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Architects brought in to construction-site safety scheme

The contentious Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is set to be extended into architecture in just under a month.

From November, architects will be encouraged to apply for the card, which proves that the holder has up-to-date health-and-safety training - and should therefore be allowed on to construction sites.

Architects who have not signed up to the scheme, which carries an annual £25 charge, will not be allowed on to CSCS-affiliated sites.

Some architects are certain to baulk at the annual charge, which will be seen as yet another cost of being in practice.

In official jargon, the CSCS card 'shows that the holder is considered to be competent at his or her job, lists any relevant certificates and also shows that the holder has undergone health-and-safety awareness training'.

Not all contractors are yet affiliated to the initiative, but the number is increasing. Up until now, architects have been given visitor passes when they visit sites where the CSCS card is compulsory.

As of next month, architects will be able to sign up to the new Professionally Qualified Persons category for the card - other professions allowed to apply will include surveyors, engineers and architectural technologists.

Too qualify for the card, applicants will have to prove their knowledge of health and safety on site, while architects will have to pass a module called 'design for health and safety'.

The RIBA has long wanted to bring architects in to the CSCS fold and deputy director of practice Brendon O'Connor described the forthcoming announcement as 'the breakthrough we've been after'.

by Ed Dorrell

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