Your State-by-State Guide to Getting a Builders' Licence in Australia

by admin
Posted: November 06, 2016

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In Australia, each state has different requirements for builders looking to get licensed. These can range from education and experience to a number of references and financial resources. 

It’s important that you understand what requirements you need to meet before you commit to the process of getting a builders licence. Knowing what’s required of you will save you time and frustration in the long run.

To help you with this, we’ve compiled a rough guide to each state’s requirements for getting a builders’ licence and links to further information.

Please note: This information is subject to change. Be sure to check with the regulating bodies, listed below, for the most up-to-date requirements.

NSW Builders Licence

Three young male builders and construction workers who have a builders licence, hat and construction vests

The process of getting a builders' licence in New South Wales is managed and regulated by the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

Requirements to get your licence

Experience

You must have at least 2 years’ relevant industry experience working in a wide range of building construction work. Also, your experience must run across all stages of construction. 

You can gain these 2 years’ experience:

  • As an employee under the supervision of a licensed builder
  • As a sub-contractor who is appointed the supervisor of a (company or partnership class) Contractor Licence. Here, your experience will be officially acknowledged only if you are contracted to work for a licensed builder.
  • A sub-contractor who holds an Endorsed (individual class) Contractor Licence. Here, your experience will be officially acknowledged only if you are contracted to work for a licensed builder.

Your experience, whether as an employee or as a sub-contractor, must be paid. Unpaid work will not be counted as “experience” and cannot be used to support your application. 

  • You don’t need to have done the 2 years’ experience all in one chunk. If you had a few months in between jobs, that’s fine. However, you need to prove you have 2 years’ full-time equivalent experience over a maximum of 10 years (from the date of application).
  • The licensed builder/s who provide references for your experience must have held a Qualified Supervisor Certificate or Individual Contractor Licence (Q) in the class of General Building Work issued by NSW Fair Trading during the period of time of your stated experience. 

Qualifications

In addition to your 2 years’ experience, you will also need to gain a Certificate IV in Building and Construction.

Plus, one of the following:

  • A current Carpentry or Bricklaying Contractor Licence or Supervisor Certificate, or an approved qualification that would allow the issue of such a licence.
  • Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) BCG50206 or CPC50208.
  • Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) CPC50210.
  • Bachelor of Housing from an Australian University or a Degree in Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, Architecture, Housing, Construction, Construction Management, Construction Economics, Applied Science (Building), Quantity Surveying.
  • Degree in Building, Construction, Construction Management, Construction Economics, Applied Science (Building), or Quantity Surveying.

For more information on applying for a NSW Builders' Licence, or to learn more about the process, visit NSW Fair Trading. 

VIC Builders Licence

Getting a builders licence with 3 construction workers, architects standing on second floor of building

In Victoria, the process of getting a builders’ licence is managed and regulated by the Victorian Building Authority. Here, a builders’ licence is actually called builders’ registration.

There are a number of different types of builders’ registration in the State, with the most common types including: 

  • Domestic Builder (Limited)
  • Domestic Builder (Unlimited)  
  • Domestic Builder (Manager)
  • Commercial Builder (Limited)
  • Commercial Builder (Unlimited) 

It’s important that applicants know exactly which registration type they want to secure, as they will only be able to work on sites and projects that they are registered for.

For example, if you secure a Domestic Builder (Limited) registration, you cannot work on commercial construction sites as a builder. 

There are a number of other registration types, and for a full list, as well as information on what each type allows builders to do, visit the Victorian Builder’s Association website. 

For each type of registration, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least 3 years’ full-time experience in the building registration category you are applying for (commercial, domestic, etc.). 
  • Complete an application form with proof of experience, etc.
  • Undergo a written test and in some cases an interview.
  • Have a thorough knowledge of the national building codes. 

For more specific information on the registration process for each category, visit the VBA

WA Builders Licence

Western Australia’s builder licensing is looked after by the Western Australian Building Commission

Again, as with other states, WA has a number of licence types. The main two are:

Licensed Building Practitioner

Practitioner registration is for individuals. It allows a person to be the nominated supervisor of a registered building contractor and to use the title 'registered building practitioner'. A practitioner may not provide building services directly to another person.

Licensed Building Contractor 

Contractor registration is for individuals, partnerships and companies that intend to trade as builders. 

Within these categories, there are a number of sub-categories of licence type. Be sure to investigate the best category to match what you are wanting to use your licence for, before you apply. 

To apply for either licence type, generally, you will need:

  • Experience (between 5 – 7 years, depending on licence sub-type).
  • Formal qualifications related to the class of licence you are going for.
  • References.
  • Must not have been disqualified from practising trade, occupation or business in Australia.
  • To demonstrate possession of sufficient financial resources.

For a comprehensive list of requirements, related to the licence you need, visit the Western Australia Building Commission

SA Builders Licence

Happy builders

Overseeing builders licensing in South Australia is the Government of South Australia Consumer and Business Services. Again, there are a number of builder licensing pathways, the main two of which are: 

Within those licenses, you will need to select which building and construction speciality you will operate under. Each speciality will require different levels of experience as well as other requirements. 

Generally, you will need:

  • Experience (number of years will depend on licence type).
  • A national police check.
  • To demonstrate possession of sufficient financial resources (will depend on which licence, but generally ranges between $10,000 in net assets to $100,000 in net assets).
  • Must not have been disqualified from practising trade, occupation or business in Australia.

For full licence details and conditions, www.cbs.sa.gov.au

QLD Builders Licence

Construction workers in orange vests

Builders’ licensing in Queensland is looked after by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission

Again, there are a number of builders’ licenses to choose from and you will need to have a careful look at the conditions on the QBCC website, to select the right one for you. 

Generally, you will need:

  • Between 2 - 4 years’ experience.
  • Formal qualifications related to the class of licence you are going for.
  • Three written references.
  • Financial information proving that you meet the minimum financial requirements.
  • Proof of identity.
  • If contracting under a trading name, a current copy of your Record of Registration from ASIC.
  • If contracting under a partnership – proof of the business partnership.

For full licence details and conditions, http://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au

NT Builders Licence 

Multi coloured construction builder hats

Overseeing builders licencing in the Northern Territory is the Building Practitioners Board

There are a number of different licence types including: 

Generally, you will need to meet the following criteria to apply for a licence:

  • Certificate IV in Building and Construction.
  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience.
  • Financial information proving that you meet the minimum financial requirements.
  • Must not have been disqualified from practising trade, occupation or business in Australia.

For full licensing requirements, check out www.bpb.nt.gov.au.

TAS Builders Licence

Gary the tradie

The Department of Justice (Tasmania) looks after builders’ licensing in the State. 

There currently a number of classes of builders’ licenses, and you should carefully look at what each licence allows you to do, before settling on the right one for you. 

Builder accreditation is divided into four categories:

  1. Builder
  2. Construction Manager
  3. Fire Protection Services Builder
  4. Demolisher

There are three classes within each category:

  1. Low rise
  2. Medium rise
  3. Open

When applying for your licence you will need: 

Qualifications 

Experience 

  • Low rise – 2 years with a building trade qualification; 4 years without a building trade qualification.
  • Medium rise – 2 years with a building trade qualification; 4 years without a building trade qualification.
  • Open – 3 years with a building trade qualification; 6 years without a building trade qualification.

References

  • Two detailed references from accredited practitioners or industry professionals (these may be past or present employers).

You will also need:

  • Insurance
  • Financial information proving that you meet the minimum financial requirements.
  • Applicants may also be required to attend an interview.

ACT Builders Licence

The process of applying for a builders licence in the ACT is managed and regulated by the ACT Government Department of Environment and Sustainable Development.

There are four types of builders licence classes in the ACT: A, B, C and D.

  • Class A Builder (unlimited)
  • Class B Builder (medium rise)
  • Class C Builder (low rise/residential)
  • Class D Builder

Each licence class allows the holder to complete different types of building work. Find out more about the ACT builders licence classes here. You must meet a range of different requirements before you can apply for any class of licence.

Qualifications 

Class A Builder – A Bachelor degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Masters degree or Doctoral degree in Building

Class B Builder Diploma of Building and Construction (Building)

Class C Builder  – A Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) or a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building), and a written examination. Before your license is issued, you must undertake and pass, with a mark of 80% or above, a written examination set by the Construction Occupations Registrar. More information on the written exam here.

Class D Builder – No formal qualifications required.

Experience 

Class A Builder – At least 2 years’ full time building work experience. 1 year of that experience must have been completed after your qualification was issued.  

Class B Builder – At least 2 years’ full time building work experience. 1 year of that experience must have been completed after your qualification was issued. 

Class C Builder – At least 2 years’ full time building work experience. 1 year of that experience must have been completed after your qualification was issued. 

Class D Builder – 3 years’ full time building work experience

Find the full requirements for each ACT builders licence class here.


So there you have it, your guide to licensing in Australia. Open Colleges offers a number of building and construction courses which not only introduce you to the industry but also teach you necessary skills and knowledge to work in the industry, help you get off the tools and meet education components required for licensing in several states. 

Want to be a licensed builder, site supervisor or construction manager? Tap into the booming construction industry and learn more about Open Colleges' Building and Construction courses or download your free construction course guide via the form below.

 

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