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Getting a Builders' Licence in Australia 

Do you know about the impact of the Australian construction industry on the national GDP? The Australian Industry and Skills Committee reveals that it’s an amazing 9% contribution. There is no doubt that the construction industry is growing, and so is the demand for skilled builders. Lately, we are seeing a growing interest in this field.      

In fact, we’ve been getting many questions about getting a builders’ licence in Australia. But becoming a licenced builder can seem confusing. There are separate rules for different states and territories. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Let’s go through the basic requirements of licencing.  

Why You Should Consider Getting a Builders’ Licence in Australia 

To work as a builder in Australia, you’ll need a licence or registration. With severe skill shortages and very high demand, becoming a licenced builder is a lucrative career option. Becoming a licenced builder also lets you explore other interesting options. You can even consider starting your own business!  

In a typical application process, your qualifications and experience will be assessed. Each regulating authority will have distinct requirements.  

This guide is meant to be an overview of the licencing process. Please refer to the official sources for the latest and most accurate information.  

The Process of Licence or Registration  

Let’s talk about the experience and qualification requirements for getting a builders’ licence in Australia. We will discuss the regulations of every state and territory separately.   

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)  

Licence types: The four licence classes in ACT are divided into A, B, C and D classes. The first three classes let you work on buildings having unlimited heights, buildings with three storeys or lower and low-rise residential structures respectively. Class D licence is for basic construction work (not any structure). There is also a separate owner-builder licence.  

Experience: For the first three classes, you’ll need 2 years of work experience as a builder. Class D requires 3 years. The experience has to be full-time and documented.  

Qualification: Tertiary qualification, according to the Australian Qualifications Framework Advisory, is necessary for Class A. For Class B you need a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) or a tertiary qualification. It’s the same for Class C but you also have the option of a Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building).  

Class D builders do not need any formal qualifications.   

Examination: The Construction Occupations Registrar arranges written examinations for the first three classes. There is no need for any examination for Class D.  

Licencing/registration body: ACT Planning and Land Authority – Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate  

New South Wales (NSW)  

Licence types: The three main types of licences in NSW are building contractor licences, tradesperson certificates, and owner-builder permits.  

Experience: In NSW, the minimum requirement is relevant industry experience of 2 years. You should obtain it no earlier than the last 10 years (from the date of application). Your work experience should be supervised by licenced professionals.  

Qualification: A VET qualification like a Certificate IV in Building and Construction, along with a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). You can also have a Bachelor of Housing or a Civil Engineering Degree (or a related degree) in place of the diploma.  

Alternatively, you can pursue a four-year degree at an Australian university. The degree should be related to the building and construction industry.  

Licencing/registration body: Office of Fair Trading  

Northern Territory (NT)  

Licence types: In this territory, you’ll need a Building Contractor Residential Licence. You can apply for owner-builder or individual types.  

Experience: At least 3 years of practical experience is necessary. Your experience has to show that you participated in relevant building projects.  

Qualification: A Certificate IV in Building and Construction or an equivalent qualification is needed. You have to provide a resume with your experience details and at least 3 written references. Registered builders have to provide these references. You’ll also need to prove that you have net tangible assets worth $50,000 minimum.   

Licencing/registration body: Building Practitioners Board  

Queensland (QLD)  

Licence types: In QLD, there are separate licences for low-rise, medium-rise and open builders.  

Experience: At least 4 years of experience is necessary. However, qualified carpenters and bricklayers/blocklayers only require 2 years of work experience.   

Qualification: You will need a Certificate IV in Building and Construction or an equivalent course. One can also obtain RPL as a builder to get licenced in QLD. Site supervisors have additional competency requirements.  

You also have to provide three written references to prove your supervisory experience. Three separate builders have to provide these references.  

Licencing/registration body: Queensland Building and Construction Commission  

South Australia (SA)  

Licence types: Building Works Supervisor Registration is necessary for working on any residential building project in SA.   

Experience: It depends on your level of registration and you have to provide details of your previous work.   

Qualification: SA requires you to complete specific units of competency from an RTO. These units of competency are usually included in the common building qualifications. For details, refer to the licencing body in SA.   

Licencing/registration body: South Australia Consumer and Business Services  

Tasmania (TAS)  

Licence types: A Builder (General Construction) licence is required for builders in Tasmania.  

Experience: At least 4 years of relevant work experience is mandatory. If you have a Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building), only 2 years of experience is required.   

One needs to have 6 years of experience for the position of builder (open). 3 years is needed for those with an advanced degree or diploma in building.  

Qualification: For all positions except builder (open), you will need a Certificate IV in Building and Construction. For open building projects, an advanced degree or diploma in building is necessary.  

Licencing/registration body: Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS)  

Victoria (VIC)   

Licence types: A Domestic Builder Registration is required for builders in Victoria. It can be classified into limited and unlimited types. Limited registration is required for simple building work. Unlimited registration is necessary for major building work.   

Experience: At least 2 years of practical experience is mandatory for limited registration. For the unlimited type, you need to have 3 years of practical experience minimum.   

Qualification: Usually, a builder in Victoria will have a Certificate IV in Building and Construction. For more information, contact the relevant licencing body.  

Licencing/registration body: Victorian Building Authority (VBA)  

Western Australia (WA)  

Licence types: A Building Practitioner Registration is necessary for Western Australia.  

Experience: At least 7 years of building experience is required.  

Qualification: A Diploma in Building and Construction (Building) is necessary to become a builder in Western Australia.  

Licencing/registration body: Western Australia Building Commission  

Conclusion  

We hope that this informative guide will help you in getting a builders’ licence in Australia. Remember to check the official sources for any updates. Go through every website patiently and take notes if necessary. Good luck!   

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