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.

More Information

91 thoughts on “Diploma in Construction Site Supervision”

  1. I’m steel fixer and I’m interested to be a supervisor,I want to know the cost of training and when I can start.

    • The Diploma is for people who are already employed as a supervisor or as a trainee supervisor. If your current employer is interested in providing the training they may be able to claim a grant to cover the cost.

  2. Hi 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.

    • 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.

  3. Hi, I’m interested in doing the course. I live in essex so where would I have to go for the one day lectures and how much does the course cost?

    • These courses are usually arranged through a private training provider by an employer. There are more details here together with a listing of providers.

  4. Hi, I’m a company director of a small building & contracting company. I have the 5 day smsts and have been in the construction industry for 23 years (which includes a nvq2 in brickwork). I supervise my men & subcontractors on many contracts.
    Who do I need to contact to be able to do this course in the midlands?

  5. I’m currently a site supervisor and have passed the sssts course. Can I skip the nvq level 3 and do an smsts course?

  6. I have been a been site person in charge for over two years, I have just completed the smsts course. I want to get my gold or black cscs card. Do I still need to do the NVQ first?

  7. hi, im 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. i would be funding the above myself do you have a ball park figure

    • 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.
      To book a course, or if you want any further details, get in touch with the CITB:
      Phone: 0344 994 4433
      Email: [email protected]

  8. Hi I would like to study for n v q level 4 however my S M S T S C S CS card are two years out of date. I am over the retirement age I understand i will have to sit both again what is the flexibility on doing this course

    • The NVQ isn’t dependent on you having the smsts, you could redo this at a later date. You can get a new cscs card by doing the appropriate Health, Safety & Environment test and sending in an application form. There will be a fee for both and you’ll need a current or ex employer to countersign it. It doesn’t take long to get a card.

      I should point out though that to do the NVQ you’ll have to be currently employed in the appropriate role, either directly or as a freelancer.

  9. I am a site manager and have been for 2 years, I did my apprenticeship as a Joiner up to NVQ level 2 and I have recently done a 2 year part time course to obtain my level 3 diploma in construction and the surrounding environment. Which is the highest CSCS card am I allowed to apply for?

  10. Hi Im NVQ Level 3 Joiner, but am now working as a trainee assistant site manager for a large house builder, what is the best course for me?

  11. 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 .

    • 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.

  12. I’m self-employed with a CSCS gold card NVQ level 3 formwork. What do I need to work as a site supervisor, a SMSTS, SSSTS or a site supervision NVQ level 3?

    • It depends what the employer wants but the SSSTS is most commonly mentioned. You only need the NVQ Level 3 to get a gold card.
      If you can commit to doing the SMSTS though it will be advantageous. I’ve seen this mentioned as a requirement for some rather basic supervisory posts just lately.

      Clients and contractors have a legal duty to employ ‘competent’ people and many are using the various certification schemes to cover themselves. You can’t have too many tickets these days I’m afraid.

  13. Hi I have passed my sssts cource and have obtained a red trainee technical supervisor cscs card. I have worked as a supervisor for over 8years but I’m not working at the moment. I would like to do an nvq level 3 supervisor is it still possible.??

    • The NVQ is work-based qualification that requires a level of on-site assessment. So, in theory, no although you should get in touch with a local course provider to see if they can help. It may be possible to do some part of the course with a view to completing it when you are back in work?

  14. Hi , Which NVQ 3 I need to get the gold cscs card ?
    I have the NVQ 3 in health & safety .

  15. 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.

    • 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.

  16. 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?

    • 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?

  17. Hi I am looking to renew my nvq3 supervisor gold card as it expires in October 2015
    What do I have to do to acheive this
    Also my nxt contract requires me to hold a sssts card again this has expired last year October 2014
    I have just gained the smsts card recently will this be ok to use instead of the sssts or do I have to fork out more money and take the sssts test again
    Regards j

    • To renew your gold card you’ll need to pay the fee again and complete the health and safety test again. More details here

      The SMSTS course is more advanced than the SSSTS so you shouldn’t need to do this again.

  18. I am a site supervisor and have held a NVQ Level3 in site supervision since 2006 do i have to do a smsts course

    • 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.

  19. Hi im working like superviser for last year. I have NVQ level 2 carpentry and smsts certificate. For which card I can apply? Thnx.

  20. hi i have been doing sitesupervising apprentice for the last 9 months and now i want to apply for NVQ level 3. wher can i apply for it.

  21. Hi, I’m currently a supervisor for a civil engineering company, I have a nvq level 2 in formwork and I’m getting promoted to GF I want to do the level 3 but it’s essential i stay at work is this possible

  22. 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?

    • 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.

  23. I am working as a dryliner and my boss wants to make me a supervisor. Can I apply directly for nvq lvl3 to become a supervisor, or do I need to take nvq lvl 1 and 2 so I can apply for lvl 3?

    • If the UK leaves the EU there will be a long transition period and there are no plans in place regarding EU workers. Nobody knows anything yet although there are lots of rumours flying around.

  24. Hi I have been more than 6 years supervisor in construction industry.
    How can I get sssts black card.

  25. I’m a charge hand scaffolder but I am looking into venturing into site management, I have researched the nvq 3 gold card would I be able to take part in this course?

    • The course is for site supervisors not site managers. So yes you can do the course but if you are set on a career in management it’s going to be of little benefit.

  26. 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?

    • 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.

  27. 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?

    • 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?

  28. I’ve just passed my Nebosh National Construction Certificate NGC1 NCC1 NCC2 and also passed my Nebosh General Certificate NGC1 NGC2 NGC3 will I be able to apply for a Gold or Black CSCS card?

    • No, you can apply for the White Professionally Qualified Person (PQD) Card.

      The gold card requires you to pass the NVQ in Site Supervision and for the Black card you need the Site Management NVQ.

  29. 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.

    • 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.

  30. Hello,

    I’ve passed last year SSSTS. This year I passed SMSTS and I have first aid and fire marshal what I need to pass to order Gold Cscs card for supervisor ? Thanks.

  31. Hi I currently work in the rail sector as a controller of site safety. I’m interested in the level 3 nvq to move up the ladder . My question is could I get a student loan to pay for the corse ?

    • I think student loans are only eligible for HNC courses and above?

      It may be worth contacting your local job centre or local authority to ask if there are any funding schemes currently open. Also, your local chambers of commerce may have grants available for training courses. These are usually only for employers but it’s worth looking into.

  32. Hi .. I work for **** for *** i have SSSTS SMSTS a green cscs ( needed to get on a site on the quick) 3 day first aid, fire training, EUSR, how do i go about applying or getting the NVQ3 and can i get the course funded

    • The courses are provided by private training firms and some local colleges so Google is your friend, as they say.

      Grants are usually offered to companies providing training for their employees rather than individuals so you might struggle on that front. Some chambers of commerce may have funding available, or know where you can get it, so this is worth a try?

      Since you work for a fairly big company I would have thought your own HR department should be able to help you with this though?

  33. I am currently working as a Project Engineer in a HVAC company with no construction based qualifications and my employer is wanting me to go into a more site supervisory role and have more presence on sites that we work on. Is this course and getting the gold cscs card the right steps to make?

    • It’s not compulsory but if you are looking for another job you may find a lot of employers are specifying it as a requirement. So, in this respect, it is worth having.

  34. hi how can i get the answers for nvq lvl 3 occupational work supervision(construction),or if can i find on the internet?!

  35. 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 many thanks Dave H.

    • 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.

  36. Do i have to attend classes for the duration of nine months for Nvq3 training?

  37. Hi I am self employed and am interested in having the nvq level 3 in site supervision. I currently have spells doing site supervision and would benefit from having the gold card. What are the costs involved please thanks Neil

    • CITB charge £1,900. There are other private course providers but you will have to google for who runs the courses in your area. The cost is likely to be the same.

      You must be currently working as a supervisor when you enrol on the course.

  38. hi neil im just doing my nvq 3 at the moment NW skills academy will do this course, all work based with a course work folder, also available government funding
    hope this helps
    cost of cours is about 2500

  39. 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.

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