What Is A Competent Person Scheme? | Checkatrade
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What is a competent person scheme?

A competent person scheme is designed to help tradespeople work better, maintain standards and save time adhering to regulations. Find out in this article why being on a competent persons register can boost your business.

What is a competent person scheme?

Tradespeople working in the building industry carry out work that must be:

  • Reliable
  • Safe
  • High quality

Work must be completed to standards and regulations set in law.

As a tradesperson, you can demonstrate the work you do meets the required standards by being part of a competent person scheme (CPS).

Self-certify your work

Joining a scheme allows you to self-certify some types of building work instead of getting approval from a third party. The alternative is to use an approved inspector to check your work.

There are different schemes for different trades related to building and construction. For example, you could join a competent person scheme (electrical) or a competent person scheme (builders).

Some of the current schemes in the UK are:

As a competent person, you are registered to issue a competent person scheme certificate when you self-certify your work

Joining a scheme is voluntary, so you can choose the lengthier process of a local council or private firm to inspect your work. Joining a competent persons register can save time and also potentially win you more business.

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Benefits of a competent person scheme

As we’ve said, being a competent person means you can self-certify your work.

Being able to issue customers with a competent person scheme certificate is just one of the benefits. With self-certification, you can:

  • Win more business by demonstrating your work is undertaken to very high standards
  • Give customers confidence in your work
  • Show you follow health and safety standards
  • Save on having to pay for construction supervision costs
  • Save on paying building control fees
  • Issue customers with a certificate of completion of work

The benefits of joining a CPS will outweigh the cost, so it is worth considering for your trade business.

Penalties for not meeting building regulations

If you are on a competent person scheme you have responsibilities to carry out your work properly. Remember, you are self-certifying your work instead of getting building regulations approval.

That means that if your work doesn’t meet building regulation rules, you might have to correct the work or you could face a fine.

How to join a competent person scheme

Competent person schemes are authorised by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The aim is to ensure standards are consistent and rules are met for running the schemes.

A number of industry trade associations offer competent person schemes. These are some of the main skills covered by a competent person scheme:

  • Air pressure testing of buildings
  • Cavity and solid wall insulation
  • Combustion appliances
  • Electrical installations
  • Heating and hot water systems
  • Mechanical ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Replacement windows, doors, roof windows and rooflights
  • Replacement of roof coverings
  • Microgeneration and renewable technologies

Joining a trade association can also give your customers an important message about your professionalism. But not all of them will offer a CPS, so make sure to check at the point of registration.

What qualifications do you need for a certified person scheme?

Tradespeople must meet the Government’s minimum technical competence (MTC) to register with a competent person scheme.

Generally speaking, these requirements are based on National Occupational Standards. There are a number of guidelines that have been produced to show what knowledge, skills and understanding you need to be competent at a job.

When you don’t need a competent person scheme

In the building trade, you don’t always need competent person scheme approval. For example, the work you do as a tradesperson might not be covered by building regulations.

Check with a building control body if you are eligible or not for a CPS. Examples of work that could be covered include:

  • Repairs and maintenance (but not heating systems, oil tanks, fuse boxes or glazing units)
  • Replacing equipment like baths, basins and sinks (on a like-for-like basis)
  • New power or lighting points or changes to existing systems (but not around baths or showers)

Set your standards high to win more business

We can help you find more work in your area

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How to find a competent persons register

The government has set up a register for competent persons. Potential customers search here for tradespeople, knowing they will receive a high-quality service.

The competent persons register has been set up with all the approved scheme providers. It lists competent persons by:

  • Postcode
  • County
  • Trade
  • Business name

Being found on the register could be an important step when people are looking to get work done. As with being a Checkatrade member, joining a CPS will show that your work can be relied on, and that you have been checked and vetted.

Other ways to offer customers high standards

A competent person scheme is only one way for tradespeople to demonstrate their professionalism. Other important ways of ensuring high standards include when you are planning and managing construction projects.

Knowing the rules to improve health and safety on construction sites is also part of being a competent tradesperson.

Like trade associations and competent persons schemes, Checkatrade members also go through a number of checks before they qualify. Once they pass, our members receive our help with new enquiries. Other benefits of a Checkatrade membership include:

  • Dedicated membership advice team
  • Work guarantee up to £1,000
  • Exclusive offers and discounts
  • Up to 20% off Public Liability Insurance
  • Reduced cost of workwear and branding
  • Savings on other business essentials such as vans, fuel and materials


Do I need to join a competent person scheme?

You don’t have to, but if you work in the building trade there are lots of benefits of being registered as a competent person.

How does a competent person scheme work?

Joining a scheme means you can self-certify certain work so you don’t need to obtain building regulations approval.

Who qualifies as a competent person?

You can join a competent person scheme through a trade association or other body authorised by the government to run a scheme. They will have details of what qualifications you need.

How do I self-certify my building work?

You can self-certify most types of building sector work if you are on a competent person scheme. This allows you to issue customers with a certificate of completion of work

What are the consequences of not being in a competent person scheme?

If your self-certified work does not meet building regulations then you could have to remedy the work. You could also face a fine.

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Content disclaimer: This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer here.

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