While the CSCS Card is by far the most widely used, widely applicable and recognised card in the British C&D industries, there are plenty of other cards issued by trade appropriate bodies like the ECS (Electrotechnical Certification Scheme). In general these cards are now affiliated with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.
The health, safety & environment tests run by ConstructionSkills are used by CSCS to qualify skilled workers in the electrical, HVAC, plumbing and hazardous waste removal industries for the relevant CSCS Smart Card.
Each non CSCS Card is issued by the industry body that has traditionally overseen health, safety and competence in that area – but all are now linked in some way to the achievement of the CSCS Card.
The ECS Card and its Issuing Body.
The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme is the industry “equivalent” of CSCS. Any electrician or electrotechnical worker looking to gain access to a construction site needs an ECS Card, which is the electrotechnical equivalent of the CSCS Smart Card. When an electrotechnical worker is told that he or she needs to get a CSCS Card before he or she can work onsite, he or she is really being told that he or she needs to apply for and gain an ECS Card.
In the same way that the standard CSCS Cards perform the dual function of identifying a holder and telling a site supervisor what he or she is qualified to do, the ECS issue lets site managers know what an electrotechnical worker is qualified to do. It’s also evidence that he or she has passed the ECS test.
The JIB-PMES Card and its Issuers
You’ll see the acronym JIB appearing on a few cards affiliated to CSCS. JIB stands for Joint Industry Board and denotes that the issuing body responsible for the card in question is recognised by other industry competence measures, including CSCS. The JIB-PMES Card and the JIB-PMES Health, Safety & Environment Test are requirements for all workers in the plumbing and mechanical engineering services trades.
Achievement of a card from JIB-PMES is equivalent to gaining a CSCS Card for your trade – just as the ECS Card “is” the CSCS qualification for electrotechnical workers, so the JIB-PMES Card is the CSCS qualification for all plumbers and related trades people. Holding one will get you access to most UK building sites and will be seen as proof that you have CSCS approved health and safety knowledge as well as your industry qualifications.
The ESS Card and the HVAC Industry
Plumbing and mechanical engineering is covered by PMES; electrotechnical work is looked after by the ECS Card. An ESS Card, which is also affiliated to the CSCS Card Scheme, is the same thing but for the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industries.
Possession of an ESS Card is proof that you have the required skills to work in HVAC: and that you have completed an industry specific health and safety course in the machinery, processes and materials that HVAC uses.