Want to know how to get a NSW Builders Licence? Read this to find out!
Your Guide to the NSW Builders Licence

Your Guide to the NSW Builders Licence

All your questions answered in this easy to read guide.

How to get a builder’s licence in New South Wales

We’ll be honest straight from the start: getting a builder’s licence (or builders license as our friends overseas call it) in New South Wales is not an easy task. It’s a long process, as there are certain qualifications which you must complete before you are eligible to apply, on top of gaining the necessary experience in your chosen field. Once you’ve done all that, there are administrative hoops you will have to jump through to ensure that all of the documentation that the state requires is sent to the right department at the right time.

Why bother?

It sounds like a lot of effort to go to for a piece of paper, but it is a vital piece of paper if you want to be able to carry out your trade in New South Wales.

Residential building work, that is, any work which includes altering, adding to or constructing a home or residential property, must be carried out by a person who holds an endorsed contractor licence issued by the Department of Fair Trading, or a qualified and licensed supervisor. Residential building work includes a long list of trades, which all require the contractor to have the correct paperwork. These trades include, but are not limited to:

– Carpentry
– Bricklaying
– Plumbing
– Joinery
– Kitchen and bathroom renovations
– Making repairs to an existing residential building
– Renovating or decorating an existing home
– Structural landscaping
– Swimming pool construction
– Erection of carports, garages and sheds
– Fitting saunas and steam rooms
– Relocation of dwellings
– Building or repair of conservatories
– Pool enclosures

The New South Wales Department of Fair Trading regulates the building industry, and one of the ways it ensures fair trading is by regulating the issue of builder’s licences to tradesmen and contractors in New South Wales. You must be able to demonstrate that you have industry experience as well as professional qualifications in order to obtain a licence. The Department of Fair Trading can then ensure that all work to residential properties is being carried out by, or under the supervision of, fully trained and qualified individuals.

You cannot, therefore, carry out any of the work listed above legally in New South Wales unless you hold a builder’s licence issued by the Department of Fair Trading, or you remain under the supervision of a person with the correct licence. If you ever want to work on your own or head up your own team, you will need a builder’s licence in order to do so.

Additionally, the savvy customer these days will carry out a “builders licence NSW check” by searching on Google for something along the lines of “contractor licence NSW” or “builders licence NSW search” and if you are not licensed, you will not show up!

If you want to carry out your own search for something like “check a builders licence NSW”, you can visit here to see the real results.

How do I get my builder’s licence?

So it’s extremely important to get your builder’s licence, but where do you start?

Knowing from the start the most common reasons for builder’s licences to be rejected is the best way to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes. The road to obtaining a builder’s licence is a long one, so make sure that you don’t trip up early on.

There are a number of factors which are likely to damage your chances of getting a builder’s licence, and the most common reasons for rejected applications include:

– The applicant does not have enough experience
– The applicant’s experience is of the wrong kind (e.g. unpaid or unsupervised)
– The applicant’s qualifications are unrecognised by the Department of Fair Trading
– The applicant’s qualifications are issued by unrecognised assessing bodies
– The applicant did not complete all of the compulsory units or modules for their qualification
– The applicant’s paperwork was not completed correctly whilst obtaining experience

Avoiding the common mistakes listed above is essential to make the process of obtaining a builder’s licence as smooth as possible. Before starting a training course towards a qualification, ensure that the qualification is recognised by the Department of Fair Trading. Before starting to work for a particular person or firm, make sure that they themselves are accredited as supervisors and that your experience of working with them will be recognised towards your licence application.


Before you have even started to work towards any qualifications, you should be aware that in order to be granted a builder’s licence in New South Wales, you will have to complete the following:

– Financial checks
– Criminal checks
– Courses and training to finish the following qualifications: Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building)

– Either a valid bricklaying or carpentry supervisor certificate or contractor licence
– Or a CPC50210 Diploma of Building and Construction (Building)
– Or a relevant degree (e.g. Quantity Surveying, General Construction, Construction Management, Building, Construction Economics, Applied Science of Building). The degree must be from an Australian university and must have been completed over 4 years, with a work placement in the middle.

Be careful to check all of the modules, courses or units which make up these qualifications to ensure that they meet the requirements of the NSW Department of Fair Trading. There is a complete list of the required units available on the department’s website. If you complete a qualification without taking all of the required units, you are likely to be denied a builder’s licence.

How to apply

Once you are sure that you have all of the qualifications required, along with the necessary proof and documentation, you can obtain all of the forms you need from the NSW Department of Fair Trading website. The website also has resources to help you fill out your application correctly and checklists to make sure you have everything you need before you begin the process. If you have any questions, queries or doubts about the process, you should find all of the information you need on their website. If not, you can always give them a call to ask more specific or detailed questions.

Once you’ve filled out all of the forms, you will need to hand the documentation into your local Service NSW office or Government Access Centre, along with the following supporting information:

– Proof of identity
– Proof of address
– Documentation to prove your qualifications
– A statement from a referee (referee must be a licensed supervisor)
– Application fee (this will vary depending on the type of builder’s licence application)

Then that’s it! You wait for your application to be approved, and enjoy being able to work for yourself.