Mass SKILLcard rollout is boost for key professions

Monday, September 11, 2023 05:08 PM

Thousands of fire sprinkler, local exhaust ventilation (LEV) and commissioning professionals are now able to provide evidence of their technical competence and qualifications through new cards provided by Engineering Services SKILLcard.

SKILLcard, which is operated by the Building Engineering Services Association, has worked closely with the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), the Institute of LEV Engineers (ILEVE) and the Commissioning Specialists Association to provide updated qualifications that will also help operatives prove their safety credentials in the face of increased scrutiny of all building work.

The new cards are part of the wider pan-industry Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) alliance used to provide evidence of professional competence and health & safety qualifications across a whole range of built environment professions. All cards carrying the CSCS logo must now only certify occupations with nationally recognised construction related qualifications such as NVQs or approved equivalents.

The new fire sprinkler cards include blue skilled worker cards for commercial engineers for which the applicant must hold the new ‘Inspection and Commissioning of Commercial Fire Sprinkler Systems’ qualification; and Fire Sprinkler Design/Project Engineer (Domestic and Residential), which is a Black Manager card that can only be carried by someone who has completed the new ‘Domestic and Residential Fire Sprinkler Design SCQF’ qualification.

For LEV engineers, there are new blue skilled worker TExT Assessor and LEV Design Technician cards, for which the applicants must have P601 and P602 proficiency qualifications, together with relevant experience and obtain the ILEVE Licentiate card. An advanced gold craft card for LEV TExT assessors and commissioning engineers is another new addition for which the applicant must hold the BOHS CoC Control certificate and have obtained an ILEVE Associate card.

Commissioning specialists also have access to a whole raft of new cards including blue technician and engineer cards requiring CSA Grade 3 or Grade 4 qualifications; a CSA Senior Commissioning Engineer gold card for Grade 5 qualified advanced craft and supervisors; and black manager card for all Commissioning Manager grades.

Ruth Oliver, BAFSA skills and qualifications adviser said: “We have developed a comprehensive qualification route which allows fire sprinkler installers to demonstrate their competence via a formal qualification pathway. We offer a full course for individuals with less than four years’ experience.

“However, we have also recognised the value of time served professionals so now offer an experienced worker qualification for those with four years or more verifiable experience.”

ILEVE vice-chair Adrian Sims added that the new cards were an important development for a sector which plays a critical role in protecting the health of people working in environments subjected to high levels of indoor pollutants.

“By working together with other LEV industry stakeholders, including BESA and SKILLcard, we are pleased to combine knowledge, qualifications, experience and on-going CPD into one simple package so LEV professionals can demonstrate their independently assessed competence.

“It also reassures clients and makes their life easier to know that by using SKILLcard accredited professionals they are getting competent advice that will help them remain compliant with the law and protect their employees,” added Sims.

CSA technical manager Tony Anderson said: “We provide a full pathway of development for those starting out as trainees through to commissioning managers Grade 6. We also offer a tailored commissioning management grading structure in recognition of the varying levels of management experience and competencies.  

“Working in partnership with SKILLcard, we see these new colour coded cards as a decisive step towards recognising the competence of all our members.”

SKILLcard said it was delighted to be able to provide the new cards thanks to the positive collaboration between BESA and the other three industry bodies. Head of certification Duncan Sibbald added that it was important for professional accreditations to be continually reviewed and, if necessary, updated to keep pace with the fast-changing building safety environment.

“Clients are more concerned than ever to have third-party verified evidence of an individual’s competence and ability to comply with safety legislation. These new cards will provide them with peace of mind and thousands of skilled engineers with the proof of competence they need to carry out their vital life safety work,” he said.

Engineering Services SKILLcard has been operating for 22 years and now provides over 50,000 building services engineers with the evidence of competence they need to access sites.

The scheme plays a crucial role in the government’s 2025 Construction Industry Strategy by helping clients check whether workers have the right qualifications for the job in hand as well as suitable health and safety training.

SKILLcard also covers those with supervisory and managerial responsibilities in the building engineering services industry and is also widely used by self-employed and agency workers and those seeking employment in the sector. Since its launch in 2001, the application and renewal process has been regularly updated and improved so that it is now fully digital.

For more information about engineering services SKILLcards and how to apply go to:

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