FAQ: Rope Access Assessments & Evaluations
After successfully completing the 4 days, minimum length, training course for the IRATA certification you’re pursuing (IRATA L1, L2, or L3) and paying the relevant fees, the training member company that trained you (like us) will pass your information onto IRATA International to register you for an assessment. The assessment ensures your ability to perform everything required of a technician at your level (all of which will be outlined in your syllabus). This syllabus will be provided during training and you will have ample time to learn and practice everything on it. The information below is based mainly from the IRATA guidelines but also applies to SPRAT. If you're not sure, please contact us.
Assessors are not affiliated with the training member company or your employer. They will have no previous knowledge of you prior to the assessment to ensure fairness and to prevent bias.
*Note to rope access employers: it is your responsibility to verify that the certification of your employees and sub-contractors is current and up-to-date.
We know that assessments can feel a little stressful, so we’ve put together a comprehensive Q & A to help clarify anything you might be unclear on.
1) What’s involved in the IRATA training assessment?
- There’s a written and practical component to every assessment. You’ll be evaluated on your ability to carry out the required tasks in a safe and effective manner. You’ll also be evaluated on your knowledge. You should be prepared to verbally discuss all the topics covered in your training course with your Assessor on the day.
- Your syllabus offers a reliable outline of what you’ll be tested on – you can count on this resource. If it’s not listed in your syllabus, you won’t be tested on it.
- During training, we will teach you each requirement separately and provide you with time to practice it afterwards; however, during the assessment you may be asked to complete 2 or more requirements congruently without breaks in between.
- Generally, we will do the written component the day before the Assessment. Then, on assessment day, you will focus on the practical component of the syllabus. Your Assessor will be working off the same syllabus as the one provided to you by us. As you complete each element, your Assessor will mark it off as complete. This will continue until you’ve finished all elements of the syllabus.
- You and your classmates will be doing your assessment at the same time but you most likely won’t be doing the same elements together. Everyone’s assessment is individual, but happening at the same time.
- Lunch will be provided for you on assessment day at Pacific Ropes. Whether you take a full break, or eat in between completed elements, will be up to the Assessor.
2) What should I expect from my IRATA Assessor?
- Your Assessor and training member company work together to ensure that your health and safety is managed appropriately during the assessment; responsibilities of each party are clarified prior to your arrival.
- Before starting the IRATA training assessment, you’ll be fully informed of all expectations. You should feel free to ask for clarification whenever you need it.
- If a discrepancy occurs (more detail on what that involves further down), you’ll be notified immediately, and briefed on the safety issue which arose from that discrepancy – every discrepancy must be agreed on by both your Assessor and yourself, and recorded every time they occur. If you commit a major discrepancy, the assessment will end immediately after that briefing to ensure your safety, and you will receive a failing grade.
- If you’ve committed a minor discrepancy, your performance is deemed inefficient, or you seem confused, your Assessor is responsible for questioning you further about the material you’re being tested on, and also potentially asking you to repeat that demonstration. The details of this additional testing will be logged in the comment box of your assessment.
3) How will I be assessed?
- If you complete all elements of the syllabus successfully, you will pass. You will also be given an attainment.
- There are five different attainment boxes on your assessment form:
- 1 Unacceptable (failing grade)
- 2 Satisfactory
- 3 Good
- 4 Very good
- 5 Excellent
- All but the indicated box (1) are passing grades. Here’s how it works: at the beginning of your assessment, you’ll be given an automatic ‘very good’ standard to start with. To keep that standard, you’ll have to complete your examination in good time, and without committing any minor discrepancies. Every minor discrepancy committed moves you down one standing. To receive an ‘excellent’ standard, you’ll have to demonstrate exceptional competence.
- Your Assessor indicates which standard you’ve achieved by ticking the appropriate box at the end of your assessment.
4) Can you talk more about that failing grade: What’s a minor discrepancy and what’s a major discrepancy?
- You can fail your assessment by either committing three minor discrepancies or one major discrepancy.
- A major discrepancy is defined by a critical safety issue, where you’ve put yourself or someone else at risk. A detailed list of all such discrepancies is included in 9.6.3 of TACS 3.1. We also include this in your training manual. These lists are not exhaustive.
- A minor discrepancy includes anything that is not a major discrepancy, but which has still compromised the safety of either yourself or another. A detailed list of all such discrepancies is included in 9.6.4 of TACS 3.1. We also include this in your training manual. These lists are not exhaustive.
- You might also receive a failing grade for a generally poor performance.
5) What happens if I fail my upgrade assessment?
- Upgrading takes place when you train and assess for the next level while your current level is still valid, or when it’s about to expire.
- If you fail an upgrade assessment, your current level remains effective until it’s expiry date – meaning you can continue to work until your certification expires.
- After discovering you’ve failed your assessment, you have a few other options. Your Assessor may give you the option of assessing for the level below yours that same day. For example, if you’re a Level 1 completing your Level 2 assessment, your Assessor will give you the option of assessing for your Level 1 that same day.
- If you then pass your Level 1 assessment, your Level 1 certification will be renewed for 3 years.
- You can also choose to not renew, and try to upgrade again within the 60-day window.
6) What happens once the assessment is over?
- Once the assessment has been completed, you’ll be informed immediately of your grade and debriefed on your performance and (if relevant) next steps by your IRATA Assessor. You’ll then be asked to sign the assessment form to confirm that the training you received (from the training member company you selected) covered all parts of the syllabus and that you accept the result and the debrief. You’ll take home the yellow copy of the assessment sheet for your own records. This yellow copy of your assessment form will act as your temporary certification and will allow you to work. This is only valid for 60 days. But by then, you should receive your certification, logbook, and ID card in the mail.
- If you haven’t reached the required standard, your IRATA Assessor may specify that you need more training and/or experience. This will be verbally explained and outlined in the comments box along with the minimum time period which must pass before applying for re-assessment is permitted. All of these recommendations must be satisfied before you’ll be considered for re-assessment.
- Please note that a failed assessment (whether completed for an upgrade or revalidation) may cause your certification to be renounced, and you may not have the option of getting it back.
7) Do I have to submit my assessment results to IRATA to get my official certification and logbook?
- No, that won`t be your responsibility. As your training provider, we will submit your assessment results to IRATA for processing. Once we submit the assessment and required fees, IRATA will process the results and mail us your certification, ID card, and logbook. Then we will mail these documents out to you. This whole process will take 4-6 weeks.
8) What’s the protocol for re-assessment?
- Re-assessment can take place no more than 60 days after the original assessment. If it’s been longer than this, you’ll need to attend another training course in full (all 4 days at the same cost).
- You’re required to bring a copy of your original assessment with you to re-assessment, so it can be verified that the recommendations outlined by your previous IRATA Assessor were followed through on. If you can’t provide this documentation, you’ll have to attend another training course in full before re-assessment can occur.
9) What happens if I fail re-assessment?
- You can re-assess again within the 60 day window of the original assessment. However, it is left up to the Assessor’s discretion how much more training you will need. If you fail your re-assessment many times, they may suggest another full week of training.
10) How long is my IRATA certification valid for after receiving a passing grade?
- All IRATA certifications are valid for 3 years – 3 ½ years (in some cases) if you revalidate early. After expiration, under no circumstances are allowed to carry out rope access operations.
- IRATA has the ability to withdraw your certification prior to its expiry date under exceptional circumstances related to safety, reckless behaviour, abuse of IRATA certification, and falsification of information (such as in your technicians' log book).
11) What is the difference between re-assessment and re-validation?
- A re-assessment is when you fail an assessment and need to re-do it again. A re-validation is when your certificate is about to expire and you go through another four days of training and a new assessment for that same level. A re-validation must occur in order to maintain a current certification after 3 years.
- If you also receive a failing grade for a re-validation, your existing certification will become invalid. There’s one caveat: depending on your performance, your Assessor may use their own discretion to give you the option of revalidating your certification at a lower level. If you are re-validating at a L1, you will just have to follow the re-assessment procedure.
12) Do my Employers get to keep my certification if they paid for my training?
- Your certification will be in your name, and not your employers – this is true even if they’ve paid your course fees. A change in employer will not have any effect on your certification.
13) Can I appeal the result of my IRATA assessment or re-assessment?
- If you feel that the standard you received on your IRATA training assessment is unjustified, you can write to the Complaints Officer at the IRATA International office, outlining all the details involved in your complaint. More information about submitting a complaint can be found here [https://irata.org/page/make-a-complaint].
- Please note: a dispute over course fees is not the responsibility of IRATA International.