Street Works qualifications

New Roads And Street Works Act 1991

The Legal Requirements

The New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 places a duty on undertakers to ensure that work involving the installation of, renewal, maintenance and inspection of underground apparatus in any street or road is under the control of competent persons. To satisfy the requirements of the Act, undertakers must ensure that, except in prescribed cases, the execution of street works is supervised by a person having a prescribed qualification as a 'supervisor'. In addition, whether or not the street is broken up, they must ensure that a person having a prescribed qualification as a 'trained operative' is present on the site at all times when the work is in progress.

What is a prescribed qualification?

The Street Works ( Qualification of Supervisors and Operatives ) Regulations 1992 and the Roads Works ( Qualifications of Supervisors and Operatives ) ( Scotland ) Regulations 1992 which came into force in August 1992 defined the prescribed qualifications for various types and combinations of work.

The Regulations define these in general as possession of a certificate of competence issued by an approved body, plus registration of that certificate in an approved register. The Regulations detail the qualifications for both supervisors and operatives by reference to the various units of competence in which they will be assessed.

Qualifications for 'supervisors'
LA Location and Avoidance of undrerground apparatus
S1 Monitoring Signing, Lighting and Guarding
S2 Monitoring excavation in the road/highway
S3 Monitoring reinstatement and compaction of backfill materials
S4 Monitoring reinstatement of sub-base and road-base in non bituminous materials
S5 Monitoring reinstatement of bituminous materials
S6 Monitoring reinstatement of concrete slabs
S7 Monitoring reinstatement of modular surfaces and concrete footways

From 5 August 1994 there is a legal requirement on undertakers to ensure ( subject to exceptions ) that most types of street works are supervised by a qualified supervisor.

Qualification for 'trained operatives'
O1 Signing, Lighting and Guarding
O2 Excavation in the road/highway
O3 Reinstatement and compaction of backfill materials
O4 Reinstatement of sub-base and road-base in non bituminous materials
O5 Reinstatement of coldlay bituminous materials
O6 Reinstatement of hot-lay bituminous materials
O7 Reinstatement of concrete slabs
O8 Reinstatement of modular surfaces and concrete footways

From 5 August 1997 undertakers must ensure that a person having a prescribed qualification as a trained operative is on site whilst street works are in progress.

A person may only act as a supervisor or a trained operative for the type of work for which the person has the relevant qualification. It may, therefore, be necessary for a number of persons having different qualifications to be involved during the progress of the work through it's various stages. There is, however, no limit to the number of qualifications that may be held by one person. A supervisor qualification does not qualify the holder to work as a qualified operative and vice versa.

How are the assessments carried out?

Assessments for the qualifications are carried out by approved assessment centres. Each qualification comprises a number of Units of Competence covering specific work operations. The candidate is separately assessed in individual units until they have met the requirement for a qualification.

The minimum standards of achievement for each of the units of competence have been nationally agreed by a joint working party of the Highway Authorites and the Utility organisations. This working party is also responsible for the design, implementation and operation of the qualification systems.

How are the qualified persons identified?

A Street Works Qualifications Register containing details of the qualifications awarded by all awarding bodies is maintained by SQA. Each person included in the register is issued with a personal identity card showing the qualification or qualifications held by that person. The Registrar will respond in writing to authorised telephone or written requests for information about the qualification status of individuals. The enquirer will be invoiced for this service.