Diploma in Construction Site Supervision

The Diploma in Construction Site Supervision is an NVQ Level 3 for supervisors and assistant site managers. The qualification is a work based course designed to access your competence. There are no entry requirements but you must already be working as a supervisor or assistant site manager in the construction industry.


Although generally known as the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Supervision there 6 pathways, or sector specific qualifications, tailored to suit different construction occupations. These are:

  • Building and Civil Engineering
  • Residential Development
  • Highways and Maintenance Repair
  • Residential Development
  • Conservation
  • Demolition
  • Tunnelling

Course Units

The course is run over a period of 9 months and you’ll need to take part in 7 one day modules which include some classroom or  workshop based tuition and some on-site assessment.

There are 7 units to the course which include:

  • Introduction and Health and Safety
  • Leadership and management
  • Communication and customer care
  • Environmental and sustainability
  • Planning, programming and logistics
  • Resource management
  • Assessment workshop

To successfully achieve each unit you’ll be expected to provide evidence to show you have met the required standard. This may be in the form of direct observation by an assessor, written or verbal tests, assignments or projects, or witness testimony, say from your employer or line manager.

Upon completion of the course, (there are no grades of achievement as such, just a pass) you’ll be issued a certificate and you will then be able to apply for the Gold CSCS Supervisor’s Card


Simon – I am already working as a part time supervisor for a local building business. I work for the company full time but am only called on to supervise when work is in high demand, the rest of the time I work as a domestic gas engineer. I have decided I need to get my qualifications up to date to so I can start to supervise full time and will be more employable . Would you recommend this course as a start. READ MORE…

The Diploma is a competency based qualification which you’ll need to obtain a gold cscs card. You may not need this in your current role but if you want to work for a site based contractor or subcontractor in the future it will be invaluable.

Ryan – I’m currently a site supervisor and have passed the sssts course. Can I skip the nvq level 3 and do an smsts course? READ MORE…

You only need to do the NVQ if you need or want a CSCS gold card.

Gaby – I have the NVQ level 2 for steel fixer and SSSTS . Can i get the CSCS Gold Card? READ MORE…

You still need to do the Site Supervision NVQ

Anon – I’m currently employed as a site manager, i have a cscs blue card, nvq 1 & 2 carpentry & joinery and have the 5 day SMSTS. the cscs gold card makes potential employers more likely to employ. actual site experience doesnt really account for very much. ideally id would like site based assessments to obtain the cscs gold card. is this at all possible as work commitments mean i would find it difficult to leave site for class room tutoring? READ MORE…

The courses are for those already employed in the role so there is a fair degree of flexibility. The course providers are commercial entities and want your money at the end of the day so they will be very accommodating.

Alan – I have had an smsts for the past 8 years and have worked as a site manager for a civil s contractor. I also have various blue cpcs cards and a black residential site managers card. Will the nvq level 3 be an advantage to me? READ MORE…

The NVQ is needed to get a Gold Supervisor’s Card. It isn’t going to hurt but since you already have a black card there doesn’t seem to be much point unless you want to hold a gold card as well?
I’m assuming you’ll be able to renew the black card though.

Alain – Hi, i currently have no NVQ’s and i am looking to gain a supervisor card. what process will i need to go through in order to gain this? i work in the AV industry. READ MORE…

You need to do the Site Supervision NVQ detailed above. This is a work based certification so you need to be working as a supervisor in a relevant occupation to do it. You’ll also need to complete the relevant Health, Safety and Environment Test and, of course, pay the fees.

It’s worth stressing that it’s almost impossible to get a Supervisor’s Card without the cooperation of your current employer.

Galain – I have a gold card and its says on the back Installer (Curtain wall). I am a Site Supervisor from the last 3 years. Do I need to change my gold card (NVQ Level 3) Occupational Work Supervisor or i am ok with this one? READ MORE…

You can change the occupation the next time you renew your card. You can renew at any time or wait until nearer the expiry date. It shouldn’t make any difference unless a particular employer or main contractor wants to be difficult about it?

David – I am a site supervisor and have held a NVQ Level3 in site supervision since 2006 do i have to do a smsts course? READ MORE…

There is no requirement to do the SMSTS unless your employer requires it. You may find it useful to enhance your future employment prospects and you may also get something out of it in terms of improving your health and safety awareness. But you don’t have to do it.

Adam – Hi my employer wants to make me supervisor for the marine based construction and painting company I work for. I have no qualifications but have been in the construction industry for 18 years. How do I become a qualified supervisor? READ MORE…

The NVQ course (as detailed above) will enable you to apply for a gold CSCS supervisors card. Whether this will be worth doing (from your employer’s point of view) will depend on the kind of work you do. It will benefit you personally though by making you more employable elsewhere.

The Site Supervisors’ Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Site Safety Plus may also be worth doing. It isn’t a qualification as such but will help you understand your responsibilities as a supervisor from a health and safety point of view. It’s also a minimum requirement for a a lot of jobs you’ll see advertised so, again, may be beneficial to your career prospects.

Ryan – Hi, I have an NVQ level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery and a NVQ level 2 in Team Leading. I’m currently working as a general forman and a stand in construction supervisor, my employer wants me to progress into management, what course would you recommend me to undertake please? READ MORE…

It depends really what kind of work the company does? If a lot of the work is for major contractors you’ll be better off going via the CSCS card route. Starting with the Diploma in Construction Site Supervision to get your gold card. Then you should think about progressing to the black card via the level 6 site management NVQ.

If they are a traditional building company or specialist contractor then a more conventional route might be applicable.

Your first step in this case would be the Construction HNC or Site Management HNC. The best place for further guidance on this would be your local higher education college.

You could approach them directly or your employer could do it themselves. All you need to do is arrange an interview with the head of the built environment dept.

You and your employer will need to define what role they have in mind for you and what your responsibilities are likely to be. Once you have done this the college should be able to point you in the right direction.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that what suits your employer may not be your best option personally (thinking long term). In this case the CSCS route and HNC combined would be the preferred option.

Jack – Hi I’m a qualified plumbing and gas engineer but would like to work my way up to a supervisory/management role. I work for a local authority working in social housing. Is there a course you could recommend? READ MORE…

The first thing you need to consider is what support your current employer is going to offer you? If it’s none then your best course of action is to start looking at alternatives.

The HNC in building services or HNC in Construction are the route often taken but almost all courses are now run on a day-release basis so your current employer would have to be agreeable to this.

There is nothing to stop you applying for roles elsewhere even if you don’t have any formal qualifications. Past experience and your current job title will have a greater influence on your chances than anything else.

That said, the NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Supervision will enable you to get a gold supervisor’s CSCS card which will make it a lot easier for you to find a supervisory job elsewhere. The first aid certificate, and CITB Site Supervisors Safety Certificate or Site Managers Site Safety Certificate are also worth doing.

All of these courses can be completed within a relatively short period of time. Maybe when you get your foot in the door somewhere else you can look at doing the HNC?

Eduardo – Hi, I have NVQ lvl 3 in Site Supervision (I studied it in Spain during 2 years and I have 15 years experience) What should I do? Apply for Gold card or study First aid, smsts, sssts. Seems is not enough having the NVQ and construction companies are not willing to hire me without them. READ MORE…

The gold card, SMSTS and first aid are pretty much essential requirements now so, yes, you should obtain these as soon as you can.
(The SSSTS is OK but the manager’s card is the better option).

It is the major contractors and employment agencies who have brought about this situation. Avoiding both is, sadly, advisable if at all possible.

Dave – Hi, I have been a joiner for the past 34 years and did a 4 year apprenticeship gaining city and guilds in carpentry and joinery the last year I gained advanced craft. Working away for years with a small company I became site foreman and have been for 18 plus years back in 2009 we as a small firm subcontracted to a large construction firm where I was asked for a cscs card. I had never heard of this because of my day to day working with a small outfit. So passing the health and safety test and doing assessments I gained a blue card ,I have also got the smiths and first aid. I am keen to get a gold card how do I go about getting this, and who do I approach? READ MORE…

Your situation is very common and there isn’t a simple solution. The main reason why is that the CSCS card scheme doesn’t recognize experience or ability, it is simply a certification, of sorts, that you have a minimum level of competence for the role you are currently engaged in.

To get a supervisor’s gold card you have to be currently employed as a supervisor and you have to complete the Diploma in Site Supervision. You will not be able to do this without the support of your employer so it is him/her you need to speak to.

Alex – I would like to be enrolled in a course in order to get the NVQ Level 3 for Site supervisor. You’ve said that in order to access the course, you must be working as a Site supervisor or assistant site manager already.
However, how can this happen if I need to have the CSCS Supervisor card to apply for a Supervisor position?

The system is set-up to benefit people who work in medium to large organisations where there is a normal career progression route. As you are finding, it works against the wider workforce which is largely made up of agency workers and self-employed sub-contractors.

However, the Site Supervisor NVQ requires for some role-based on-site assessment, it doesn’t require you have to be currently in this role – only that you can be assessed as if you were. Ideally, this means you’d be working as a trainee supervisor but there is no reason why, with the aid of a co-operative employer, you can’t just fit in the assessments as part of your normal working day.

This, obviously, isn’t going to be the answer for everyone but it is one way in which the system is being bypassed by private training organisations who offer the courses.

I am looking for some help I have a NVQ level 3 in joinery/ site supervisor and I am working full time but am looking to better my career by doing the NVQ level 4 HNC in construction and I am unsure on how to go about it I am looking for some advice on how to do this if you anyone can? READ MORE…

The majority of HNC courses are run on a day release basis which makes it difficult to do without your employer’s assistance. First step would be to talk to your employer about this to see if they can accommodate.

Failing this, it’s a case of finding a college that offers evening course. First stop for is your local college and, if they don’t, then they will know if any other local places do.

See Also
Construction Skills Site Safety Plus
Asbestos roofing
Asbestos Awareness Training