Overview of ECS changes

A series of changes to the ECS scheme have been coming into effect since August 2018. Take a look at our summary below and click on any link to read more information about the changes and why they are being made. 
Read our article 'Addressing the Myths' to clarify any questions around gold card, 18th Edition and Registered Electrician changes. 

Important notice for existing gold card holders: 

The new rules regarding Registered Electrician and 18th Edition only apply to those:

  • who have never held a gold card before
  • or who are already Registered Electricians
  • or whose cards are more than 12 months out of date. 

If you currently hold a standard gold card, providing your card does not become more than one year out of date, you can continue to renew your card as normal without the 18th Edition or the obligation to sign up to Registered Electrician status. If you gain the 18th Edition but do not wish to sign up to Registered Electrician status, you can still have BS7671:2018 endorsed on the rear of your card as normal.

You will still need to pass the ECS Health, Safety & Environmental Assessment before you can renew.


What’s happening? Cardholders must either:

More information - Labourer new criteria


What’s happening? Cardholders must either:

  • Route 1: Have or meet ECS gold card requirements
  • Route 2: Hold a Level 4 management qualification such as BTEC or degree.

For both options the cardholder must also undertake a level 4 or above H&S course and also pass the ECS HS&E Assessment if not already exempt via the specific H&S course.

More information - Manager new criteria


What’s happening? From 01 Jan 2019, completing apprentices with 17th will receive an Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card and can upgrade to Registered Electrician when they gain the 18th.

More information -

New Gold Card Applications

What’s happening? From 01 January 2019 anyone applying for an Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card for the first time will be required to sign up to Registered Electrician status. This means the applicant must be qualified to the 18th Edition edition of BS7671 and sign up to a Code of Professional Practice, in addition to holding the minimum qualifications required for the card.

Existing Registered Electricians

What’s happening? From 01 January 2020, when Registered Electricians renew their card they must hold the 18th Edition in order to maintain their Registered Electrician status. More information…

Gold Card holders with lapsed cards

What’s happening? From 01 July 2019 any existing Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card holders who have let their card lapse for more than a year will be required to renew as a Registered Electrician.

Notice for existing ECS Gold Card holders with valid current cards

Installation or Maintenance Electricians who hold a current and valid gold card, issued for the first time prior to January 1st 2019, but who do not hold the 18th Edition, will be able to continue to renew their card as normal. The only change is that from 1st July 2019 they should renew within 12 months of card expiry. Furthermore, current cardholders who gain the 18th Edition but do not require Registered Electrician status can still have BS7671:2018 endorsed on the rear of their card as normal.

Related Discipline

What’s happening? The Related Discipline card is being streamlined to cover a smaller number of occupations: Field Engineer, Equipment Installer, AV Engineer, Ariel and Satellite Engineer, Security Systems Installer, Controls System Installer. The new requirements for these cards are:

  • the achievement of a new ECS Electrical Safety Unit Test (launching soon)
  • evidence of sector specific training from the employer or a relevant single stand-alone qualification in the discipline of the card to be issued
  • the ECS HS&E Assessment or a valid exemption

When? The new Related Discipline card will take effect soon – in the meantime please apply as normal under the existing criteria. More information...

Site Support

What’s happening? The new ECS Site Support card is for those in a role where they are supporting the administration of a contract and need access to a building or site under construction. This covers titles such as Design Engineer, Quantity Surveyor, Commissioning Engineer, IT Manager, H&S Manager, CAD Engineer, Compliance Auditor. Applicants need to provide proof of employment with an electrical contractor, pass a specific H&S course and hold the ECS HS&E Assessment, unless they are exempt after taking the H&S course.

Site Visitor

What's happening? The ECS Site Visitor card has been withdrawn, in alignment with the CSCS decision to withdraw the CSCS Site Visitor Card. 
If you need an ECS card to access a construction site there are other cards that may be appropriate for you, for example a site support card. If you are just visiting a site under supervision and not carrying out construction related activities you will need check with the main contractor to whether you need a card or not.