Frequently Asked Questions

Using the new competence website

Q. If I'm from an organisation looking for competent operatives, how can I be sure everyone registered on the site has an up to date certification?
A. Anyone applying to join our list of competent operatives will be thoroughly checked out before they are accepted for inclusion, so you can be confident that anyone you find through the website does have up to date certification. The onus is on the individual to let us know of any change in circumstances though. If you're in any doubt, contact us and we'll do the checking for you.

Q. What if there is no-one registered in the area I'm looking for?
A. Contact us directly. We may know of someone who is just about to be approved for registration and could advise you accordingly.

Q. Do I have to pay to use the competence website?
A. No, the competence website is free of charge for those seeking suppliers with relevant competence.

Q. Is the competence certification applicable worldwide or is it just UK - I'm looking for operatives for our site in India?
A. The scheme is an international competence scheme supported by IECEx and is therefore applicable worldwide. However, there may be additional national requirements depending on where you are operating, so it is important to double check the local requirements as well.

Q. Do SGS United Kingdom Ltd. offer both training and competence checks?
A. Yes, we do, but we have separate teams working on each area. To find out more about our training courses, click on

Q. Why can't I just do the training and get a competence assessment at the same time?
A. It's important to keep the training and the competence separate, as it's vital that the competence checks are done in an objective way by people who have not been involved in delivering the training. That ensures that there is an independent verification of quality and standards which gives your clients the confidence that you really do know what you're doing.

Q. Where does the competence assessment take place?
A. Normally at our offices in Buxton, but it can also be done elsewhere or even overseas if it is one of the non-practical theory-based assessments


Q. How much does each competence assessment cost?
A. Our standard costs are:-
£250.00 plus VAT, per assessment.
£195.00 + VAT for modules which do not involve a practical element (Units 001, 002, 009 & 010)
£250.00 + VAT for modules which include a practical assessment (Units 003, 004, 005, 006, 007 and 008)
An IECEx Levy is applicable to all successful candidates.

Q. Do I have to pay up front or is it possible to pay in instalments?
A. Normally we ask people to pay in full at the beginning of the assessment, but if this causes you any difficulties, then please talk to us about it and we'll see what we can do.

Q. Do you take credit cards?
A. Yes, we can accept most major credit cards up to a certain limit

Q. I'm an individual wanting to pay for myself - is there any financial support available to help me cover the costs?
A. We can't offer any financial support, but we would recommend that you talk to your employer to see if they are willing to support you. In some cases, there may also be support available from your local authority or business support organisation, so it's worth contacting them to see if they can help.

Key Facts

Q. What is the difference between an operative and a responsible person?
A. An operative is the individual who carries out the specific task or area of work, whereas the responsible person is the one who has overall responsibility for ensuring that the work is completed to the appropriate standards.

Q. Is it possible for the same person to carry out both roles?
A. It is essential that the operative and responsible person roles are carried out by different people, as the verification that the work has been done to the required standards has to be conducted by someone who can take an objective view - ie not the person who actually does the work in the first place. However, it is possible for one person to perform both roles, but not on the same task. So, even if you are a designated responsible person, if you have carried out a task, you must get it verified by another responsible person.

Q. Is the competence attached to an individual or an organisation? - if an operative with a competence assessment leaves, will we have to resubmit a competency application?
A. The answer is both. When the individual is successfully assessed for competence, both the individual and the organisation are then deemed to be competent. If that individual is the only one in the organisation with that particular competence, then if he or she leaves, the organisation would need to put another individual through the competence assessment if they want to retain their accreditation.

Q. Do you have different teams for training and competence certification?
A. Yes, we do, to ensure an objective approach to both training and competence certification.

Q. How long would it take me to do all ten modules?
A. The modules are all slightly different but if you allow half a day per module, that should be enough - so for all ten, you would need a week.


SGS UK Competence

  • Rockhead Business Park
  • Staden Lane
  • Buxton
  • Derbyshire
  • SK17 9RZ
  • UK
  • + 44 (0) 1298 766600
  • + 44 (0) 1298 766601
  • Send an Enquiry

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