Company and partnership licences

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    Company and partnership licences

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    All the information you need to get a company or partnership licence. Use the menu on the right to find what you need.

    Your company or partnership must have a contractor licence before you contract, sub-contract or advertise to do:

    • residential building work where the reasonable market cost of the labour and materials is more than $5,000 (including GST)
    • all electrical wiring work
    • all plumbing, drainage and gasfitting work
    • all airconditioning and refrigeration work (except plug-in appliances).

    Licence types

    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.

    A tradesperson certificate allows you to do plumbing, drainage and gasfitting work with minimum supervision.  Individuals who hold a tradesperson certificate cannot sign off on work. Any work they do must be overseen and signed off by someone who holds a contractor licence or qualified supervisor certificate. Tradesperson certificates are only issued to individuals. Certificates are issued for three years. Tradesperson certificates used to be known as a ‘journeyman’.

    Nominated Qualified Supervisors

    A company or partnership must have a nominated qualified supervisor.

    A nominated qualified supervisor is an individual who holds an endorsed contractor licence and/or qualified supervisor certificate, and is registered against a company or partnership contractor licence as the person supervising residential building work or specialist work.

    Companies and partnerships must name a proposed nominated qualified supervisor when applying for a licence, and the person you nominate must agree to hold the position. You can nominate more than one qualified supervisor to cover all the categories of work that your company or partnership does. If you only nominate one qualified supervisor, they must hold a current individual endorsed contractor licence or qualified supervisor certificate that includes all categories of work that your company or partnership contracts for.

    Company or partnership contractor licence holders need to tell Fair Trading within 7 days if you do not have a nominated supervisor (eg if your supervisor leaves the company). Not telling us is an offence. If you go without an acceptable nominated supervisor for more than 30 days, without getting consent from us first, your licence will be cancelled.

    Nominated supervisors must also get in touch with Fair Trading within seven days of leaving a company or partnership to tell us they have left.

    Acceptable supervisors

    A nominated supervisor must be one of the following:

    • a director of the company
    • a member of the partnership
    • an existing or proposed employee of the company or partnership

    A supervisor cannot be:

    • a casual employee
    • a temporary employee
    • a sub-contractor

    An employee is someone who:

    • is entitled to all the benefits of all relevant industry awards
    • is a 'worker' for purposes of workers compensation law
    • pays tax under the PAYE (pay as you earn) system and receives tax stamps or a group certificate for the tax taken out of their wages
    • has their work hours recorded in the employer's wages book and is entitled to a statement (eg pay slip) for each wage
    • works under the direction and control of their employer on matters that do not affect their supervisor responsibilities (eg their starting and finishing times).

    If a licenced company or partnership nominates a supervisor for work that is not covered by the company or partnership's existing licence, the company or partnership must apply for a variation to their licence and pay the relevant fee.

    Dual nomination

    Dual nomination is when a supervisor is nominated for more than one company or partnership contractor licence. A company or partnership must get our approval to have a dual nominated supervisor. Approval is decided on a case-by-case basis. You must complete the Additional Details Form 6 - Dual Nomination to request dual nomination .

    Supervisor responsibilities

    The nominated supervisor is responsible for carrying out all relevant work for that contract. They are also responsible for upholding the codes of practice, laws and regulations.

    The nominated supervisor does not always have to be at the site if the work being done is residential building work. When the nominated supervisor is away, they should:

    • make sure that any work is done by someone with an endorsed licence, supervisor certificate or tradesperson certificate, or under the supervision of someone who holds an endorsed licence or supervisor certificate authorising them to supervise that work
    • make arrangements to ensure that all work is or has been done properly (eg. be readily contactable to give instructions, and when they get back on site, promptly inspect work done while they were away).

    If the nominated supervisor stops being a director, partner or employee, they must let Fair Trading know within seven days. Failure to notify us is an offence.

    Please note there are different responsibilities for individuals who are supervising specialist trade work under the Home Building Act.

    Nominated qualified supervisor under automatic mutual recognition

    A company or partnership can nominate a supervisor who holds a local licence under the Mutual Recognition (Automatic Licensed Occupations Recognition) Act 2014. This Act says that NSW will recognise certain interstate licences without that individual having to get a NSW licence or certificate. This recognition only applies to specific occupations. Visit the Automatic Mutual Recognition – East Coast Electricians page for more information.

    If we accept a company or partnership’s nomination of someone who holds a local licence, the nominated supervisor must follow all laws and requirements as if they were licensed in NSW under the Home Building Act 1989.

    If your company or partnership has a nominated supervisor under this automatic mutual recognition process, you will need to show us evidence each time you renew your licence that your nominated supervisor’s interstate licence is still current.

    If the nominated supervisor moves to live in NSW, they must apply for an equivalent NSW licence or certificate. Your company or partnership must complete a new nomination form to update your licence details. There are significant penalties if either a nominated supervisor or a company or partnership fails to tell us within seven days of any changes that affect a contractor licence.

    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
    • a current company extract from the ‘Companies and organisations’ page of Australian Securities and Investments Commission website (no older than 30 days from the date of application)
    • your nominated qualified supervisor/s’ personal details, contact information and their licence or certificate number
    • proof of identity
    • payment

    Fees

    Company fees

    Licence type Licence fee* Processing feeTotal
    Building contractor licence - 1 year $613 $753 $1366
    Building contractor licence - 3 years $1434 $753 $2187
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 1 year $336 $161 $497
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 3 years $889 $161 $1050

    Partnership fees

    Licence type Licence fee* Processing feeTotal
    Building contractor licence - 1 year $449 $690 $1139
    Building contractor licence - 3 years $1056 $690 $1746
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 1 year $273 $161 $434
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 3 years $737 $161 $898

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

    Vary your licence or certificate

    Add a category to your licence or certificate

    If your company or partnership holds a contractor licence and becomes able to work in more licence categories (eg you employ a nominated supervisor with additional licence categories or an existing nominated supervisor has been issued with additional categories), you can apply to add a category to your company or partnership contractor licence.

    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 any past and current licences you hold
    • a current company extract from the ‘Companies and organisations’ page of Australian Securities and Investments Commission website (no older than 30 days from the date of application)
    • any supporting documents to support the addition of a category to your licence (eg. licence details of your new supervisor)
    • your nominated qualified supervisor/s’ personal details, contact information and their licence or certificate number
    • details of any past compliance issues, insolvency matters, or criminal offences (if applicable)
    • 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

    Add a building category to:Licence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Company building contractor licence -$296$296
    Company trade or specialist contractor licence-$753$753
    Partnership building contractor licence -$296$296
    Partnership trade or specialist contractor licence-$690$690
    Add a trade or specialist category to:Licence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Company building contractor licence -$161$161
    Company trade or specialist contractor licence -$161$161
    Partnership building contractor licence -$161$161
    Partnership trade or specialist contractor licence -$161$161

    *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 that limit the scope of work you are able perform, 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.

    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 new, renewed, updated or replacement licence is approved, we will send you a licence card.

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

    • 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.

    Renew or restore a licence or certificate

    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.

    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

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

    Company fees

    Licence typeLicence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Building contractor licence - 1 year$613$69$682
    Building contractor licence - 3 years$1572$69$1641
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 1 year$336$69$405
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 3 years$906$69$975

    Partnership fees

    Licence typeLicence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Building contractor licence - 1 year$449$69$518
    Building contractor licence - 3 years$1179$69$1248
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 1 year$273$69$342
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 3 years$757$69$826

    *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

    Company fees

    Licence typeLicence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Building contractor licence - 1 year$595$142$737
    Building contractor licence - 3 years$1552$142$1694
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 1 year$318$142$460
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 3 years$889$142$1031

    Partnership fees

    Licence typeLicence fee*Processing feeTotal
    Building contractor licence - 1 year$432$142$574
    Building contractor licence - 3 years$1161$142$1303
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 1 year$256$142$398
    Trade or specialist contractor licence - 3 years$737$142$879

    *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.

    Update your licence details

    If you change your name, your company name, your 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 or your company name

    How to update

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

    What you need

    • your licence number
    • your name change document, such as a marriage certificate, change of name certificate or an ASIC extract showing your new company name (original copy to be viewed and verified at Service NSW)
    • completed change of name and use of other names or aliases form

    If you change your company's Australian Company Number (ACN), it is a different entity and you need to lodge a new application for a licence. Follow the process in apply for a licence or certificate.

    If your partnership adds or removes members, you need to lodge a new application for a licence. Follow the process in apply for a licence or certificate.

    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.

    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.