5 construction certificates and their benefits

Updated 31 July 2023

A certificate demonstrates that a person has completed a course issued by a recognised institution. Construction certifications, which organisations accredited by the government typically issue, further show that a person is qualified to work in the construction industry. If you're seeking a job in the building industry, you may benefit from knowing about specialised certificates you can earn. In this article, we discuss several certifications available for people who want to work in the construction sector.

Read more: 11 common construction job titles (and what they mean)

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What are construction certificates?

Construction certificates prove your competency in construction work. As an aspiring construction employee, acquiring relevant certifications in this field can help you secure a job. It shows your employer that you're competent and able to work efficiently. Private companies that are construction experts could issue construction certificates. Trade organisations also supply them. These certificates entail certain prerequisites for applicants. The certification training is available online, while others require physical presence.

Following are five valid certifications in construction that you can earn:

1. Health and Safety Management for Construction

This certification is for civil engineering, construction and property management individuals. If you're looking to work in the construction industry, it's a certification you could gain. Having this qualification could be the first step towards a productive career. Holders of the Health and Safety Management for Construction certificate may become associate members of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM). Successful applicants are eligible to register for the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). The Health and Safety Management for Construction qualification can help you:

  • ensure you comply with construction (design and management) regulations

  • improve the company's healthcare and safety measures

  • reduce workplace hazards

  • show your dedication towards safety in the community

This certification is ideal for:

  • site technicians with health and safety duties

  • construction site managers

  • construction health and safety advisors

Related: How to become a health and safety inspector in 6 steps

Certification curriculum

This certification meets the legal requirements relating to construction safety, including the identification and control of workplace hazards. The endorsed syllabus of this program includes:

  • excavation

  • risk assessment

  • demolition

  • musculoskeletal health

  • biological and chemical agents

  • health and safety culture

Training objectives

At the end of this programme and upon full endorsement, participants can:

  • create safe working measures

  • expose and change unsafe approaches to work

  • identify, examine and regulate construction hazards

  • complete incident investigations

2. Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

A CSCS card shows that the holder has the right training and experience in the construction industry. It also demonstrates the person's qualifications related to health and safety. Many contractors now require construction personnel to own a valid CSCS card, and they check the card before the holder can access construction sites. These cards show an individual's identity and record their onsite training.

Following are the card colours and the occupations they represent:

  • Grey: professionally or academically qualified person

  • Red: trainee, experienced manager or technical supervisor

  • Green: construction site operative

  • Black: management

  • Blue: craft

  • Gold: advanced supervisor

Scheme of training

Construction regulations state that it's necessary for construction personnel doing safety-critical duties to complete this training scheme. Job requirements that may necessitate a person to possess this certification include:

  • tractor and crane operation

  • scaffolding (basic and advanced)

  • excavator operation (180 and 360 degrees)

  • roof felting

  • dumper operation

  • lighting and guarding roads

  • roof and wall cladding

  • slinging and signalling (suspending loads on equipment and notifying plant drivers)

  • mini-digger operation

  • investigating underground amenities

Related: FAQ: What is an architectural planner? (With similar jobs)

3. Aerial lift certification

Aerial lifts, also called 'man lifts', elevate their operators and extend and articulate boom platforms. The lifts may be a combination of vertical towers and aerial ladders and can use electrical or manual power. Aerial lifts act as substitutes for scaffolding and ladders, so operators mostly use them for flexible and temporary works. Engineers create aerial lifts with fibreglass-reinforced plastic or metal.

Construction personnel also know these machines as mobile elevating working platforms (MEWP). They help operators reach high working regions like rooftops. Many employers check for certifications relating to construction before employing candidates and allowing them to operate machines. Beyond the operators of these lifts, this certification is for:

  • Occupants: anyone who is to be on the elevated working platforms at the site

  • Supervisors: whoever supervises the duties of the lift operators

  • Maintenance crew: people in charge of repairing and maintaining the lifts

Related: What does a 360 excavator operator do? (Plus skills)

Types of aerial lifts

Operators use aerial lifts across trees, lines, metals and other objects. Aerial lift certification covers the following types of lifts:

  • Towable boom lifts: Builders use these portable lifts in yards and light industrial construction sites.

  • People lifts: Also known as 'personnel lifts', these substitutes for traditional ladders offer better stability and can reach a height of 50ft.

  • Scissor lifts: These machines can reach a height of 60ft. They provide access for wall painting, overhead tasks and window cleaning above ground level.

4. Prefabricated Access Suppliers' and Manufacturers' Association (PASMA) certificate of competence

PASMA is a recognised body for mobile access tower training and safety. The organisation advances the safety of mobile towers at construction sites and regulates the industry's training scheme. The PASMA Towers for Users course is practical training for people who arrange, move, inspect and dismantle mobile towers, including 3T (Through The Trapdoor) and AGR (Advanced Guard Rail) types. Managers also use PASMA certification. It gives them the skill and knowledge to care for their workforce.

Certification curriculum

In this training, participants learn:

  • hazard awareness

  • tower alternation

  • best fall protection practice

  • tower dismantling

  • rules guiding working at heights with mobile access towers

  • tower inspection

  • tower assemblage

Training objectives

Individuals who go through this training typically find it easy to:

  • understand safety regulations

  • assemble and inspect mobile tower scaffolds

  • safely use the towers

  • know the principles of working on elevated platforms

  • dismantle and alter mobile access towers efficiently and safely

Many modern building sites now use mobile scaffold access towers. The tower systems essentially have replaced ladders, as over 30% of height-related accidents occur because of ladder defects. Because construction personnel spend a lot of time on jobs, it's generally better to use the durable and comfortable mobile towers.

5. Project Management Professional (PMP)

If an individual is interested in construction project management, The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is good to pursue. This training helps individuals improve their skills in three major areas:

  • People: emphasising the soft skills used to lead a project team

  • Process: knowing the technical aspects of managing projects

  • Business environment: learning and showing the connection between projects and organisation strategies

This qualification shows that a person has the essential skills to lead teams and produce results. It's a valuable certification for construction managers. According to the Project Management Institute, holders of this qualification earn a 25% higher median salary than those without it.

Certification curriculum

The following are various aspects of project management learnt in this training:

  • management framework

  • risk and quality management

  • project scope and cost management

  • project framework in a business environment

  • resource management

  • communications management

  • schedule management

  • stakeholder management

Holding this certification shows employers that candidates can manage projects with little or no difficulty. It also proves that an individual has the necessary soft and technical skills to improve construction works on job sites.

Related: Project manager requirements (with duties and skills)

Elements of a construction management degree

Most construction management certifications include the following courses:

  • construction project and safety management

  • construction finance and scheduling

  • mechanical systems and their operations

  • construction cost estimation and control

Related: What are common construction management risks (and how to avoid them)

Benefits of having construction certifications

Certifications in the construction industry attest to an individual's credibility as a building professional. The following are the benefits of these qualifications:

  • They show your professionalism in the industry.

  • They create vast job opportunities.

  • They increase income possibilities.

  • They help you gain knowledge and skills.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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