Licence holder overview

NSW home building licensees have a range of responsibilities they should be aware of. These responsibilities are outlined below.

On this page:

Change to your circumstances

You must notify NSW Fair Trading in writing within seven days of any of the following:

  • change in address
  • change in your name
  • change in your trading, business or company name (provide copy of ASIC material)
  • change in your partners or the directors of your company
  • change in nominated supervisor
  • you enter into bankruptcy or a scheme of arrangement with creditors, or
  • your company is deregistered or becomes subject to a winding up order or to the appointment of an external administrator or controller.

Failure to provide this information is an offence under the Home Building Act 1989 and may incur penalties.

Go to the builder and tradespeople forms page on our website for the appropriate form.

Change in your nominated qualified supervisor

If your nominated qualified supervisor resigns, you have up to 30 days to nominate a suitable replacement.

Go to the nominated qualified supervisor page for more information.

Caution: If you do not have a qualified supervisor for more than 30 days, your contractor licence will be cancelled.

Complying with the law

Disciplinary action can be taken against you when:

  • there is a risk to the public that you will be unable to carry out work that you have contracted
  • your licence was improperly obtained
  • you knowingly fail to notify the Principal Certifying Authority of a critical stage inspection and proceed with the work
  • you become disqualified from holding a licence.

Disciplinary action may result in one or a combination of the following:

  • a caution or reprimand
  • a penalty up to $11,000 for an individual
  • a penalty up to $50,000 for a corporation (company)
  • conditional limitations placed on the licence
  • cancellation of the licence
  • disqualification of the licence holder.

Go to the notice to show cause page for more information.


A monetary penalty can be imposed for offences under the Home Building Act 1989.

A distinction is made between individuals and corporations (companies) for offences under the Act.

The maximum penalty for an offence by an individual is $22,000 (200 penalty units) and the maximum penalty for a corporation is now $110,000 (1,000 penalty units).

Offences include, but are not limited to:

  • unlicensed contracting
  • doing work or taking deposits without Building Compensation Fund Insurance
  • not using the correct form of a contract (including the provision of a copy of the Consumer building guide and checklist)
  • taking excessive deposits
  • the carrying out of work by unqualified persons
  • knowingly engaging an unlicensed contractor
  • lending a licence
  • not disclosing to a building inspector the names and addresses of persons on the site
  • failing to obtain Building Compensation Fund (where required).

A breach of the Act can be dealt with either before a local court or the Supreme Court. The Local Court can impose fines of up to $22,000.

Public warnings

Fair Trading is able to issue a public warning notice about licensees if there is an immediate risk to the public.

Cancellation or suspension of licences

Go to the cancelled and suspended licences page for more information on cancelling or suspending a licence, certificate or permit.  Go to the automatic licence suspension page for specific information regarding failure to comply with a money order.

Suspension of contractor licences on appointment of controller or administrator

Fair Trading is able to suspend the licence of a company where a controller or administrator is appointed or during an investigation into a licensee's conduct. Suspension is based on an assessment of risk to the public.

Suspension can be reversed if the administration is finalised and the company is able to trade, or if an investigation concludes no further action should be taken.

Surrendering of contractor licences and certificates

You can surrender your licence or certificate at any time by using the appropriate surrender of licence/certificate form.

Some licensees may be entitled to a partial refund for the unexpired portion of the fees paid for the licence.


By law, your licence number must be shown on all advertising, stationery and signage. Go to the building trade advertisements page for more information about the requirements for advertising building and trade services.

Building Code of Australia (National Construction Code)

The Building Code of Australia under the National Construction Code is amended annually, with changes coming into effect on 1 May each year.

Digital trade licences and credentials

Individual contractor licence holders, qualified supervisor and tradesperson certificate holders can access a digital version of their licence or certificate through the Service NSW app.

The NSW Government is working to digitise trade licences and credentials, making it easier for you to go wallet free.

Digital licences and credentials are new technology, so you should keep your physical card on you and produce it for inspection if requested.

When checking a digital licence or credential, check details such as name, date of issue and date of birth, as you would a physical card. Check the live features, such as the date and time last refreshed, the animated NSW government logo in the top left-hand corner and the Waratah hologram, which moves when the phone is tilted.

Find out how to add the:

Get more information on how to check a digital licence or credential.

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