Your responsibilities may be limited to the bathroom, kitchen and laundry renovation, the construction of swimming pools and spas, waterproofing, shade structures, brick/blocklaying, earthworks and excavation work, the construction of private bushfire shelters, framing, plastering, etc.
Conversely, when your licence card reads “Unlimited”, it means your work is not limited by any specific area in building construction.
The VBA website clarifies that when holding the unlimited domestic building licence you are responsible for carrying out or managing the carrying out of all components of domestic building work, including the construction, renovation, improvement or maintenance of a home (class 1, 2 and 4 buildings, and associated class 10 buildings, as classified in the Building Code of Australia).
Note that for those who work under a corporate entity, one of the directors of the entity must be registered.
Choose Your Category
If you want to get a builder’s licence, you can either become a domestic builder or a commercial builder.
Read on to learn more about these two options and their eligibility requirements.
1. Domestic Builder
As a domestic builder, you can complete renovation, construction, maintenance, and improvement projects of a home. There are also three classes for domestic builders:
Limited builder – In this role, you may be limited to carrying out, managing or arranging the carrying out of certain types of domestic building work, limited by the scope of your license.
Unlimited builder – This role allows you to carry out, or manage, or arrange the carrying out of all components of domestic building work for the construction, renovation, improvement or maintenance of a home.
Project Manager (Domestic) – In this role you are responsible for managing or arranging the carrying out of domestic building work by registered builders. You cannot carry out the domestic building work yourself.
You must have the required educational qualifications and relevant work experience to become a registered domestic builder.
Be sure to complete your application form with all the relevant details. This includes your professional membership, completed training programs, work samples if necessary, and business operations.
You also need to show VBA that you do not have a criminal record and an unreasonable number of debts. With your authorisation, VBA will conduct National Police Certificate check to determine your criminal record.
2. Commercial Builder
You need to be a licensed commercial builder to carry out building work for offices, shops, factories and other commercial buildings. The licence also allows you to examine project’s plans and documents, organise building work inspections, and submit plans to a surveyor.
There are two classes under this role:
Limited – the builder’s role is limited to the tasks specified on their certificate
Unlimited – the builder can perform any and manage any type of commercial building work
To get the certification, you’ll need the specified educational qualifications, work experience, and practical experience.
Be sure to provide a complete application form with all the relevant supporting information. You must pass a police check for criminal history. Applicants must also have appropriate insurance.
You might also need a certificate to show the completion of the Course in Builder Registration (BPB).
The Application Process
Download and complete the application forms on your computer. It’s not advisable to handwrite when filling the forms as it will delay the processing time.
A National Police Check is required as part of the application. You’ll find the details for the police check in the form. Complete an Experience Statement and a Technical Referee Report for every component and class you want.
In your application, be sure to include proof that you have the required insurance and that you have completed the appropriate application fee. Be sure to print and sign all the hard copies of your application form and police check consent.
Your application must not contain any false statements. You can then submit the forms by mail or in person.
What happens after you apply
The VBA will review your application, qualifications, and expertise to determine your eligibility.
In some cases, you may have a face-to-face interview or take an open-book exam to complete your application. They may also request more information if needed.
Domestic builder (unlimited) or Project manager (domestic) and not currently registered with the VBA
Domestic builder (limited) and not currently registered with the VBA
Domestic builder (unlimited) or Project manager (domestic) and currently registered with the VBA in a category other than Domestic builder
Domestic builder (limited or unlimited) or Project manager (domestic) and registered with the VBA as a Domestic builder before 21 May 1999
Domestic builder (limited or unlimited) or Project manager (domestic) and registered with the VBA as a Domestic Builder after 21 May 1999
Class other than Domestic builder and not currently registered with the VBA
Class other than Domestic builder and currently registered with the VBA
For renewal, annual, mutual recognition and other fees, check out Building fees page.
Complete required training before applying
From the details above, you can easily pick out that training is essential. The Victorian Building Authority requires work experience, practical experience, educational qualifications, and certifications to approve your application.
You can work as a joiner, bricklayer or take apprenticeship programs to gain the relevant experience. After that, you can consider completing building and construction courses for your licence.
Due to the regulations set by the VBA, you should start with the CPC50210 Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). This course can take about 12-24 months. You can easily complete this course online to prep for your career, expand on your knowledge, or get ready to run your own construction business.
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.
VBA also has a rich Resource page where you will find useful fact sheets, templates, notes and answers to frequently asked questions. Everything is well-thought-out to arm you will all of the information and tools you need to successfully get your builders licence.
This leads us to some final thoughts.
Let’s sum up!
In Australia, we have a wide range of building and construction issues to tackle — from bushfire to combustible claddings, from the safety of balconies to monitoring companies who get into financial hardships… What’s more, recent research shows that “safe and accident-free workplaces are also a top priority for Australian companies”.
To face and overcome all of these challenges, we need qualified industry practitioners who are able to carry out building tasks professionally and effectively.
That’s why, leading a construction career is a rewarding and fulfilling journey — it allows each and every practitioner to break the constraints of an office job, engage in physical work, grow as a specialist, and change people’s lives for the better.
To start, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. Obviously, training is a critical part of your application, and Back to Basics is here to help you.