But let’s zoom in on Queensland. Here are three essential things to accomplish. You’ll need to choose the appropriate building and construction course, check if you meet the qualification and experience requirements, and submit the full package of the necessary documents.
If you already have a licence from another state, you’ll have to go through a different process to have your licence validated.
When you Need a Builders Licence in Queensland
In Queensland, any company or individual who plans to supervise or carry out building work that has a total value of $3,300 or more must have a builders licence. The mentioned price includes labour costs and any materials needed.
Any licensees who strictly contract with sub-contractors (instead of the public or builders) are not required to have a builders licence.
But the QBCC requires any person who does building work within the scope of the class range listed below to hold a valid builders licence. These include:
Building Design Low Rise, Medium Rise or Open
Chemical Termite Management
Completed Residential Building Inspection
Plumbing and Drainage
Building work valued over $1,100 where it involves Hydraulic Services Design
Any building work valued over $3,300
When you don’t need a Builders Licence in Queensland
QBCC outlines the following cases when you don’t need a builders licence.
If you carry out work on your own property where the work is valued at no more than $11,000.
If you are an owner builder carrying out building work under a permit.
If you are an employee of a licensee where your employer holds the correct QBCC licence to cover the work you are doing.
If you area sub-trade contractor for a licensed trade contractor where the licensed trade contractor holds the correct QBCC licence to cover the work you are doing
If you are an unlicensed person working in partnershipwith a licensee wherethe licensed partner holds the correct QBCC licence for the work you are doing.
In most cases, you don’t need to hold a QBCC builders licence if you are an asbestos removal worker,a demolition worker, an insulation installer, an electrician, a handyman, and an architect. However, make sure you check the full details on the related page on QBCC website.
Note that if you are an employee, you don’t need a licence unless you become responsible for directing the building work, ensuring the work is free of defects or ensuring the work complies with specifications and plans.
By now you should already know whether you can be eligible for a licence. Now you are supposed to go through a three-step process.
Step One: Choose the Licensing Class
In Queensland, builders licence classes fall under three broad categories, each having its subcategories:
Builder Low Rise
Contractor and nominee supervisor licences
Site supervisor licence.
Builder Medium Rise
Contractor and nominee supervisor licences
Site supervisor licence.
Builder—open contractor and nominee supervisor licences
Builder—project management services contractor and nominee supervisor licences
Builder—open site supervisor licence
QBCC also offers licences for Building design, Builder restricted, Completed Residential Building Inspection, Trade Contractor, Plumbing and Drainage, Fire Protection, etc.
Once you settle on a builders licence type, you’ll move on to the application process. There are four main areas that the application will focus on, and you want to pay special attention to these areas and fill them out as thoroughly as you can. They include:
Each builders licence listed has slightly different qualifications that you have to meet. However, the work experience is roughly the same.
You’ll need between two to four years of supervisory and practical experience prior to applying for your licence. The exact number of years depends on your qualifications as well as the location where you carried out your relevant building work.
You want to bring proof of this experience with you, and it should clearly show onsite supervision and coordination of any trade contractors that were present, as well as that you worked on different areas of the building project. You can find a complete experience qualification requirement list here.
You’ll need to present written references to prove that you have all of the technical qualifications to be eligible for a builders licence.
These qualifications can include skills recognition, an apprenticeship, or any formal qualification documents that you possess.
If you don’t have the minimum qualifications or the written proof of said qualifications, you can go through a Recognition of Prior Learning assessment or sign up for construction training or a construction course.
For the Recognition of Prior Learning assessment, you’ll have to go through a Registered Training Organisation, and they’ll be the ones to administer the assessments to give you the equivalent qualifications you need.
A few highlights for prospective builders, contractors and supervisors:
The required qualifications for contractor and nominee supervisor licences (Builder Low Rise) include any one of the following:
You’ll also need a minimum of three written references when you apply for your builders licence. These references must cover any supervisory experience that you have previously had. You submit them on the Referee Report.
Important note: you want your references to have a valid builders licence themselves, and it should either be at the level of or a higher level certification than the one you are currently putting an application in for.
4. Financial Information
The final section that you want to concentrate on is your financial information. You have to prove that you meet the minimum financial requirements for your specific licence. Currently, the financial information Referee Reportincludes:
Net Tangible Assets
Professional Indemnity Insurance
The reason why you need all of these items and why you have to meet the minimum financial requirements is because the QBCC wants to promote stable and viable businesses for the Queensland building industry.
A case in point: even the construction giant Laing O’Rourke, had its building licence suspended and then reinstalled by the QBCC to ensure the company meets the minimum financial requirements and is capable of accomplishing its business objectives.
5. Required Miscellaneous Information
These include proof of identity, like a certified copy of your passport or driver’s licence, a current Record of Registration from the ASIC for anyone planning on contracting under a trading name, and proof of business partnership for anyone contracting under a partnership.
Step Three: Submit Your Application and Documentation
Once you submit your application, the QBCC will check over your application, your qualifications and your references. When your application is approved, they’ll send you a letter detailing the work that the licence entitles you to do as well as your specific licence number.
Being “fit and proper”
Getting a licence isn’t only about your experience and qualifications. The QBCC requires that you are a “fit and proper” person to hold a licence.
Most of the points highlighted are common sense and are meant to contribute to the safety and integrity in the industry.
your honesty and integrity in dealings.
any failure to carry out your commercial or statutory obligations and the reasons behind the failure.
whether you have done any Tier 1 defective work.
whether you have failed to pay an infringement notice for an offence under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991.
any other relevant factor (e.g. criminal history).
As we move on, we’ll share a few frequently asked questions.
How long does it take to get a builders licence in Queensland?
It usually takes six to eight weeks to process the applications and grant a licence. You basically have no control over this process, but there is one thing you can surely control: make sure you submit complete paperwork when applying.
How much does it cost to get licensed?
Individual application fees from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020
Builder or Trade Contractor
Self-certification category 1 – SC1 (This option is available to trade contractors only)
Self-certification category 2 – SC2
You can find more information on application fees here.
Can I work in Queensland if I have a builders licence in another state or country?
Moving from another state or territory
If you have a licence in another state, you can apply for an equivalent QBCC licence. You don’t need to obtain the same technical qualification or experience. However, a managerial qualification may be required in some cases.
With your licence comes responsibility. Each and every practitioner in building and construction is responsible for the safety of the buildings we live and work in, the roads we drive on and the bridges we cross.
From combustible cladding to non-conforming building products, from bankruptcy to payment security, the QBCC and other official bodies should tackle a wide range of issues in the building and construction industry.