How to Get your Building Licence in New South Wales

Header for How To Get Builders Licence in NSW

Thinking about starting your own business in building and construction? If you are planning on being your own boss for future projects, you’re going to need a builder’s licence.

Today, we’ll break down the experience and qualifications you need to apply for the NSW building licence, as well as what jobs the licence covers.

Disclaimer: This article covers the foundational requirements for the building licence, but not every requirement. The information in this article has been drawn from the official NSW Fair Trading Website on 20/05/2021, and all credit goes to the government webpage. You can read the complete government webpage guide here.

NSW Builder’s Licence

In NSW, you need a building licence to be able to do any residential building work that is valued at more than $5,000, including GST, in labour and materials1.

With this licence, you may do any residential building work, which means ‘any work involved in constructing a dwelling or altering or adding to a dwelling. It also includes repairing, renovating, decorating, or applying a protective treatment to a dwelling.

A dwelling is a building or part of a building for people to live in, such as a house, terrace, townhouse, duplex or flat’1.

The process of getting a building licence is handled and regulated by the NSW Department of Fair Trading who can be contacted on 13 32 20 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

A construction worker surveys the site

Experience Requirements

To apply for your building licence, you are required to have the equivalent of at least two years of site-based full-time work experience. ‘” Experience” means you have done work that matches any of the four options below:

  1. You are an employee (Employed by a building contractor).
  2. You are a subcontractor (Hold an endorsed contractor licence and have contracted to a building contractor).
  3. You are the holder of a qualified supervisor certificate and are working as a nominated supervisor. Either:
    1. The contractor licence you are nominated supervisor for includes the category of full general building. There is also another nominated supervisor to cover the category of building.
    2. The contractor licence you are nominated supervisor for has been subcontracting to a general building contractor.’ 1

For all four options:
‘the building contractor must have a contractor licence in full general building work
AND
when getting your experience, you must be supervised and directed in your work by someone who holds an endorsed contractor licence or qualified supervisor certificate in the residential building work in which you gained your experience. They must confirm your experience on the referee’s statement form
AND
you must be paid with money in line with the law for the work you did.’ 1

A construction worker bringing drafting paper to a meeting

Formal Qualifications

Additionally, you’ll need to meet one of the two qualification criteria:

  1. A Certificate IV in Building and Construction with a specific set of units, which can be found here. Fortunately, CTI’s CPC40110 Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) has all the units to meet this criterion.
    1. Plus any of the following:
      1. a current carpentry or bricklaying contractor licence or qualified supervisor certificate, or an approved qualification that would allow the issue of such a licence (for details of approved qualifications, see Carpentry or Bricklaying)
      2. Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) BCG50206 or CPC50208
  • Bachelor of Housing from an Australian university or a degree in civil engineering, structural engineering, architecture, housing, construction, construction management, construction project management, construction economics, applied science (building) or quantity surveying from an Australian university.
  1. A degree in building, construction, construction management, construction project management, construction economics, applied science (building), or quantity surveying from an Australian university that requires the applicant to undertake the equivalent of four years’ full-time study and mandatory work placement.
A construction worker fills out a form

How to Apply

To apply, you must lodge your application in person at a Service NSW centre, which you can find here1.

Here are the forms you’ll need:

  • ‘application form – individual.
  • The relevant application checklist.
    • General building work checklist.
    • Specialist work checklist.
    • Other building work and trade work checklist.
  • Additional details form/s (if applicable).

You will also need:

  • Details of past or current licence or certificates you hold.
  • An original copy of your qualifications, such as your certificate.
  • Details of your employment and experience.
  • Details of any past compliance issues, insolvency matters, or criminal offences (if applicable).
  • One passport size photo.
  • Proof of identity.
  • Payment.

The application form and checklists have more information about each of these items.

You can also ask at your nearest Service NSW centre for these forms. ’1

You can find out what fees apply by checking the Home Building Fees webpage.

Applying for a New Building Licence Fees3

Building contractor licence Price ($)
Processing fee 306
1 year fee 708
3 year fee 1325
5 year fee 2315
A manager reviews plans with workers

What kind of work can you do with the Building Licence?

According to Fair Trading NSW: ‘Work that you need to have a building licence for includes (but is not limited to):

  • constructing or erecting a garage, carport or shed (including kits)
  • bathroom, kitchen or laundry renovations
  • swimming pool building and structural landscaping
  • screened, glass or pool enclosures
  • atriums and conservatories
  • house lifting (e.g. permanently raising the height of an existing structure)
  • removing and resitting dwellings
  • saunas and steam rooms

Any contract for general building work can include any specialist work that needs to be done as part of the overall job, and any specialist work can be appropriately subcontracted. However, this work must be carried out by the holder of an endorsed contractor licence or qualified supervisor certificate in that specialist category’1.

How to get your Building Licence Sooner via CTI’s Accelerated Courses

What if you have industry experience but don’t have the qualification? We offer courses are designed specifically for you to acquire your building licence. Some of our courses are only available for experienced industry veterans to accelerate their studies by recognising their work history.

Our accelerated Certificate IV in Building and Construction course can only be completed by individuals with a minimum of 2-3 years of practical experience in the industry. When you sit down for class, you’re sitting among like-minded people that are eagerly awaiting to further their career and/or business.  An additional benefit of this course design is that it is fantastic for networking as all the students in the class are aiming for similar goals e.g. Builders Licence, Site Supervisor and more.

We can achieve this is accelerated course by using your pre-existing knowledge and building upon it whilst also using 3rd party reports to validate your expertise. Additionally, before you are enrolled you will have a one of one interview with the trainer to ensure you meet our requirements. We also offer RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) courses to turn your years of experience into a full qualification.

If you want to find out more about this course, be sure to check out our full course description.

We’ll be covering other states in greater detail soon. If you’ve got any questions about our courses, send us an enquiry.

a construction worker at work in a high rise
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