Published On: Fri, Aug 6th, 2021

’The Importance of CSCS Card Compliance’

by Phil Slinger – CAB Chief Executive

It should come as no surprise that the UK is experiencing a serious workforce and skills shortage in the Construction Industry. The current situation is a result of a workforce laid off at the beginning of the pandemic taking up alternative employment, the loss of a significant amount of European construction workers who have returned home due to Brexit and that the commercial and residential construction market in the UK is booming. According to RICS, the shortfall in the number of skilled construction workers in the UK is currently at its highest point since 2007.

Shortage of fenestration installers has meant that new workers have been drafted into the industry to cope with increased workloads, but where can companies gain the training needed to ensure that these complex systems are installed correctly to ensure weatherability and sustainability?

The UK’s only Aluminium in Building sector Trade Association, the Council for Aluminium in Building (CAB) last year partnered with GQA Qualifications, a leading award body and CSCS to develop a new route to a Curtain Walling Installers CSCS Card. The one day CAB introductory course forms part of a mandatory module leading to the award of a newly created CAB Curtain Walling Installers CSCS Card but, it can also be used by CAB members as a valuable training tool to teach the fundamentals of curtain wall systems to staff and new employees. Since 2017, glass, glazing or fenestration CSCS cards are only available via GQA Qualifications. With the support of the GQA there is now a newly created CAB Curtain Walling Installers CSCS Card which any installer can work towards.

Applications to attend the Introductory Course for the CSCS qualification are managed by CAB and candidates apply by completing the enrolment form which can be found on the CAB website. CAB will then liaise with candidates to book a convenient course date and the training is carried out by a GQA Approved Training Provider.  The cost to attend the one-day course is just £249 plus VAT but CAB members will qualify for a discounted rate of £199 plus VAT.  Training Centres will offer guidance to delegates to apply for a trainee CSCS card, temporary card or renewal card. Further information regarding the criteria and process for applying for a CAB Curtain Walling Installers CSCS card can be found on the GQA Qualifications website.

The aim of the CAB one-day Introductory Course is to offer candidates an introduction to the extensive glazed walling seen on building structures known generally as ‘Curtain Walling’. So, for the candidate new to the industry, what is a ‘Curtain Wall’? What is its function? What should it do? How it is constructed? These are all questions explained by the Course in general terms.  Common terminology used in describing the system and its functions are also introduced so that meaningful conversation and understanding can be conducted by candidates once the Course has been completed successfully. The Course has been designed to be a generic approach to curtain walling systems and covers the Principles of Construction that is common across all systems manufacturers.

For the more experienced curtain wall installer, the review of the fundamentals of the curtain wall terminology and construction are reintroduced. Along with the key issues of surveying, installation and fixing, interface details with other parts of the building structure are also covered to give the candidate a broad understanding of good practice. Expected levels of quality are introduced, as are potential areas of failure by way of example. The crucial implication of ‘getting it right first time’ is emphasised as remedial work required after completion can be both costly and difficult to achieve.

Once the One-Day Introductory Course has been successfully completed, the candidate will take an approved system house Curtain Wall Product Training  Course and successfully complete the end of course assessment. To be classed as fully trained and receive a ‘CSCS Skilled Workers Card’ candidates will need to have achieved the relevant NVQ or Competency Update Qualification. Full guidance on the CSCS card process will be offered during the initial CAB One-Day Training Course.

To ensure the whole process is kept up to date and continues to meet best practice, all Approved Training Providers will take part in regular formal review meetings with CAB, GQA and systems house experts.

If you would like any further information about CAB training or to obtain a copy of the CAB One-Day Course Manual for internal training purposes, please contact 

The Association supports the wider industry with technical support across the aluminium fenestration supply chain and staff are on hand at the CAB offices to answer any questions. Information is regularly updated on the CAB website at and for Association Membership enquiries please contact Jessica Dean at the CAB offices by email or telephone 01453 828851.