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About “Designated Workers for Designated Skills” Provision

About The Designated Workers for Designated Skills ("DWDS") Provision

Disclaimer

Whilst reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) nevertheless would encourage readers to seek appropriate independent advice from their professional advisers where possible. Readers should not treat or rely on such information as a substitute for such independent professional advice.

The information provided below is for general reference only and should not be treated as inclusive of all matters and requirements in relation to Construction Workers Registration Ordinance (Cap. 583) (CWRO). For a complete statement of the law, direct reference should be made to the CWRO itself.  The information provided herein will not affect the functions and powers conferred upon the CIC under the CWRO.

 

1) What is the DWDS requirement?

The “designated workers for designated skills” requirement of the CWRO came into effect on 1 April 2017.  It provides that construction works involving the skills of any designated trade division shall be carried out by the registered skilled/semi-skilled workers (including provisional registration) of that designated trade division, except in prescribed cicumstances.

 

2) Under what circumstances can a registered construction worker carry out skilled work of a designated trade division while not being registered as a registered skilled/semi-skilled worker of that trade division?

A registered construction worker without registration in a designated trade division is allowed to carry out construction works involving the skills of such designated trade division if :

(i) the worker carries out the work under the instruction and supervision of registered skilled/semi-skilled worker(s) of the relevant designated trade division;

(ii) the worker carries out the work under the “working across trade divisions” arrangement as permitted under the CWRO; or

(iii) the worker carries out exempted work as specified in the Construction Workers Registration (Exemption) Regulation (Cap. 583C).

 

3) Does the DWDS requirement apply to maintenance works?

The DWDS requirement is not yet effective for the following works:

(i) maintenance work, carried out under a term contract for maintenance, of specified structures (defined in Schedule 3 of the CWRO) owned by, or otherwise belonging to, a public body or a specified body (defined in Schedule 2 of the CWRO);

(ii) construction work (other than maintenance work in item (i) above) under a construction contract in which the total value of all construction operations does not exceed HK$10 million; and

(iii) class I & II minor works under the Building (Minor Works) Regulation (Cap. 123N) (Note: Class III minor works are not regulated by the CWRO).

Nevertheless, principal contractors, employers of workers, and construction workers involved in the above construction works are still required to comply with the other provisions of the CWRO that are already in effect (such as providing electronic card reading devices and submitting daily attendance records of workers).

 

4) Am I required to deploy registered skilled/semi-skilled workers to carry out the work on my site?

To determine whether construction works should be carried out by registered skilled/semi-skilled workers, the following two principles shall apply:

(i) There are currently 142 designated trade divisions as set out in Schedule 1 of the CWRO for workers to register as registered skilled/semi-skilled workers of relevant designated trade divisions according to their qualifications. If the construction work to be carried out does not fall within the scope of the 142 designated trade divisions, in general, workers carrying out such work are only required to register as registered construction workers (which may include registration as registered general workers) to satisfy the registration requirement of the CWRO.

(ii) If the construction work to be carried out will involve the skills as specified in the description of skills of a designated trade division in Schedule 1, workers carrying out such work are required to register as registered skilled/semi-skilled workers (including provisional registration) for the relevant designated trade division, unless they are working under the instruction and supervision of relevant registered skilled/semi-skilled worker(s), carrying out the work under the working across trade divisions arrangement or carrying out exempted work as specified under the Construction Workers Registration (Exemption) Regulation. See also the answer to Question 2 above.

Principal contractors of construction sites and employers of workers are advised to review the whole work process to assess if any skilled work of the designated trade divisions as stipulated in Schedule 1 of the CWRO is involved and deploy the relevant skilled workers to carry out such works as necessary.

 

5) Should vehicle drivers register as registered construction workers under the CWRO?

Drivers who drive any type of vehicles that are covered by Schedule 1 of the CWRO within, into or out of construction sites for carrying out construction work should be registered as registered skilled workers of the relevant designated trade divisions. In the circumstances that the type of vehicle the driver drives for carrying out construction work is not covered by Schedule 1 of the CWRO, the driver is still required to register as a registered construction worker (which may include registration as a registered general worker).

 

6) If I am only responsible for transporting construction materials to or from construction sites, do I need to register as a registered construction worker?

No matter whether by vehicle, vessel or other means of transportation, registration as a registered construction worker is not required if a person is only responsible for transporting construction materials to or from a construction site and does not personally carry out any construction work on the site.

 

7) If I am responsible for transporting construction materials within a construction site, do I need to register as a registered construction worker?

No matter whether by vehicle, vessel or other means of transportation, registration as a registered construction worker is required if a person is responsible for transporting construction materials within a construction site.


8) If skills of different trade divisions are involved in a work process, will it be necessary for a worker performing the work to be registered for all related trade divisions? 

Industry practitioners can evaluate the need to deploy registered skilled/semi-skilled workers by referring to the skill descriptions of the 142 designated trade divisions as stipulated in Schedule 1 of the CWRO, the working across trade divisions arrangement in the CWRO and the exempted works specified in the Construction Workers Registration (Exemption) Regulation.

Examples:

The construction of bored piles to be carried out by a Piling Operative (Bored Pile) (C330a) may involve the operation of tremie pipes to facilitate the concreting work.  If the tremie concreting step does not involve the work of a Concreter (C309) according to the description of skills in Schedule 1 of the CWRO, in general, such work might not be required to be carried out by a Concretor (C309).

The construction of bored piles to be carried out by a Piling Operative (Bored Pile) (C330a) may involve jointing reinforcement cages by using mainly clamps and U-bolts.  If the jointing work does not involve the work of a Bar Bender and Fixer (C304) according to the description of skills in Schedule 1 of the CWRO, in general, such work might not be required to be carried out by a Bar Bender and Fixer (C304).

The ground investigation work to be carried out by a Ground Investigation Operator/Driller/Borer (C320) may involve backfilling of the drill hole by delivery of material to fill up the drill-hole.  If only non-pressure grouting work is involved, it is likely not within the skill description of a Grouting Worker (C321), so in general, such work might not be required to be carried out by a Grouting Worker (C321).


9) If the skill involved in the construction work does not appear in Schedule 1 of the CWRO, how do workers register under the CWRO?

If the works to be carried out are out of the scope of the 142 designated trade divisions, in general, workers carrying out such works are only required to register as registered construction workers (which may include registration as registered general workers) to satisfy the registration requirement of the CWRO.

Example:

Erecting and dismantling of tower cranes, operating drilling machines for the construction of soil nails, installing timber supports for excavations in trial pits, operating piling machines (mini-piles / socketed steel H-piles / pipe piles), or installing bearing / movement joints for the construction of bridges do not appear in Schedule 1 of the CWRO. In general, workers carrying out such works might be only required to register as registered construction workers (which may include registration as registered general workers), to satisfy the registration requirement of the CWRO.


10) Do signalmen for hoisting operations or workers performing rigging work have to register as a Rigger/Metal Formwork Erector (C341)?

The description of skills for “Rigger/Metal Formwork Erector” (C341) in Schedule 1 of the CWRO reads “setting up lifting apparatus and equipment for lifting and lowering materials; fixing and dismantling large panel metal formwork”. By its literal meaning, this designated trade division appears to be mainly for workers who fix and dismantle large panel metal formworks and carry out the associated setting up of lifting apparatus and equipment for lifting and lowering materials. In general, signalmen for hoisting operations or workers performing rigging work might be only required to register as registered construction workers (which may include registration as registered general workers) to satisfy the registration requirement of the CWRO.


11) What actions should a principal contractor/employer of workers take so that workers, not being registered under a designated trade division, may carry out works involving skills of that designated trade division?

The principal contractor/employer of workers should:

(i) arrange registered skilled/semi-skilled worker(s) of the related designated trade division to provide instruction and supervision to registered construction workers (not being registered under such designated trade division) to carry out the construction work of the designated trade division; and

(ii) implement reasonable measures to ensure that the workers under instruction and supervision can identify the relevant skilled/semi-skilled workers, and inform the workers under instruction and supervision of such measures.

For more details, please refer to:

Guidelines on Arrangement of “Instruction and Supervision” and Code of Practice for Reasonable Measures of “Instruction and Supervision”.


12) Is there any requirement on the ratio of instructors and workers under instruction and supervision? Are they required to work near each other on the construction site?

The principal contractor/employer of workers shall, based on the actual situation of the construction site and the construction works, determine the appropriate number and ratio of instructors and workers under instruction and supervision to ensure that the instructors can effectively instruct and supervise the workers under instruction and supervision. Instructors and workers under instruction and supervision need to be on duty on the same construction site and be able to identify each other (for instance, knowing each other’s name / nickname and contact method). 


13) If workers bring along only their qualification cards such as trade test certificate to perform skilled works independently on construction sites, do they comply with the CWRO?

No.  A trade test certificate is not equivalent to a construction workers registration card.  The CWRO requires workers to hold valid construction worker registration cards while carrying out construction works on site. Only workers with registrations for the required designated trade divisions shown on/stored on their registration cards are allowed to personally carry out the skilled works of the relevant designated trade divisions on construction sites (except in prescribed circumstances as set out in the answer to Question 2 above). 


14) What are the consequences for non-compliance with the DWDS requirement?

Contraventions of the DWDS requirement are criminal offences and are liable on conviction to fines as follows:

(i) Any person who is not a registered skilled/semi-skilled worker (including provisional registration) of a designated trade division personally carrying out construction work involving the skills of that designated trade division is liable on conviction to a fine at level 3 of HK$10,000;

(ii) Any person employing another person who is not a registered skilled/semi-skilled worker (including provisional registration) for a designated trade division to personally carry out construction work involving the skills of that trade division, as well as the principal contractor of that person, are liable on conviction to a fine at level 5 of HK$50,000;

(iii) If a principal contractor or employer of workers fails to implement reasonable measures, or inform the workers under instruction and supervision of such measures, for the arrangement of instruction and supervision, the principal contractor as well as the employer of workers are liable on conviction to a fine at level 3 of HK$10,000.

 

Last Updated: 2021-01-12 15:10:00