Everything you need to know about Trade Licensing

Becoming a licensed tradesperson is an essential part of building your reputation and assuring your clients that you are up to the job. One of the first steps in getting your licence is proving you have the relevant skills. Getting a nationally recognised qualification through Best Option Training is a great way to do that.

About the Bricklaying Licence

Australia’s booming property market has seen an increase in building activity, which has fueled a spiraling demand for bricklayers. You can now pave your way to a successful career in the construction industry, or become a self-employed building contractor. We will show you how to build your future one brick at a time. It all starts with the appropriate registration and bricklaying licence.

Bricklaying is a skilled trade, which requires the tradesperson to know how to prepare the required building materials needed to create a foundation and mix concrete. You must know how to work with different materials, including shaping, polishing and cutting it. A typical bricklaying job will involve:

  • surface preparation,
  • assembly
  • installation
  • reinforcement
  • and repair.

Each aspect of the project will require knowledge, skills, and experience and a bricklaying licence will set you apart from the competition in your client’s’ perception.

Qualifications required to obtain a bricklaying licence will include a trade certificate and industry experience. If you don’t have formal bricklaying training or education, but you do have several years of experience in the field, you can obtain your formal, nationally recognised qualification via Recognition of Prior Learning.

Do I Really Need a Bricklaying Licence?

Most states and territories will require a bricklaying licence or building practitioner registration, which will ensure that the tradesperson or bricklayer can adhere to Australian quality standards.

In some states or territories, bricklayers must meet certain registration requirements or have concrete licences, while others will require that you register as a building practitioner to complete projects up to a certain value or if certain conditions apply.

A bricklaying licence or registration will help you meet the requirements of the building commission or similar regulating body, to avoid penalties, sanctions and fines. It enables you to advertise, and legally sign contracts and agreements – all of which will help you win bigger contracts to gain leverage in the bricklaying industry.

How to Apply for a Bricklaying Licence

The State or Territory’s Building Commission regulates bricklayer’s licensing. While the process differs by state, most require certain qualifications, or completion of certain units within the following qualifications:

Additionally, evidence of practical experience will be required, and that will be based on the length of time the individual has worked in a relevant role, as well as the type of work performed.

Bricklayers with practical experience may have their experience, knowledge, and skills assessed in order to receive a qualification through RPL instead of having to complete the qualifications again.

Please contact your state’s licensing body for up to date information as requirements do change.

Builders Licence Facts

Building & Construction is Australia’s third-largest industry, and employs approximately 9% of the country’s total workforce in full time and part time capacity. It is forecast that this number will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Individuals who wish to work as builders in Australia, must obtain trade licensing for the relevant state. Continue reading to find out how to obtain an Australian Builders Licence for your state in order to enhance your employment prospects.

States and Territories have different requirements regarding builder’s licences and you must be licensed by the state in which you wish to work.
In order to become a licensed builder, you must have:

  • a trade certificate (or equivalent diploma)
  • a minimum of 2 years relevant industry experience

The process can be lengthy, especially for individuals who are already working within the industry, having amassed a wealth of experience and practical skills. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) offers a legitimate, cost-effective alternative to repeating units of competency and it can ultimately fast-track the process to obtaining a builder’s license.
RPL uses already acquired skills as evidence to prove competency against units within the target qualification. RPL typically requires no classroom attendance or exams and gives you the opportunity to become eligible for the qualification you deserve.
Individuals who do not have the experience will still have to follow the standard procedure of obtaining their basic qualifications from an accredited institution, which will involve classroom study and practical experience in a workshop setting.

Do I Really Need a Builders Licence?

Anyone who wishes to work as a builder in the construction industry, needs a builder’s licence. Without it, you may not:

  • carry out any building work;
  • submit any bids or quotes on any jobs;
  • sign building contracts;
  • perform any building work in your personal capacity.

Unlicensed individuals who are found to contravene the law will receive significant penalties or fines, and – depending on the state – will not be eligible to apply for a license in the future under any circumstances.

How to Apply for a Builder’s Licence

The State or Territory’s Building Commission regulates builder’s licensing. While the process differs by state, most require certain qualifications, or completion of certain units within the following qualifications:

Additionally, evidence of practical experience will be required, and that will be based on the length of time the individual has worked in a relevant role, as well as the type of work performed.
Builders with practical experience may have their experience, knowledge, and skills assessed in order to receive a qualification through RPL instead of having to complete the qualifications again.
An individual with extensive experience in bricklaying or carpentry, but no formal qualification, could use the process of RPL to effectively complete his full qualification based on existing experience within a matter of weeks.
There is no difference in legitimacy between the two pathways (traditional or RPL), as both deliver the same qualification. RPL simply rewards deserving individuals who have amassed a great deal of experience over time at a fraction of the cost and in a more cost-effective way.

Please contact your state’s licensing body for up to date information as requirements do change.

About the Carpentry Licence

Carpentry is a critical component of Australia’s thriving and rapidly growing building and construction industry. It serves both the commercial and residential markets, and enjoys a positive outlook over the next few years across the country.

Carpentry is a specialist industry which requires extensive training in various fields. The hands-on practical experience can be acquired through both formal education from accredited training institutions, as well as practical experience and skills building. The latter can be converted into a nationally recognised qualification through a Recognition of Prior Learning pathway.
Skilled carpenters work directly with clients, or may be subcontracted to building contractors. Each state and territory has its own licensing and registration requirements. Some may issue carpentry licences while others require registration with accredited building practitioners and work under licensed builder supervision.
Competency and aptitude are crucial skills in the highly specialised carpentry trade. A career in carpentry typically starts with an apprenticeship before the individual becomes a journeyman. The ultimate goal is to reach the level of master carpenter.
Your registration or carpentry licence gives clients the guarantee that you have the required experience and qualifications to bid on larger contracts, carry out this specific area of building work, and to generally build your reputation as a professional carpenter.
Any carpenter who fails to operate under a proper licence may be sanctioned through penalties or fines, depending on the territory or state. Penalisation will result in difficulty obtaining a carpentry licence in future.

How to Apply

While each state and territory has its own compliance requirements and qualifications for a carpentry licence, the Certificate III in Carpentry and Joinery or Certificate III in Carpentry are typically required. If you have not obtained these qualifications through the typical TAFE certificate or an equivalent diploma, you may obtain the qualification through recognition of prior learning. RPL recognises the experience and skills you developed while learning the trade.
Sufficient evidence of years of hands-on practical training and experience will go a long way towards proving your competency in the carpentry trade.
Assessment of your skills via RPL enables you to save time and money, as you don’t have to take up a course from start to finish. By proving that you have met the outcomes of the qualification, you could become qualified in a matter of weeks. RPL is a legitimate pathway that allows you to achieve your qualification based on experience gained already, thus saving on study time.

Please contact your state’s licensing body for up to date information as requirements do change.

Concreting License

The concreting trade is a crucial part of Australia’s building and construction industry, and involves concrete laying or placement for falsework and formwork. In spite of the constant demand, the concreting trade is subject to high quality standards to ensure the structural integrity and safety of building.
Tradespersons are urged to obtain a concreting licence in order to take full advantage of business and or employment opportunities within the trade.
Below, we provide guidelines for applying for a concreting license in your chosen state.
In order to perform any concreting or building work, tradespeople must be duly licenced according to state or territory licensing regulations. While the state and territory policies vary, all concreters must meet nationally recognised standards and guidelines.
Building contractors must have a concreting licence in order to perform any general concreting work. Licensing serves to identify a business in the building and construction industry, and provides protection to clients as well as to the tradesperson.
Concreters who fail to operate with a licence may face stiff penalties.

Applying for a Concreting Licence

Licensing procedures vary by state or territory, which means that some states licence concreters individually, while other jurisdictions categorise it under the building trade. In most cases, states will require a concreter to complete an apprenticeship with a licensed concreter, as well as:

Individuals who do not have a formal qualification may have obtained significant concreting skills and experience, in which case they may receive qualification equivalent skills recognition through a Recognition of Prior Learning process. RPL will open up the same licensing and employment opportunities as the above qualifications.

Please contact your state’s licensing body for up to date information as requirements do change.

Australian Painting Licence

Australia’s painting and decorating trade is growing steadily along with the ever-burgeoning construction industry. As more homes are built, the demand for qualified painters increases, too.
Due to the low barrier to entry into the painting trade, professionals can easily enter and or exit according to demand. This makes the trade highly competitive.
In order to take advantage of employment prospects in the painting and decorating trade, it is important to carry a painting licence, which will afford you the right to operate legally in Australia.
Below, we will lay out the various ways in which you can get the recognition you deserve as a professional painter, and to maximize employment and profit opportunities.

A painting licence permits you to run your painting and decorating business in the state or territory in which you are registered.
Only suitably qualified painters will be granted such a licence. The requirements vary depending on your state, but most states require that painters have one of the following nationally recognised qualifications in the painting industry:

Do I Really Need a Painting Licence?

States and territories have strict regulations in place, requiring painters to be licensed or registered before advertising, contracting or subcontracting painting jobs. Registration is a means for identifying your business and holding you accountable for your work and to protect consumers.
Any unlicensed individual who contracts a painting project may be fined, prosecuted or otherwise penalised. In most cases, individuals who flout the regulations will be banned from obtaining a licence in the future.

Applying for a Painting Licence

Each state has its own processes and requirements for obtaining a painters licence, and specific organisations handle the registration process. You will have to present your qualifications during application.
If you have the required experience and skills, but you don’t have a complete qualification, you may consider using Recognition of Prior Learning as a means to obtain an equivalent qualification without having to spend time, effort and money on unnecessary classroom work.

Please contact your state’s licensing body for up to date information as requirements do change.

About the Dry Plastering Licence

Ceilings and plastering are crucial elements within the construction industry, which is rapidly growing in Australia. Both wet and dry plastering require licensing and registration, the rules of which differ amongst the states and territories.
In recent years, the demand has grown significantly for installation of cornice products and plasterboard, thus presenting many employment prospects within the construction industry. The industry growth is especially exciting for licenced and registered individuals.
Keep reading to find out how to register and obtain a dry plastering licence in your state.

In order to legally operate in Australia, qualified contractors need a plastering licence. A dry plastering licence allows you to carry out a variety of dry plastering activities and installations, including false and suspended ceilings, cornices, fibrous cement sheeting, and fibrous plaster sheeting. In some states, wet and dry plastering are considered the same trade.
In order to advertise, contract, or subcontract to carry out residential construction and trade work, you will need a dry plastering licence. Residential building work could include building construction, repairs, renovations, and alterations, as well as construction of garages and swimming pools.
If you have building experience and skills, but no formal certificates or diplomas, you could obtain a nationally recognised qualification using recognition of prior learning (RPL).

How to Apply

Each state has its own procedures for the dry plastering licence application, but in most cases, you will need the appropriate qualifications to be deemed eligible for a dry plastering licence. CPC31211 Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining is the nationally recognised qualification, however, other qualifications are also recognised, including:

  • Certificate III in Fibrous Plaster and Plasterboard Trade TAFE course #0115
  • Qualification 11764 Certificate III in Plastering, Fibrous and Plasterboard
  • Trade TAFE course #2153BCG30298 Certificate III in General Construction (Wall and Ceiling Lining) TAFE course #8062
  • BCG31203 Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining
  • CPC31208 Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining

There are many ways to obtain a dry plastering licence in Australia. Classroom study is the most common option. You could also enrol in an apprenticeship and have the experience evaluated and credited towards an equivalent qualification.
If you have several years of experience, but you do not have a formal qualification, you may be able to have your experience and skills assessed through recognition of prior learning in order to achieve an equivalent qualification.

Please contact your state’s licensing body for up to date information as requirements do change.

If you’re in need of a builders licence to work in Australia, check out this state-by-state guide to getting licensed in construction and building.

New South Wales Licence Types and Registration

To apply, you will need to decide which type of licence you need to acquire. The three types available in NSW are as follows (depending on whether you want to contract or supervise building work):

A contractor licence is issued for one or three years. You are allowed to do only the types of work described on your licence.

A qualified supervisor certificate is issued for three years and does not allow you to contract for work.

An endorsed contractor licence. If you apply for a contractor licence and also have the qualifications and experience needed for a qualified supervisor, you are eligible to get an endorsed contractor licence.

The following will be required when you apply to get the licence:

  • details of your employment and experience
  • an original copy of your qualification
  • details of any other licences or certificates you hold.

Be aware that this is not an exhaustive list of required documents. Please visit the Building (general building work) page on the NSW Department of Fair Trading website for full details.

Required Experience

When it comes to experience, you are required to have worked as an employee, a subcontractor or a nominated supervisor (who holds a certificate of a qualified supervisor).

Important note: to attain your Residential Builders Licence in NSW, you will also need to gain at least 24 months experience as a bona fide employee under a licensed builder (working on residential sites and in a range of building works). The employer must confirm your experience on the referee’s statement form. In addition, you must have been paid with money for the work you did.

Required Qualification

It’s required that you meet one of the two qualification criteria below.

  1. Certificate IV in Building and Construction– Note that your training must contain all of the required units. Check Fair Trading’s website for the full list of units.

Plus any of the following:

  • – Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) BCG50206 or CPC50208;
  • – Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) CPC50210(all of the units required by the NSW Department of Fair Trading must be included in the training you decide to take);
  • – a current bricklaying or carpentry contractor licence or qualified supervisor certificate;
  • – Bachelor of Housing from an Australian university or a degree in a related field from an Australian university.
  1. A degree from an Australian university (in building, construction, construction project management, construction management, applied science (building), quantity surveying, or construction economics). The degree should require the applicant “to undertake the equivalent of four years’ full time study and a mandatory work placement”.

Finally, you must lodge your application in person at a Service NSW centre.

Victoria Licence Types and Registration

The process of issuing a builders’ licence in Victoria is managed by the Victorian Building Authority.

Classes of Registration

Different categories are offered for building practitioners (Engineer, Building Inspector, Quantity Surveyor, etc.).

For Builders, three subtypes of registration are outlined:

Here is a quick explanation in terms of limited and unlimited registrations.

A Domestic Builders Licence (limited) outlines a specific area where you are qualified to accomplish tasks. Your responsibilities may be limited to the bathroom, kitchen and laundry renovation, the construction of swimming pools and spas, waterproofing, earthworks and excavation work, the construction of private bushfire shelters, etc.

Conversely, when your licence card reads “Unlimited”, it means your work is not limited by any specific area in building construction. Check the website’s What is Domestic building work page for more details.

The Registration Process

Here is a chart that represents the process of registration: from submitting your qualifications and technical referee reports to presenting police check and declarations. This process varies across categories but the main steps are as follows:

Registration process for VIC Builders Licence

Image source: Victorian Building Authority

To assist you with the registration process, the VBA conducts free registration information seminars. You are encouraged to book into a relevant seminar and attend it before submitting your application.

Required Qualification and Experience

To qualify for registration as a domestic builder (unlimited), you will need the following qualification:

  1. The successful completion of one of the qualifications below:
  • a Bachelor of Construction Management and Economics from Holmesglen,
  • a Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours) from Deakin University,
  • diploma of building and construction (building) (CPC50210), and
  1. At least 3 years of practical experience.

For domestic builder (limited), the qualification and experience requirements vary depending on the component or class of domestic building work. The necessary information for each specific case is outlined in Experience Statements available on Victorian Building Authority’s page.

Queensland Licence Types and Registration

Builders’ licensing in Queensland is managed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

In Queensland, the building work you do must be covered by your licence. Note that for some work, you need more than one licence class.

You need a licence to carry out:

  • any building work valued over $3,300.
  • building work valued over $1,100 where it involves Hydraulic Services Design.
  • building work of any value where it involves drainage, plumbing, gas fitting, termite management, fire protection, site classification, etc.

QBCC also outlines the cases when you don’t need to acquire a licence. Specific details should be checked in case of an incidental work,  sub-trade contractingcommercial construction, etc.

Licence Classes

Several classes of licencing are offered by QBCC, including:

  • Builders
  • Builder Restricted
  • Building Design
  • Completed Residential Building Inspection
  • Trade Contractor
  • Occupational plumbing and draining licences
  • Fire protection licences

For each subcategory, check the page of Licence Classes to find the information you need.

Generally, those applying need to have:

  • Between 2 to 4 years of experience;
  • Formal qualifications (most of the qualifications will require to complete Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) CPC40110. Make sure the certificate you complete includes all of the units required by the state authority);
  • Three references;
  • Proof of financial stability;
  • Proof of identity;
  • Record of registration;
  • Proof of business partnership.

Western Australia Licence Types and Registration

If you want to get your builders licence in WA, Western Australian Building Commission is the official body you should check all of the information with.

Registration and Licence Types

Only a registered building practitioner or a registered building contractor can perform particular building work in WA․

The Western Australian Building Commission offers two types of licensing:

To apply for registration as a building practitioner, you must complete the application form for the chosen set. There are five sets, each with different requirements. Carefully study the specifics of each and pick the one that suits your qualifications and experience most.

To apply for registration as a building contractor, first of all make sure you have checked the registration details and application guidelines.

Note that registered practitioners and contractors must renew their registrations every three years.

Qualification and Experience

You will need to document your qualifications and experience. Check out the page “Documenting your experience and qualifications” for more information.

To be registered, you will need to present your qualifications and experience.

South Australia Licence Types and Registration

To acquire your builders licence in South Australia, you need to apply via the Consumer and Business Services.

The two main types of builders licencing options are:

The first one allows you “to work in construction, trade, demolition, site preparation and restoration and repairs”.

The second type of professionals “make sure that all building work performed meets the required building standards”.

Check the full list of builders’ responsibilities for more information.

Required Qualifications and Experience

To become a building work contractor, generally you will need:

  • a copy of your National Police Certificate (NPC) no more than 12 months old;
  • to have sufficient financial resources: at least $10,000 in net assets;
  • to choose one of the 10 different options for requirements outlined for building work contractors;
  • to have sufficient business knowledge.

As an applicant for a building work supervisor’s registration, you will need:

  • copies of trade certificates (or other qualifications);
  • technical qualifications;
  • evidence of experience.

The knowledge and experience needed to become a supervisor includes the following major areas: building work management, building technology, and legislative requirements.

Northern Territory Licence Types and Registration

If you want to work as a builder or building certifier, or set up a building company in the Northern Territory, you must register with the Building Practitioners Board which offers a number of different licence types including:

  • Building Contractor Residential (Restricted)
  • Building Contractor Residential (Unrestricted)

Acquiring these licences will allow you to accomplish the following types of work in NT:

  • new single houses, duplexes, new residential units, townhouses;
  • verandas, garages and carports;
  • extensions to existing single houses and residential units;
  • retaining walls

Tasmania Licence Types and Registration

The Department of Justice (Tasmania) is responsible for builders’ licensing which is regulated by the department’s business unit Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS).

In Tasmania, the builders licence is offered in three categories:

  • builder;
  • fire protection service builder; and
  • demolisher.

They divide each licence into three classes: low rise, medium rise and open.

The requirements depend on what class you wish to obtain. You will also need to provide two references, proof of insurance, financial information, and go through an interview.

To apply for a licence or renew the existing one, go to builder’s licence for eligibility and competency requirements, a checklist for builders licence, and more.

Canberra (ACT) Licence Types and Registration

The regulator of builders’ licensing in the ACT is Environment, Planning and Land Services.

To apply for a builders licence in the ACT, you need to choose one of the following five classes:

  • Class A Builder (unlimited): for building work of unlimited height
  • Class B Builder (medium rise: buildings that are three storeys or lower)
  • Class C Builder (low rise residential: buildings that are two storeys and lower)
  • Class D Builder: for non-structural basic building work
  • Owner–builder licence (class 1, class 2 or class 10 buildings)

Note that specialist building work is not included in the above-mentioned classes. Specialist building work involves demolition of a building and installation of a swimming pool.

Contact Best Option Training to learn more.

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