Licenses, Certificates &Amp; Permits Under Home Building Act

By Manoj Narsey – LAC Lawyers

The word “Gold” is no longer associated with a licence. Instead it is now called a contractor licence. To obtain licences or certificates, you need to hold necessary qualifications approved by the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”). Industry experience or the “20 year rule” is no longer applicable.


A contractor licence authorizes an individual to do any residential building work or specialist work as described in the licence and enter into a contract for home building work accordingly.

If a contractor is operating under a company or partnership, then the company or partnership should also hold a contractor licence. All companies and partnerships should nominate a supervisor. If a supervisor resigns, another has to be nominated within 30 days.

Builders or contractors working or managing others in carrying out any new building work, renovations or alterations require a contractor licence.


Building consultants who carry out pre-purchase inspections of residential dwellings now need to hold a building consultancy licence. Building consultants are also required to have professional indemnity insurance.


A supervisor is a person responsible for supervising the work under a home building contract on behalf of a company or partnership. The supervisor may hold a contractor licence or a qualified supervisor certificate.

Unless it is specialist work which requires a contractor’s licence, tradespersons under supervision such as concreters, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roof tillers, plasterers, tillers, painters, fencers and gasfitters require certificates in the particular field of work.


An owner of a land who wishes to build a single dwelling or a dual occupancy house or carry out any other residential building work must apply for an owner-builder permit. A person can apply for an owner-builder permit once every 5 years unless the application and permit relates to the same land or special circumstance exist.

Need to have appropriate licence

A person cannot do any residential building work over a $1,000.00 (inclusive of labour and material) without appropriate licence under the law. Such person can also be prosecuted. Some specialist tradespersons for plumbing, drainage, gas fitting, air conditioning and refrigeration work however are required to have a licence regardless of the value of the work.

It is also a requirement under the law that all builders and tradespersons should display their licence number on all of their advertisements. In order to maintain their licences, the licence holders also have to complete 100 points in continuing professional development over a 3 year period.

The OFT may reject an application for a licence or certificate if the applicant is not a fit and proper person or is mentally incapacitated or is disqualified from holding a licence. The OFT can also discipline a licence holder, suspend or cancel a licence.

About the Author: Manoj Narsey is a solicitor employed at LAC Building Construction Lawyers Sydney. He has nearly 12 years experience as a lawyer.


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