Overview of ECS changes 2018-2019

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  • or whose cards are more than 12 months out of date on 01 July 2019. 

If you currently hold a standard gold card, providing your card does not become more than one year out of date, you can continue to renew your card as normal without the 18th Edition or the obligation to sign up to Registered Electrician status.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:

When? From 01 August 2018 for new applications. Existing cardholders will need to meet these requirements from when their card expires after 01 January 2019.

More information - Labourer new criteria


What’s happening? Cardholders must:

  • Route 1: Have or meet ECS gold card requirements
  • Route 2: Hold a Level 4 management qualification such as BTEC, degree or JIB-recognised company programme.

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

When? From 01 August 2018 for new applications. Existing cardholders will need to meet these requirements from when their card expires after 01 January 2019.

More information - Manager new criteria


What’s happening? Completing apprentices with the 17th Edition can become a Registered Electrician until 31 Dec 2018. They will have until 01 July 2019 to gain the 18th edition qualification if they wish to maintain their Registered Electrician status.

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 - apprentices with 17th Edition

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? By 01 July 2019 all current Registered Electricians with 17th Edition BS7671 need to have achieved a qualification in the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations (BS7671:2018). 

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.

When? From 01 August 2018. 

Site Visitor

What's happening? The ECS Site Visitor card is being withdrawn, in alignment with the CSCS decision to withdraw the CSCS Site Visitor Card. 

When? New applications for this card have been closed since August 2018. From 01 January 2019, any existing cardholders will not be able to renew their card.