What falls under CIS?
Sub-contractors that are subject to regulations that govern the Construction Industry Scheme can be a limited company, a partnership or indeed a sole trader in his own business. And the regulations say that CIS applies to all construction operations to buildings, whether they be permanent or temporary, or to the land, whether it be permanent or temporary. So basically, every construction operation you can think of is covered by CIS.
There are, however, a number of exceptions to that and we often get asked about what falls under CIS, and what are the exceptions and there’s some really odd cases for that. The regulations say that all construction operations are covered by CIS, except the work of professionals. So, professionals are classified as architects, surveyors, consultants in building engineering and that type of operation. But of course, there’s always an anomaly with that; it stands unless those professionals are involved in the management of a site, for instance, if an architect is operating as a developer or indeed, if he is acting as a site supervisor, he will be caught by CIS. So with all those professional operations, if they are purely in a consultative role, they are outside of CIS. If they are providing management services within an operation, they may well be caught by CIS – unless you’re in the planning role as planning is always excluded from CIS.
Is CIS decided on a job-by-job basis, rather than a profession?
Pretty much. Yes, most architects, most surveyors will automatically be excluded from CIS unless they are, like I say, involved in managing that construction operation. Now, one of the other issues as well is that the regulations apply to all buildings and structures whether they be permanent or temporary, but there are exceptions along the temporary role as well: temporary structures that are exhibition stands, film or TV sets, theatre sets, marquees or the provision of portable offices are all considered to be outside of CIS. The anomaly, of course, is that if a portable office or building is being provided for a construction site, all of those portable buildings are considered to be part of what falls under CIS, because they are an integral part of the construction operation.