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.
Builders Licence Facts
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 minimum of 2 years’ relevant industry experience
- a TAFE certificate (or equivalent diploma)
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 License
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:
- Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) CPC40110
- Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) CPC50210
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.
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) regulates builder's licences in Victoria. In order to qualify for a builder's licence in VIC, you must be able to show acquired qualifications and practical experience.
Registered building practitioners must be licensed by the VBA to perform the following types of work:
- domestic building work totalling more than $5,000
- building work requiring a permit, including re-stumping, re-blocking, removing or demolishing, regardless of cost
- building-related work such as plastering or painting exceeding $5,000
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) offers an option for building practitioners to register under a specific licence class:
Domestic Builder – Unlimited (DB-U)
The registered builder may carry out the domestic work in their own capacity, or hire subcontractors to perform the work.
Domestic Builder – Manager (DB-M)
The licence holder may not perform any unsupervised building work, but may work under the supervision of a registered practitioner, or may hire registered practitioners to do the work.
Domestic Builder – Limited (DB-L)
The licenced building practitioner may arrange, manage or perform building work as authorised by the Victorian Building Practitioners Board.
In order to become a Victoria-based registered building practitioner, you must first obtain one of the following:
- CPC40110 diploma
- Associated diploma
- Degree in Building & Construction (Building)
- Prescribed and accredited under the 2006 Education & Training Reform Act.
The VBA may consider other qualifications as equivalent to the above, or consider it a part of a full assessment of your skills and experience. Consult Building Regulations 2--6 (Schedule 7) for more information and to see whether your qualification will suffice.
How to Apply
Follow these three simple steps to apply for a builders license in Victoria.
- Complete and submit the application form (available on the VBA website).
- Select the appropriate registration code and class and attach the appropriate supporting documents, including proof of insurance cover.
- Pay the appropriate application fee.
New Zealand, Interstate & Overseas Recognition
Individuals who hold licences from outside of Victoria may still obtain a Victorian licence by completing the National Police Checking Service Informed Consent Form and the Mutual Recognition Building Practitioner Application forms.