complete an application with the CSCS. From what’s in the test to how to book and the cost of your card, here’s all you need to know about applying for a gold CSCS card.
What is a gold CSCS card?
The gold CSCS card is a recognition of advanced skills. You need one to work as a supervisor on-site or have an NVQ/ SVQ Level 3 or 4 in a specialist construction-related subject. CSCS gold cards last for 5 years and must be renewed before they expire.
If your card has expired, you’ll be pleased to know there is a 6-month grace period. If your card application is completed within that time period, you can still renew.
You can only apply for a gold CSCS card if you’ve already achieved the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical training to work as a site supervisor. The fixed qualifications for a CSCS gold Supervisor card are:
- an NVQ/ SVQ Level 3 for Occupational Work Supervision or a construction-related subject at a supervisory or technical level
- an NVQ/ SVQ Level 4 for a construction-related subject at a supervisory or technical level.
If you don’t meet any of these requirements, you may find a blue CSCS card more suitable.
If you think your training exceeds those already outlined, you may want to consider applying for a black CSCS card which is for managers or specialists with qualifications at Level 4, 5 or above. You will need to take the CITB Managers and Professionals Test to apply for a black CSCS card.
If your qualifications are of an academic nature, such as a degree or HND, you should apply for a white CSCS card.
Both first-time applications and renewals for any CSCS card require completion of a CITB Health, Safety and Environment test plus a CSCS card application form, either online or over the phone. You will also need to pay for your new card.
How much does a gold CSCS card cost?
The cost for a gold CSCS card is the same whether you’re renewing or applying for the first time. You will need to pay £36 for your gold CSCS card. The payment will be requested as you complete your application. If the renewal date was less than 6 months ago, you can still renew but you will have to pay £36.
What about the CSCS test?
The CSCS test for a gold card costs £22.50. Again, if you are renewing up to 6 months after the renewal date, you will end up paying a higher fee of £21. Remember too, you only have 6 months to renew once the expiry date has gone. When the 6-month grace period has finished, your card can no longer be renewed.
That means the total cost to get your gold CSCS Supervisor card is £58.50. Renewal within the 6-month grace period increases the fee to £57.
If you already have a SOLAS card or training in health and safety from your apprenticeship, you may not need to do the CITB test. Call the CSCS to check on 0344 994 4777, Monday to Friday.
What’s in the CSCS test for a gold card?
To get your gold CSCS card you will need to take a CITB Health, Safety and Environment test. You may even choose to take two CITB tests to demonstrate your additional qualifications and skills.
There are two tests available for gold CSCS cardholders: the Operatives Test and the higher-level Specialist Tests. The Operatives Test is a general test for all, whilst the Specialist Tests are for those with particular skills in a specific area of construction.
You can take a Specialist Test in any of the following:
- specialist work at a height
- lifts and escalators
- heating and plumbing (HVACR)
- pipefitting and welding (HVACR)
- ductwork (HVACR)
- refrigeration and air conditioning (HVACR)
- services and facilities maintenance (HVACE)
What’s in the Operatives Test?
The Operatives Test involves 50 different types of questions about: general safety, health and welfare, the environment, high-risk activities and legal and management. You will need to complete the test within 45 minutes.
Your application for a CSCS gold card is dependent on you passing the test so you’ll be pleased to know you can use our practice tests to prepare as often as you wish beforehand.
You may be interested to know, before you sit your test a photo is taken as ID. That photo is also used by the CSCS on your CSCS card so make sure you’re ready when the camera clicks as you’ll be seeing that photo for the next 5 years!
What do I need to do to apply for a gold CSCS card?
- Use the CSCS card finder tool on the CSCS website or via the CSCS helpline to check which card will be right for you.
You need to know which card you are applying for before you take the test and be clear you will qualify for the card so it’s worth using the online card finder or calling the CSCS helpline on 0344 994 4777 (Mon – Fri). The card finder tool will let you enter your job type and training then tell you which CSCS card you qualify for.
- Once you know which CITB test you need to take, book it, take it and keep the certificate somewhere safe.
You can sit your test up to 2 years before your card expires. As you need to pass your CITB test to apply for your gold card, it’s helpful to take the test early in case you don’t pass and need to take it again.
- Before you apply for your card or renew, you will need to have proof of your: training qualifications (e.g. scanned certificates), CITB test certificate and a credit or debit card to hand.
If the CSCS already confirmed you did not have to take the CITB test because you have a SOLAS card or already completed transferable health and safety training on your apprenticeship course, you’ll also need to have a passport-style photo-ready for use on your new card.
- You can complete your gold card application over the phone or online on the CSCS website.
The CSCS recommend you complete your application online because it’s quicker but you may well want to do it over the phone. If you do, you could upload the required supporting documents to your CSCS account before you call to make things quicker.
For phone applications call the CSCS on 0344 994 4777 (Mon – Fri). To apply online, log in to your account on the CSCS website. If you don’t have one, you can open an account before applying.
- Your new gold card will arrive in 3-5 working days. If you haven’t received it after 10 working days, give the CSCS a call.
- Download the My CSCS app if you need to use your new gold Supervisor CSCS card straightaway. The app will enable you to show your employer a virtual version of your CSCS card so you can continue working whilst your card is in transit.
What about renewal?
To renew your gold CSCS card, follow the same steps – take your CITB test then apply online or over the phone. You may choose to change your card for one at a higher level – providing you meet the necessary qualification criteria.