Guide to Operative Grading
The purpose of grading is to ensure that PHMES operatives are suitably recognised for the trade skills and qualifications they possess. The responsibility for operative grading rests with the JIB-PMES CSCS Registration and Grading Scheme.
Grading is an addition to JIB-PMES CSCS Registration. Whereas registration cards are based only on an operative’s qualifications, the awarding of JIB-PMES ‘Advanced’ and ‘Technician’ grades is on the basis of skills and experience as well as qualifications.
These grades are recognised and supported by JIB-PMES participant employers to determine rates of pay, allowances and benefits.
JIB-PMES CSCS Grades
Basic Grade: Plumber, Mechanical Pipefitter, Heating Fitter, Gas Fitter or Craftsperson.
- All holders of Blue or Gold JIB-PMES CSCS Registration Cards are automatically given the basic grade as a Trained Plumber, Mechanical Pipefitter, Heating Fitter, Gas Fitter or Craftsperson.
Advanced Grade: Plumber, Mechanical Pipefitter, Heating Engineer, Gas Engineer or Craftsperson.
- Must have at least two years’ experience working as a Plumber, Mechanical Pipefitter, Heating Fitter, Gas Fitter or Craftsperson.
- Must possess particular and productive skills and be able to work without supervision in the most efficient and economical manner.
- Must be able to set out jobs from working drawings and specifications and requisition the necessary installation materials and have technical and supervisory knowledge beyond that expected of a Plumber, Mechanical Pipefitter, Heating Fitter, Gas Fitter or Craftsperson.
Technician Grade: Plumber, Mechanical Pipefitter, Heating Engineer, Gas Engineer or Craftsperson.
- Must have obtained appropriate academic qualifications or other such qualifications as are acceptable to the JIB-PMES.
- Must have superior technical skill, ability and experience beyond that expected of an Advanced Plumber, Mechanical Pipefitter, Heating Engineer, Gas Engineer or Craftsperson.
- Must be able to lay out and prepare contract work in accordance with Building Regulations and Water Regulations/Bye-Laws.
- Must be able to take off quantities and measure work.
- Must be able to assess labour requirements and control/supervise all manner of plumbing or other relevant installations in the most economic and effective way while achieving a high level of productivity.
Relationship between JIB-PMES CSCS Registration and Grading
JIB-PMES CSCS Registration cards are a national standard recognised throughout the industry. CSCS rules stipulate that the colour of the Registration Card issued to operatives is based solely on their qualifications.
Therefore, if an applicant has achieved NVQ/SVQ Level 2 or equivalent qualification, the card colour can only be BLUE. If an applicant has achieved an NVQ/SVQ Level 3 or equivalent qualification, they can apply for a GOLD card.
JIB-PMES Grades are recognised primarily by JIB-PMES participant employers to determine pay, allowances and other benefits.
Grading is an addition to JIB-PMES CSCS registration and is based on experience as well as qualifications. Holders of Plumber Blue and Gold cards (i.e. those who have NVQ L2 or Plumbing Craft qualifications) are automatically given the basic Plumber grade. They can be upgraded to the Advanced or Technician Plumber grades depending on the skills they are able to demonstrate and their work experience. This also applies to Mechanical Pipefitters, Heating Fitters, Gas Fitters and Craftspersons.
Note: Holders of the gold PMES Supervisor card and PMES Related Occupation cards are excluded.
The award of a grade does not change the colour of a JIB-PMES CSCS registration card. Meaning that an operative who has achieved NVQ/SVQ Level 2 qualification may be awarded an Advanced or Technician grade as a result of experience in the industry, but will still carry a blue JIB-PMES CSCS Registration card.
There is no need to apply for ‘Initial Grading’ as all cardholders are automatically graded as ‘trained operatives’ when they receive an initial blue or gold JIB-PMES CSCS registration card.
With a Plumbing Level 2 NVQ or an equivalent qualification in a related discipline (e.g. Heating Fitter), you will be given the basic grade of Plumber, Heating Fitter etc. assuming you fulfil the grading requirements.
The grading requirements for basic Plumber, Mechanical Pipefitter, Heating Fitter, Gas Fitter or Craftsperson are as follows:
- Appropriate Level 2 NVQ Diploma or National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) – MES Plumbing Level 2 or equivalent, e.g. City & Guilds of London Institute (CGLI) Craft Certificate
- Such other qualifications as are acceptable to the Board
- Entry by way of a recognised and registered form of training (usually a 4 year term as a JIB registered apprentice) or other accepted method of entry into the Industry.
- Must have undergone a minimum of 3½ years training experience in the Plumbing Industry
- Must be able to carry out all such installation and maintenance work to the recognised standard and level of productivity expected from an operative working under minimum supervision.
If you are employed by a JIB Participant Employer your graded status is important as it determines your hourly rates of pay and allowances.
With a Level 2 NVQ or equivalent qualification your grade will be the basic grade of Plumber, Mechanical Pipefitter, Heating Fitter, Gas Fitter or Craftsperson. However, you may feel that although you only have a Level 2 NVQ, your experience in the Plumbing Industry should entitle you to a higher Advanced or Technician Grade.
If this is the case, you can make an ‘upgrading’ application.
You may apply for a specific upgrade at any time, or at the same time as you apply for a registration card. You must be able to meet all the requirements for the new grade. Click here to download the upgrading form (including Advanced and Technician grading criteria.)
Upgrading an Apprentice/Trainee Red card to a Blue or Gold card
An apprentice or trainee who completes their training and becomes qualified is entitled to upgrade to a blue card (Level 2 NVQ Diploma/NVQ Level 2) or a gold card (Level 3 NVQ Diploma/NVQ Level 3).
We need a completed application form for the appropriate blue or gold card, photocopies of your NVQ Diploma/NVQ certificates, and a new passport-sized photograph.
The NVQ Diploma/NVQ certificate will provide exemption from taking the CITB CSCS Health, Safety and Environment test for a period of two years from the date on the certificate, after which time the test would have to be taken and the card renewed.
For employees of a JIB Participant company the new card is free of charge. For all other applicants, the cost of the new registration SmartCard is £40.00
Grading is free if your employer is purchasing JIB-PMES Holiday Credits or Welfare Benefits on your behalf. For all other applicants grading costs £25.00 plus £40.00 for a new JIB-PMES CSCS SmartCard, if one is required to reflect the change of grade.
Grading fees are separate and additional to any other JIB-PMES CSCS registration fees that may be applicable.