Is a licence required ?: 

Unless an exemption applies, a QBCC contractor licence of the appropriate class is required to carry out or undertake to carry out air-conditioning related work in connection with a building if the value of the work is more than $3,300. Such work includes the following:

  • Installation of ductwork and enclosures for air-conditioning, air handling and mechanical ventilation systems for a building;
  • Installation, commissioning, servicing or repairing refrigeration, air-conditioning, mechanical ventilation and air handling systems for a building;
  • The preparation of plans and specifications (design work) for the above work.

However, in some circumstances the work may be exempted from being building work or otherwise requiring a licence under the QBCC Act or its regulation. See next column for common exceptions.


  • Occupational work

All contractor licences are subject to the condition that the holder maintains any relevant occupational licence.

For example, a Refrigerant Handling Licence issued by the Australian Refrigerant Council (ARC) must be held by any person who carries out work in relation to refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) equipment. Carrying out work in relation to RAC equipment means to do anything with a fluorocarbon refrigerant, or a component of RAC equipment, that carries the risk of refrigerant being emitted, including:

For further information on ARC licensing requirements see:

  •  Electrical work

The holder of QBCC contractor licence is not authorised under their licence to carry out electrical work.

All electrical work regulated under the Electrical Safety Act associated with the installation of air-conditioning systems must comply with the requirements in that Act, including licensing requirements.  For further information see (see also Additional Notes – Electricians in next column).

  • Mechanical Services - Occupational licensing

For information about whether an employee requires a mechanical services occupational services licence, see QBCC website - mechanical services licensing


Common exceptions: 

Work that is not building work requiring a licence.

  • Work personally performed by the owner of land if the work value is $11,000 or less and does not require an occupational licence;
  • Air-conditioning related work in connection with a building to the extent that the work is electrical work regulated under the Electrical Safety Act  (see Additional notes below);

Work that is building work but is exempted under the QBCC Act from requiring a contractor licence.

  • An employee of an appropriately licensed contractor;
  • A subcontractor of an appropriately licensed trade contractor;
  • A person in partnership with an appropriately licensed person;
  • Design work carried out by a landscape architect;
  • A consumer who engages 1 or more licensed contractors to carry out the work, if the consumer does not provide building work services for the work;
  • A licensed nominee supervisor or site supervisor if doing something authorised by their licence;
  • Work carried out by the holder of an owner-builder permit to the extent that the work is permitted under the permit;
  • A person who enters into a head contract to carry out the work if both (i) the work is to be carried out by an appropriately licensed and (ii) is not residential construction work or domestic building work.

Further exemptions can be found under Schedule 1A QBCC Act  and 1 of the QBCC Regulation.

Additional Notes - Electricians

An electrician licensed under the Electrical Safety Act may carry out the following air-conditioning related work without holding a QBCC contractor licence:

  • Work authorised to be carried out under their licence issued under the Electrical Safety Act;
  • Work that may be carried out without a licence under the QBCC Act because the work is not building work or is otherwise exempt from requiring a contractor licence under schedule 1A of the QBCC Act.

Under the Electrical Safety Act, electrical work does not include:

  • erecting structures for the support of air-conditioning equipment; or
  • locating, mounting or fixing in place air-conditioning  equipment, other than making or terminating electrical connections to the equipment or installing supply conductors that will connect the equipment to a supply of electricity.

The carrying out of the above non-electrical work, subject to any exemptions in the QBCC Act or its regulation that may apply, will require a QBCC contractor licence of the appropriate class. 

A licensed electrical mechanic who does not hold a QBCC contractor licence, can install an air-conditioning system for a class 1A or 10 building, provided the value of the work is $3,300 or less.

For other buildings, a licensed electrical mechanic who does not hold a QBCC contractors' licence, can install a single split head system or install ductwork and enclosures for air-conditioning, air handling and mechanical vention systems, if the value of the work is $3,300 or less.

For further information on the value of work see: Work valued $3,300 or less

For further informtion for electricians read: Mechanical services - licensing requirements for Electricians (PDF, 66KB)


Licence classes: 

Licence classes

Specialist air-conditioning licences

  • Mechanical services - services air-conditioning and refrigeration (unlimited design)
  • Mechanical services - services air-conditoning and refrigeration (limited design)
  • Air Handling Duct Installation.

Generalist licences

Generalist licences that include air-conditioning work or aspects of air-conditioning work within their scope:

  • Builder Low rise;
  • Builder Medium rise;
  • Builder Open;
  • Builder Restricted to kitchen, bathroom or laundry;
  • Carpentry;
  • Building design classes.

For detailed information regarding scopes of work see Licence Classes.

Key Legislation: 

Key legislation includes:

  • Section 42, QBCC Act;
  • Section 42CA, QBCC Act;
  • Schedule 1A, QBCC Act;
  • Schedule 2, QBCC Act;
  • Schedule 1, QBCC Regulation;
  • Schedule 8, QBCC Regulation;
  • Section 35(2), QBCC Act.