Licence classes and qualifications

NSW Fair Trading licenses all builders and tradespeople that carry out work in the residential building industry in NSW.

Types of licences and certificates

Contractor Licence allows the holder to contract and advertise work described on their licence card. Individuals may have their contractor licence endorsed with a Q - indicates that the licence is also equivalent to a Qualified Supervisor Certificate. An individual contractor licence holder does not require a nominated supervisor.

Qualified Supervisor Certificate allows the holder to supervise and carry out the work described on their certificate.

Nominated Qualified Supervisor is an individual who holds a contractor licence or a qualified supervisor certificate, and is registered against a contractor licence as the person supervising the residential building work or specialist work. All companies and partnerships and unqualified individuals that have a contractor licence must nominate a supervisor.

Tradesperson Certificate is only issued for plumbing, drainage and gasfitting and allows a person to complete work with minimum supervision. Any work done by the holder of a tradesperson certificate cannot sign off on work and work must be signed off by a contractor licence or qualified supervisor certificate. Tradesperson certificates used to be known as a ‘journeyman’.

Licence and certificate classes

For information about the scope of work covered and the qualifications required for each class of residential building, follow the links below:

Company and Partnership contractor licence applications

Go to the applying for a licence or certificate page for information on applying for a company or partnership contractor licence for all licence classes.

Cover under the Home Building Compensation Scheme

For licensed contractors, there are mandatory requirements in regards to insurance under the Home Building Act 1989. Visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority's website for more information on insurance and eligibility under the Home Building Compensation Scheme (previously Home Warranty Insurance).

Apprentices and trainees

To apply for a contractor licence, qualified supervisor certificate or tradesperson certificate an individual they cannot be training either as an apprentice or trainee. You’ll have to sign a declaration when you complete your application for a licence or certificate. A contract of training is completed when the Commissioner for Vocational Training approves the completion. Go to the State Training Services website or call 13 28 11 for more information on how to complete a contract of training.

Reduction of red tape

From 15 January 2015, stand-alone contracts for internal paintwork as well as work related to tennis courts, ponds and water features no longer need a licence, unless done as part of other home building work.

From 29 April 2008, a previously held licence meets the qualification requirements for certain classes of licence or certificate issued under the Home Building Act 1989. This change removes a major cost to former licence holders who would otherwise need to pay to have their former licence and experience recognised. This creates a quick and simple pathway for former licence holders to get a new licence and return to the industry.

From 16 September 2009, licensing stopped for building consultancy, non-structural flooring, kit home supply and mechanical services. Demolisher licensing stopped on 2 May 2008.

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