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Frequently Asked Questions

Upgrading pathways
Q1: How to upgrade my construction workers? What are the upgrading pathways and criteria?
Q2: What are the benefits after upgrading my construction workers to “Higher Skilled” R1 workers?
Q3: Is there an expiry date to the status of “Higher Skilled” R1 workers?
Q4: What are the objectives of Continuing Education and Training (CET)?
 
Registration of CoreTrade Personnel
Q5: What is CoreTrade? Who is it for?
Q6: What are the classes of CoreTrade personnel? What are the registration requirements to be CoreTrade personnel?
Q7: What are the trades available for registration under CoreTrade?
Q8: Where to apply to be CoreTrade personnel?
Q9: I wish to upgrade my workers to “Higher Skilled” R1 status. However, the trades under CoreTrade Scheme are not relevant to my trades. Are there any other pathways to upgrade my workers?
Q10: My worker is already registered as a CoreTrade Tradesman. How can he upgrade to be a CoreTrade Trade Foreman?
Q11: I wish to apply my worker as CoreTrade Foremen. However, he failed the written test component, what should he do?
Q12: My workers cannot read \and write in English. I am afraid they could not pass the test.
 
Deployment requirements of CoreTrade Personnel
Q13: What is deployment of CoreTrade personnel? Who is it for?
Q14: What are the deployment requirements?
Q15: Where do I submit the manpower deployment plans?
Q16: Can I deploy my CoreTrade Tradesmen to fulfil the CoreTrade personnel deployment requirements?
Q17: Why are we removing the deployment requirements for Tradesmen only and retaining that for Trade Foremen and Supervisors?
Q18: What are the benefits of registering as a Tradesman after its deployment requirements are removed?
Q19: Is the removal of Tradesmen deployment requirements going to apply to new CoreTrade projects only?
Q20: Can I deploy my CoreTrade Supervisor under CoreTrade Foreman category?
Q21: Can I deploy my Multi-Skilled workers to fulfil the CoreTrade personnel deployment requirements?
Q22: What happens if my project is unable to meet the CoreTrade requirements?
 
Registration of Multi-Skilling Personnel
Q23: What is Multi-Skilling? Who is it for?
Q24: Can I deploy my Multi-Skilling workers to fulfil the CoreTrade personnel deployment requirements?
Q25: What are the registration requirements to be Multi-Skilling personnel?
Q26: What is the SEC(K) about?
Q27: Where can my worker apply for SEC(K)?
Q28: Where to apply to be Multi-Skilling personnel?
Q29: My worker has less than 4 years construction experience in Singapore and only the 1st SEC/SEC(K). He intends to enrol for his 2nd SEC(K) in a different trade soon. Can I submit a Multi-Skilling application for him first?
Q30: My worker’s SEC/SEC(K) has been retained by his ex-company. How can he obtain a duplicate copy of his certificate?
 
Upgrading pathways
Q1: How to upgrade my construction workers? What are the upgrading pathways and criteria?
 

To retain skilled and experienced construction workers, employers can upgrade them to be “Higher Skilled” R1 workers through any of the 4 upgrading pathways – CoreTrade scheme, Multi-skilling scheme, Market-based Skills Recognition Framework, and Direct R1 pathway.

The criteria of each upgrading pathway are summarized in the table below.


 
Q2: What are the benefits after upgrading my construction workers to “Higher Skilled” R1 workers?
 

Under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) skills and levy framework, “Higher Skilled” R1 workers can stay in Singapore up to 22 years and their employers pay lower levy for these “Higher Skilled” R1 workers. In addition, these workers are more productive and would contribute more to their employers.

 
Q3: Is there an expiry date to the status of “Higher Skilled” R1 workers?
 

“Higher Skilled” R1 workers are required to attend the stipulated Continuing Education and Training (CET) within 2 years of attaining their R1 status. BCA will assist to inform employers when the CET is due.


For Direct R1 workers, their first CET would be 2 years from the test date that they have attained SEC(K) at higher skill level.

 
Q4: What are the objectives of Continuing Education and Training (CET)?
 

To continuously upgrade the construction workforce to support improvement in productivity, quality and safety, all personnel registered under CoreTrade and Multi-skilling schemes or upgraded through the Direct R1 pathway, are required to attend Continuing Education and Training (CET) under their respective registered trade category.

The CET will be a half-day to 1 day course covering the latest codes and regulations, good practices, and demonstration of new methods, materials, tools and equipment relevant to the specific construction trades and/or areas of responsibility of the registered personnel.

 
Registration of CoreTrade Personnel
Q5: What is it?
  The Construction Registration of Tradesmen (CoreTrade) Scheme was introduced to allow the built environment sector to build up its core group of competent and experienced workers in key construction trades and supervisory roles to anchor and lead the construction workforce, and raise its quality and productivity levels.
  Who is it for?
  CoreTrade provides a platform to retain the better and more experienced workers by providing a clear career progression path and giving them due recognition. It allows one to progress from a “Basic Skilled” R2 worker, to a registered CoreTrade Tradesman specializing in specific trades, a registered CoreTrade Trade Foreman and eventually a CoreTrade Supervisor. CoreTrade personnel are qualified as “Higher Skilled” R1 workers under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s Foreign Worker Levy Scheme.
   
Q6: What are the classes of CoreTrade personnel? What are the registration requirements to be CoreTrade personnel?
 

There are 3 classes of CoreTrade personnel:

  • CoreTrade Tradesmen

  • CoreTrade Foremen

  • CoreTrade Supervisor

Generally, the registration requirements for a foreign work permit holder with a Skills Evaluation Certificate (SEC/SEC(K)) to be CoreTrade personnel are:

Type of personnel Minimum years of local construction experience Practical Test Theory Test
CoreTrade Tradesmen 4 years Pass Not applicable1
CoreTrade Foremen 6 years Pass Pass
CoreTrade Supervisor 8 years Not applicable Pass

 
1 Theory Test is required only for Tradesmen in Construction Plant Operation and all enhanced formwork trades to ascertain the safety knowledge.
 
Q7: What are the trades available for registration under CoreTrade?
 

The trade categories available for registration are listed below.

CoreTrade Personnel Trade Category
Tradesmen & Foremen Structural Trades Reinforced Concrete Works

Structural Steel Works

Architectural Trades

Cladding & Curtain Wall Installation

Doors & Windows Installation

Drywall Installation

Glazing Works

Joinery Works

Suspended Ceiling Installation

Tiling, Stone Laying & Floor Finishing Works

Waterproofing Works

Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) Trades

Air-conditioning Ducting Installation

Electrical Works

Fire Protection Works

Gas Pipefitting Works

Lift Installation

Plumbing And Piping Works

Construction Plant Operation

Construction Plant Operation

(for Tradesmen only)

Supervisor

Architectural Works,

Structural Works, and

Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) Works

 
Q8: Where to apply to be CoreTrade personnel?
 

CoreTrade applications can be made via www.bca.gov.sg/cwrs before registering the construction personnel for training and skills assessment at BCA’s Approved Training and Testing Centres.

 
Q9: I wish to upgrade my workers to “Higher Skilled” R1 status. However, the trades under CoreTrade Scheme are not relevant to my trades. Are there any other pathways to upgrade my workers?
 

Yes, employers can upgrade their workers to be “Higher Skilled” R1 workers through any of the 4 upgrading pathways – CoreTrade scheme, Multi-skilling scheme, Market-based Skills Recognition Framework, and Direct R1 pathway.

 
Q10: My worker is already registered as a CoreTrade Tradesman. How can he upgrade to be a CoreTrade Trade Foreman?
 

Application can be made to upgrade from a CoreTrade Tradesman to Trade Foreman. Once an application to upgrade has been made, the application is reviewed to determine if he/ she meets the minimum requirements for skills and experience to upgrade.

If a CoreTrade Tradesman has obtained 6 years construction experience in Singapore, he may take the written test component only and pass the written test component of the same trade category to upgrade to Foreman.

 
Q11: I wish to apply my worker as CoreTrade Foremen. However, he failed the written test component, what should he do?
  If the candidate failed the written test component for Trade Foremen and have passed the practical test component (only for non-plant construction trades), he would then be allowed to be registered as CoreTrade Tradesmen which allows him to stay in Singapore up to 22 years and their employers pay lower levy. However, for Timber formwork and Steel Reinforcement, the trades are only applicable at Trade Foremen level.

Alternatively he can take a retest on the written test component.
 
Q12: My workers cannot read and write in English. I am afraid they could not pass the test.
 

To register as a CoreTrade Tradesman (except for Construction Plant Operation), the worker needs to take and pass a practical test component only.

To register as a CoreTrade Tradesman in Construction Plant Operation, CoreTrade Trade Foremen or Multi-Skilled worker, the worker needs to take and pass both practical and written test component. The written test paper has translations in Chinese, Tamil, and Thai.

>In addition, the written test component for CoreTrade Foremen has been modified from a closed-book to an open-book written test from 3 November 2014 onwards, to enable the candidates to learn better.

To register as a CoreTrade supervisor, the worker needs to take training and test in theory only.

 
Deployment requirements of CoreTrade Personnel
Q13: What is deployment of CoreTrade personnel? Who is it for?
  Under the Building Control (Amendment) Act 2007, all licensed Class 1 General Builders are required to lodge a manpower programme on the deployment of CoreTrade personnel when undertaking construction projects with contract value of $20 million (inclusive of GST) or more.
Q14: What are the deployment requirements?
 

The CoreTrade deployment has been classified into 4 main categories of projects. They are new building works, addition and alteration works, civil engineering works (general) and civil engineering works (MRT station).

Taking into account the scale of works, the deployment requirements are also calculated based on Man-Year (MY)1 and contract value to allow for flexibility in deployment.

Please click here for the deployment requirements.

1 Man-year (MY) is defined as a period comprising 260 working days or its equivalent.

 
Q15: Where do I submit the manpower deployment plans ?
 

Firms can lodge the manpower deployment plans at www.bca.gov.sg/coretrade/submission .

 
Q16: Can I deploy my CoreTrade Tradesmen to fulfil the CoreTrade personnel deployment requirements?
  With the new minimum R1 proportion requirement at the firm-level to be implemented in 2017, BCA will phase out the project-level CoreTrade deployment requirement for Tradesmen, and focus on building up key construction personnel at the Foremen and Supervisory levels with effect from 01 January 2015. Once implemented, all new and on-going CoreTrade projects will not be required to comply with the deployment requirements for the category of Tradesmen. Construction firms will still need to comply with the deployment requirements of Trade Foremen and Supervisors.
 
Q17: Why are we removing the deployment requirements for Tradesmen only and retaining that for Trade Foremen and Supervisors?
 

The deployment requirements for CoreTrade Tradesmen at the project-level will in effect be replaced by the new minimum R1 proportion requirement at the firm-level. This will give construction firms greater ownership in recruiting or upgrading better workers. Construction firms will also benefit from the increased levy savings and higher productivity of the upgraded workers, which will help them better manage their manpower cost and stay competitive.

Moving forward, the CoreTrade scheme will focus on building up construction personnel at the Foremen and Supervisory levels, who play a key role in guiding the workers to improve productivity through better site management. We have hence retained the deployment requirements for Trade Foremen and Supervisors to encourage workers, including locals, to upgrade beyond the Tradesmen level.

 
Q18: What are the benefits of registering as a Tradesman after its deployment requirements are removed?
 

CoreTrade registration will remain one of the pathways to qualify workers as R1, which will allow him to enjoy a lower levy and work in Singapore for up to 22 years.

 
Q19: Is the removal of Tradesmen deployment requirements going to apply to new CoreTrade projects only?
 

Once implemented, all new and on-going CoreTrade projects will not be required to comply with the deployment requirements for the category of Tradesmen. However, construction firms will still need to comply with the deployment requirements of Trade Foremen and Supervisors.

 
Q20: Can I deploy my CoreTrade Supervisor under CoreTrade Foreman category?
 

No, the CoreTrade personnel should be deployed under the relevant categories, i.e. CoreTrade Trade Foremen should be deployed under Trade Foreman categories, while CoreTrade Supervisors should be deployed under Supervisor categories.

 
Q21: Can I deploy my Multi-Skilled workers to fulfil the CoreTrade personnel deployment requirements?
 

No, only CoreTrade registered personnel will be accepted for CoreTrade deployment requirements.

 
Q22: What happens if my project is unable to meet the CoreTrade requirements?
 

BCA understands that there may be some contractors whose projects that are so unique that its manpower deployment needs vary from the usual building works.

If the builder failed to comply with the requirement, the builder will be given an opportunity to submit written representations to the Commissioner of Building Control, as required under Section 29J(3) of the Building Control Act, before the Commissioner exercises his powers pursuant to Section 29J(1) or (2) of the Building Control Act which reads:

(1) Subject to subsection (3), the Commissioner may by order revoke any general builder’s licence or specialist builder’s licence if he is satisfied that

  • (a) The licensed builder fails to comply with any of the relevant requirements of section 29H(1) or (3) or section 29I(1) or (5), as the case may be;

(2) The Commissioner may, in any case in which he considers that no cause of sufficient gravity for revoking any general builder’s licence or specialist builder’s licence exists, by order

  • (a) Suspend the licence for a period not exceeding 6 months;
  • (b) Impose on the builder concerned a financial penalty not exceeding $20,000;
  • (c) Censure the builder concerned;
  • (d) Impose such other direction or restriction as the Commissioner considers appropriate on the builder’s business as a general builder or specialist builder, as the case may be.
 
Registration of Multi-Skilling Personnel
Q23: What is it?
  The Multi-Skilling scheme was developed following feedback from the industry on the need for more upgrading pathways for construction workers. It is an alternative pathway for them to progress from “Basic Skilled” R2 workers to “Higher Skilled" R1 workers under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s Foreign Worker Levy.
   
  Who is it for?
  While the CoreTrade Scheme recognises those workers specializing in key construction trades, i.e. possessing “deep” skills, the Multi-Skilling scheme complements the CoreTrade scheme by recognising experienced workers who are competent in multiple trade skills or have completed 120 training hours of approved safety courses.

Multi-Skilling workers offer greater flexibility in deployment on site and hence help to enhance productivity by reducing productivity downtime. This will benefit firms as they will be able to deliver their construction work with lesser workers.
   
 
Q24: Can I deploy my Multi-Skilling workers to fulfil the CoreTrade personnel deployment requirements?
 

No, only CoreTrade registered personnel will be accepted for CoreTrade deployment requirements.

 
Q25: What are the registration requirements to be Multi-Skilling personnel?
 
Type of pathways Minimum years of local construction experience Acceptable qualifications
Skilled based 4 years Have 2 SEC/SEC(K)s in different trades (SPM acceptable as 1st certificate for Malaysian WPH only)
Non-skilled based 6 years Have 1 SEC/SEC(K) and
(i) completed 120 training hours of approved safety courses OR
(ii) WSQ Advanced Certificate in Workplace Safety & Health
 
Q26: What is the SEC(K) about?
  SEC(K), which stands for Skills Evaluation Certificate (Knowledge), is a skills certification framework conducted by the Building and Construction Authority to assess a worker’s competency and skill in a particular construction trade.
 
Q27: Where can my worker apply for SEC(K)?
  Workers can apply for SEC(K) at the BCA Academy or at the BCA Approved Training and Testing Centres (ATTCs). Contact details of these ATTCs can be found at www.bca.gov.sg/CoreTrade/others/ATTCcontacts.pdf. Companies can also apply for their workers to take the 2nd SEC(K) at the Overseas Test Centres (OTCs). Please refer to the Overseas Test Registration procedures at www.bca.gov.sg/academy/cop_testcenters.aspx.
 
Q28: Where to apply to be Multi-Skilling personnel?
  Multi-Skilling applications can be made via www.bca.gov.sg/cwrs.
 
Q29: My worker has less than 4 years construction experience in Singapore and only the 1st SEC/SEC(K). He intends to enrol for his 2nd SEC(K) in a different trade soon. Can I submit a Multi-Skilling application for him first?
  No, he must meet minimum 4 years of construction experience in Singapore and holds one SEC/SEC(K) or Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) certification for Malaysian work permit holders, before you can apply for him in Multi-Skilling under the Skilled based pathway.
 
Q30: My worker’s SEC/SEC(K) has been retained by his ex-company. How can he obtain a duplicate copy of his certificate?
  You may use your SingPass to submit an online request via https://eservices.bca.gov.sg, to obtain a statement of the worker’s skill qualification (SEC(K)), Alternatively, you can also print a copy of the statement request form at this link: www.bca.gov.sg/academy/resources/uploadotherforms/miscfile_61.pdf, and submit it over the BCA Academy counter after completion. Note that each statement request is subjected to a payment fee.