Fake Certification Cards in the Construction Industry

Fake Certification Cards in the Construction Industry

15th June 2015

According to a recent survey there’s a problem here in the UK construction industry with fake certification cards in use throughout the country.  The survey was conducted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) as part of a drive to encourage construction companies to make the most of the technology available in order to combat the rash of fake cards.  The problems with fake cards was brought into the spotlight recently when the National Crime Agency prosecuted an organised gang that were dealing a range of construction industry certificate cards.

Anybody working on a construction site in the UK must have the relevant qualifications for the type of work they carry out – this offers employers the confidence that the workers are qualified to work on the site.  However, according to the survey (which looked at 1.180 construction workers across the UK) more than 80% of the workers said that they hold the skills certification card, with the CSCS card being the most widely used by 92% of those canvassed.

However, even with the certification card scheme in place only 14% of respondents say that their credentials are checked every time they go on site, 1% said that they are checked at the beginning of each week and 14% claim that their cards are never checked at all.  This all adds up to a fairly disturbing situation in the construction industry in the UK.  Furthermore, only half of those surveyed said that the cards were checked to ensure that they held the correct card for the work being undertaken and that they have the relevant qualifications for the job they are doing. 

We’re living in the Digital Age and it’s now possible for these cards to be checked online, but only 17% of construction workers have their cards checked online and only 6% undergo checks using smart technology.  It seems that the usual  method of checking the cards is visual with a paper based method of recording the checks.

On those whose responsibility it is to carry out the card checks, 18% have seen fake cards being used over the past 12 months.  1% of these have seen fake cards on a daily basis, 1% say it’s at least once a week and 3% claim to see the fake cards on a monthly basis. 

CITB and CSCS are determined to put an end to the use of fake certification cards within the construction industry and are sharing information and intelligence with the authorities when evidence suggests that fake cards are being used.  Braden Connolly, CITB’s Head of Product Management claims that the only way to tackle this problem is for the construction industry to adopt new technology which makes it easier to identify workers who are using the fake certification cards.  A CSCS SmartCard is a simple and cost effective way of foiling the fraudsters as the card would be placed in a reader or a compatible smartphone or tablet so that the validity can be checked on the spot.