Air conditioning and refrigeration

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    Air conditioning and refrigeration

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    All the information you need to get a licence or certificate in air conditioning and refrigeration work. Use the menu on this page to find what you need.

    You need a licence before you can do any air conditioning and/or refrigeration work in NSW (except for work on household plug-in appliances). You need a licence regardless of the cost of the work and regardless of whether the work is residential, commercial or industrial.

    Tradespeople working with refrigerants also need to get a Commonwealth Government refrigerant handling licence from the Australian Refrigeration Council. Go to their website or call 1300 88 44 83 for more information.

    Air conditioning work

    Air conditioning work is:

    • any work needed to install, maintain and service an air-conditioning system (other than a self-contained single-phase plug-in home air-conditioning system, such as portable air conditioners people use at home ) in a structure, building, vessel, container or railway vehicle
    • work needed to meet the requirements in Australian Standard AS 1668.2 – 2002, The use of ventilation and airconditioning in buildings, Part 2: Ventilation design for indoor air contaminant control
    • work needed to meet the requirements in Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 3666:2002, Air-handling and water systems of buildings – Microbial control, about the maintenance of cooling towers
    • associated electrical wiring work (see below).

    Air-conditioning work is not:

    • the installation of an air-conditioning system in a railway vehicle by the manufacturer of the vehicle
    • the installation, maintenance or repair of ducting or insulation in places other than homes.

    Refrigeration work

    Refrigeration work is:

    • any work needed to install, maintain and service a refrigeration system (other than a self-contained single-phase plug-in domestic refrigeration system, such as fridges people use at home ) in a structure, building, vessel, container or vehicle
    • work needed to comply with Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1677:1998, Refrigerating Systems
    • associated electrical wiring work (see below).

    Associated electrical wiring work

    You also need a licence in air conditioning and refrigeration to do the electrical wiring work that relates to air conditioning and refrigeration work:

    • test and diagnose problems in control and power circuits and electrical equipment and electric motors
    • disconnect and reconnect electrical components designed to be permanently connected
    • replace electrical components on the load side of the mains supply
    • repair and adjust (in line with normal trade practice) electrical components
    • repair, replace or make good cable terminations or defective electrical wiring
    • minor changes to electrical wiring.

    Remember, it is an offence to do air conditioning and refrigeration work without a licence or certificate. You can be fined $22,000 as an individual or $110,000 as a company for doing unlicensed work .

    To learn more about what is defined as air conditioning and refrigeration work, see section 11 of the Home Building Regulation 2004.

    Licence types

    Air conditioning and refrigeration work is Specialist Work.

    There are different types of licences available in NSW depending on whether you want to contract or supervise work.

    A contractor licence allows you to contract and advertise to do work. You can only do the types of work described on your licence card. Contractor licences can be issued to individuals and to companies and partnerships. You can choose to have a contractor licence issued for one or three years.

    A qualified supervisor certificate allows you to supervise and do the work described on your certificate. Qualified supervisor certificates are only issued to individuals. Certificates are issued for three years. A qualified supervisor certificate does not allow you to contract for work.

    An endorsed contractor licence is issued to individuals who apply for a contractor licence and who also have the qualifications and experience needed to be a qualified supervisor. Endorsed contractor licence cards have ‘contractor licence (Q)’ printed on them to show they are also equivalent to a Qualified Supervisor Certificate.

    Apply for a licence or certificate

    This information is for individuals. See information for companies and partnerships.

    Once you know what licence type you want, and you have checked you have the right qualifications, you can apply for a licence or certificate.

    How to apply

    You must lodge your application and payment in person at a Service NSW centre.

    What you need

    Forms you will need:

    You will also need:

    • details of any past or current licences or certificates you hold
    • an original copy of your qualification/s, such as your certificate. See Qualifications for more information on what you need to have
    • 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 identify
    • payment

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

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

    Fees

    These fees are for individual licences. See company and partnership licence fees.

    Licence typeLicence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Specialist contractor licence - 1 year $161$151$312
    Specialist contractor licence - 3 years $472$151$623
    Specialist qualified supervisor certificate - 3 years $138$88$226

    *Licence fees are refundable if your application is refused or withdrawn. Processing fees are not refundable.

    Vary your licence or certificate

    The information on this page is for individuals. See information for companies and partnerships.

    Add a category to your licence or certificate

    If you gain more qualifications that allow you to do more types of work, such as other building work, trade work or specialist work, you can apply to add a category to your individual contractor’s licence and/or your qualified supervisor’s certificate.

    How to apply

    You must lodge your application in person at a Service NSW centre.

    What you need

    Forms you will need:

    You will also need:

    • details of past or current licences or certificates you hold
    • an original copy of your qualification/s, such as your certificate. See Qualifications for more information on what you need to have
    • 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 identify
    • 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.

    Fees

    These fees are for individual licences. See company and partnership licence fees.

    Add a building category to:Licence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Building contractor licence -$296$296
    Trade or specialist contractor licence-$296$296
    Building qualified supervisor certificate -$88$88
    Trade or specialist supervisor certificate-$88$88
    Add a trade or specialist category to:Licence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Building contractor licence -$151$151
    Trade or specialist contractor licence-$151$151
    Building qualified supervisor certificate -$88$88
    Trade or specialist qualified supervisor certificate-$88$88
    Tradesperson certificate -$88$88

    *Licence fees are refundable if your application is refused or withdrawn. Processing fees are not refundable.

    Change a condition on your licence

    Your licence or certificate allows you to do and/or supervise the work described on your licence card, subject to any specified conditions. These conditions may be imposed for a number reasons to limit the scope of work you are able to do, or place other requirements on the licence or certificate holder. They may be as a result mutual recognition processes, disciplinary action, bankruptcy, external administration or other factors.

    If circumstances change, and this affects your ability to do the work described on your licence card, you must let us know within seven days. If you wish to have your licence or certificate updated to remove limitations on your category of work, you will need to make an application to vary your licence or certificate. Refer to the 'Add a category to your licence or certificate' section above.

    Qualifications needed

    To get a licence or certificate to do air conditioning and refrigeration, you must have one of the qualifications listed below and complete one set of the mandatory associated electrical qualification modules listed below.

    To find organisations that deliver nationally recognised training, go to training.gov.au and search via the course code or name.

    If you are currently an apprentice or trainee, you cannot apply for a licence or certificate. You must apply as soon as you finish your apprenticeship or traineeship to be able to keep doing air conditioning and refrigeration work.

    If you trained overseas, see Overseas Trained Applicants.

    If you have a licence from interstate or New Zealand, see Mutual Recognition.

    Current qualifications

    1. Completion of one of the following  (a) to (e):

    (a)  UEE32211 Certificate III in Air conditioning and Refrigeration

    (b)   UEE31307 Certificate III in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning

    (c)   UEE31306 Certificate III in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning

    (d)   UTE30999 Certificate III in Electrotechnology (Refrigeration and Air Conditioning)

    (e)  Complete the Refrigeration/Air-conditioning Trade course 7795 through NSW TAFE;

    OR

    2. Have completed an apprenticeship as a Refrigeration Mechanic and/or Air Conditioning Mechanic before 20 December 2010, with a Certificate of Proficiency as proof.

    Mandatory associated electrical qualification modules

    In addition to one of the courses listed above, you must also do one set of the mandatory associated electrical qualification modules listed below:

    1. UEENEEP012A – Disconnect/reconnect composite appliances connected to low voltage installation wiring, and
      UEENEEP017A - Locate and rectify faults in low voltage composite appliances using set procedures
    2. UEENEEP001B – Disconnect/reconnect fixed wired electrical equipment to a Low Voltage Supply, and
      UEENEEP007B - Locate and rectify faults in electrical low voltage equipment following prescribed procedures
    3. UEENEEP001A – Disconnect/reconnect fixed wired electrical equipment to a Low Voltage Supply, and
      UEENEEP007A - Locate and rectify faults in electrical low voltage equipment following prescribed procedures
    4. UTENES208 - Disconnect/reconnect fixed wired Equipment up to 1000 volts ac/1500 volts dc, and
      UTENES505 – Locate & rectify fault(s) in Electrical equipment 1kVac/1.5dc by procedures

    Existing licence holders

    If you hold a current licence or certificate which includes the condition for associated electrical work restrictions, and you want to apply to remove this condition, you will need to provide the following with your application form:

    1. Your current licence or certificate number
    2. Evidence of completion of the mandatory associated electrical qualification modules (listed above)

    Previous licence and certificate holders

    If you previously held a licence or certificate and you wish to re-apply, you must do ONE of the following, depending on when your licence expired:

     Time since your licence / certificate expiredWhat licence / certificate do you want?What you need to do to meet the qualification criteria for a new licence / certificate
    1Less than five years

    The same as your previous licence.

    If your previous licence had conditions or restrictions, you will be issued the same conditions or restrictions.

    Give us your previous licence or certificate number
    2Less than five years

    Air conditioning & refrigeration with no conditions.

    ie you want the restriction on doing associated electrical work to be removed

    Give us your previous licence or certificate number

    AND

    Evidence of completing the mandatory associated electrical qualification modules

    3More than five years

    Air conditioning & refrigeration with no conditions.

    Note: you cannot reapply for a conditioned or restricted licence/certificate in this situation.

    Give us your previous licence or certificate number

    AND

    Evidence of completing the mandatory associated electrical qualification modules

    You will be issued the same licence or qualified supervisor number you had before if your application is approved.

    Renew or restore a licence or certificate

    This information is for individuals. See information for companies and partnerships.

    We will send you a renewal form in the mail several weeks before your licence or certificate is due to expire.

    How to renew

    You can use the details on the renewal form to renew your licence online at Service NSW. You can also renew in person at your nearest Service NSW centre.

    What you need

    • your licence number
    • renewal form
    • payment
    • additional details form/s (if applicable)
    • details of any past compliance issues, insolvency matters, or criminal offences (if applicable)
    • details of change of any circumstances to the licence or certificate

    If we approve your application, we will post your new licence to you. Read reasons why an application may not be approved.

    If your licence is going to expire soon and you have not gotten your renewal form, contact us on 13 32 20. It is your responsibility to renew your licence on time.

    Renewal fees

    These fees are for individual licences. See company and partnership licence fees.

    A discount of 10 per cent or $5 (whichever is more) applies to the processing fee when you renew your licence online.

    Licence typeLicence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Specialist contractor licence - 1 year $181$51$232
    Specialist contractor licence - 3 years $503$51$554
    Specialist qualified supervisor certificate - 3 years -$51$51

    *Licence fees are refundable if your application is refused or withdrawn. Processing fees are not refundable.

    Late renewals 

    If you do not renew on time and your licence expires, you may have to apply to have your licence restored and pay a restoration fee. You have three months from the date of expiry to restore your licence or certificate. You can use the details on your renewal form to apply to restore your licence at a Service NSW centre.

    Restoration fees

    These fees are for individual licences. See company and partnership licence fees.

    Licence typeLicence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Specialist contractor licence - 1 year$234$51$285
    Specialist contractor licence - 3 years$558$51$609
    Specialist qualified supervisor certificate - 3 years-$51$51

    *Licence fees are refundable if your application is refused or withdrawn. Processing fees are not refundable.

    If your licence expires and you do not apply to have it restored within three months, you will have to apply for your licence to be reissued. Follow the steps in ‘Apply for a licence or certificate’. Having your licence reissued takes time and you cannot trade until you have it.

    Our assessment process

    Once we have your completed application form, supporting documents, and fee payment, we will assess your application.

    If your application for a licence is approved, we will send you a licence card.

    Sometimes we do not approve applications. Reasons for this can include:

    • you have not met the qualification or experience requirements
    • you failed to provide details requested by Fair Trading
    • you have been disqualified from holding a licence
    • you owe money to Fair Trading as a result of a judgement
    • you hold a provisional licence or certificate
    • you are an apprentice or trainee
    • you have not complied or are unable to comply with insurance requirements
    • you are bankrupt or were bankrupt within three years before the date of the application
    • you are or were a director or a person concerned in the management of a company:
      • that is or was the subject of a winding up order or
      • for which a controller or administrator has been appointed or
      • when a controller or administrator was appointed (within three years prior to your application for licence). This includes where you stop being a director or a person concerned in the management of a company within 12 months prior to the external administration.
    • you are subject to an unsatisfied tribunal order
    • you have had an unreasonable number of:
      • complaints
      • penalty notices
      • formal cautions
      • paid insurance claims
    • you used false information in your application
    • a close associate (who is not a fit and proper person to hold a licence) has significant influence over you or the operation and management of your business
    • you are considered to be an unfit or improper person to hold a licence or certificate.

    It is an offence to make a false statement or leave out information when applying for a licence. If it is found that your licence has been issued on misleading grounds, you may be prosecuted and your licence may be cancelled.

    If we refuse your application, only part of the fee may be refunded, the rest is to cover processing costs.

    Update your licence details

    This information is for individuals. See information for companies and partnerships.

    If you change your name, address or other contact details, you must let us know within seven days.

    Update your address, phone number or email address

    How to update

    You can update your details online at Service NSW. Your current email address and mobile phone number needs to be registered with Fair Trading to be able to update online.

    You can also update your details in person at a Service NSW centre.

    What you need

    • your licence number
    • your new contact details
    • completed notification of change of address form (only needed by individuals who want to update their details in person at a Service NSW centre rather than online).

    Update your name

    How to update

    You must lodge your application in person at a Service NSW centre.

    What you need

    Replace a licence

    If your licence or certificate has been damaged, lost or stolen, you can order a replacement at a Service NSW centre.

    What to do

    You must lodge your application form and payment in person at a Service NSW centre.

    Fees

    Licence typeLicence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Replacement contractor licence or supervisor certificate-$47$47

    *Licence fees are refundable if your application is refused or withdrawn. Processing fees are not refundable.

    Interstate and New Zealand licences

    If you have a licence from interstate or New Zealand, and want to apply to work in NSW, see Mutual Recognition.

    Insurance requirements

    If you are a licensed builder or tradesperson in NSW, you need to get home building compensation (HBC) cover for each home building project over $20,000 including GST.

    HBC cover, which used to be called ‘home warranty insurance’, protects homeowners as a last resort if you cannot complete building work or fix defects.

    Visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority's website for more information.

    Insolvency matters

    Current bankruptcy and external administration 

    If you are applying for a licence and are currently bankrupt or the director of a company that is under external administration (other than external administration resulting from a member's voluntary winding up of the body corporate), and if we grant an authority and it is a contractor licence, it may come with the condition: 'Only for contracts up to $20,000'.

    Bankruptcy or external administration within three years

    If you are applying for a licence and have been discharged from bankruptcy or were previously a director of a company in external administration (other than external administration resulting from a member's voluntary winding up of the body corporate), and if we grant you a contractor licence, it may come with conditions.

    Cancelled or suspended licences

    Your licence or certificate can be cancelled or suspended if you:

    • become involved in unlawful activity
    • get a licence by misrepresentation or fraudulent means
    • become bankrupt or subject to a winding up order

    Also, if the holder of a company or partnership licence goes more than 30 days without an acceptable nominated supervisor, without prior consent from Fair Trading, the licence will be cancelled.

    If your licence is cancelled, we will not refund any of the fees paid.

    Immediate action required

    If your licence or certificate has been cancelled or suspended you must immediately:

    • stop all business activity that relates to the licence or certificate
    • remove any sign or advertisement which indicates the conduct of business activity that relates to the licence or certificate
    • return the licence or certificate to NSW Fair Trading by mail or at a Service NSW centre.

    You should also let your clients know, either verbally or in writing, that your licence has been cancelled or suspended and you are unable to complete any unfinalised work.

    Automatic licence suspension

    Your licence will be automatically suspended if you do not comply with an order by a court or the NSW Civil or Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to pay money for a building claim. Read more.