When you need a licence | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

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Individuals and companies

In Queensland, individuals (sole traders, partners, trustees), and companies must hold a QBCC licence to carry out (contract for) building work that is:

  • valued over $3,300
  • valued over $1,100 where it involves Hydraulic Services Design
  • of any value where it involves:
    • drainage
    • plumbing and drainage
    • gas fitting
    • termite management – chemical
    • fire protection
    • completed residential building inspection
    • building design – low rise, medium rise and open
    • site classification
    • mechanical services.

    You must hold a QBCC licence of the relevant

    • class for the scope of works you intend to undertake or oversee
    • type that befits your role and responsibilities in the industry.

    You may find you need more than one licence class to cover the scope of building work you intend to undertake.

    Employees

In most cases you do not need a QBCC licence if you are carrying out building work as an employee of a licenced contractor. There are exceptions to this outlined below.

You do need a QBCC licence as an employee if you become responsible for:

  • overseeing and directing the building work i.e. supervising the work
  • ensuring the work is of a competent standard, i.e. free of defects
  • ensuring the work complies with the plans and specifications.

For example, if you are employed as a nominee or site supervisor, you are required to hold a QBCC licence in the relevant class for the scope of works being undertaken.

You do need an occupational licence, regardless of the value of the work, if you are overseeing or undertaking work that involves:

  • plumbing
  • drainage
  • gas fitting
  • termite management – chemical
  • fire protection
  • mechanical services (for those who completed their apprenticeship after 1 January 2020).

Important note

The information regarding subcontractor licensing below is a general guide only. For example, the information needs to be considered in the context that there are 53 exemptions listed in Schedule 1 of the QBCC Regulation that exempt work from being defined as building work (thereby negating the need to hold a contractor's licence).

There is also a range of situation specific exemptions from the need to hold a contractor's licence stated in Schedule 1A of the QBCC Act. The specific exemptions include those relating to public private partnerships, partnerships generally, prescribed government projects and design work by landscape gardeners, owner builders and consumers.

Subcontractors

Licensing requirements for a subcontractor vary according to the type of work being undertaken, and the contracting arrangements.

In most cases, you don't need a licence if you work as a subcontractor for a licensed trade contractor, because the responsibility for the work is covered by the licensed trade contractor.

However, you will need an occupational licence if subcontracting for the work listed below, regardless of the value of the work or the contracting arrangements. Occupational work includes:

  • plumbing
  • drainage
  • gasfitting
  • termite management – chemical
  • fire protection
  • mechanical services – for those who completed their apprenticeship after 1 January 2020.

You need to hold a contractor licence if you subcontract directly to a completed residential building inspector.

You need an appropriate contractor licence for the subcontracted building work you undertake for a licensed builder.

Regardless of the value of the work or the contracting arrangements, you will need an occupational licence for the following work:

  • plumbing
  • drainage
  • gasfitting
  • termite management – chemical
  • fire protection
  • mechanical services – for those who completed their apprenticeship after 1 January 2020.

An individual or company who subcontracts to carry out mechanical services work for a licensed mechanical services contractor is required to also hold a mechanical services contractor licence of the relevant class for the work.

You need a mechanical services occupational licence if you personally perform or supervise mechanical services work as an employee for a licensed mechanical services trade contractor (or another licence issued under legislation that authorises them to perform the work).

An individual or company who subcontracts to carry out fire protection work for a licensed fire protection trade contractor is required to also hold a fire protection contractor licence of the relevant class for the work.

You need a fire protection occupational licence if you personally perform or supervise fire protection work as an employee for a licensed fire protection trade contractor (or another licence issued under legislation that authorises them to do this work).

An unlicensed individual or company may enter into a principal contract to carry out building work provided the work is not residential construction work or domestic building work.

However, the unlicensed principal is not allowed to personally carry out or provide building work services for the work.

An individual or company who subcontracts to carry out building work for the unlicensed principal contractor must hold a contractor's licence of the relevant class for the work that they have been subcontracted to carry out.

When you don't need a QBCC licence

You do not need a QBCC licence when carrying out building work as:

  • a trust cannot obtain a QBCC licence. The individual or company who is the trustee of the trust undertaking the building work must apply for a QBCC licence.
  • an unlicensed person working in partnership with a licensee where the licensed partner holds the correct QBCC licence for the work being performed. However, as an unlicensed partner, you cannot offer to tender or enter into a contract to carry out building work and you must meet QBCC's fitness and propriety requirements.
  • an owner carrying out work on your own property where the work is valued at no more than $11,000 or as an owner builder carrying out building work under a permit
  • an asbestos removal worker – contact Workplace Health & Safety
  • a demolition worker – contact Workplace Health & Safety
  • an insulation installer – the installation of home insulation in Queensland does not require a licence
  • an electrician carrying out electrical work (an electrician cannot carry out building work without a QBCC licence) – contact the Electrical Safety Office in Workplace Health & Safety
  • a handyman – as long as the value is no more than $3,300, isn't electrical or plumbing work and doesn't require an occupational licence
  • an architect - carrying out building design work or building inspections on all types of buildings - contact Board of Architects Queensland

There are other circumstances where you may not need a QBCC licence. Contact us or see:

Still not sure?

There are other circumstances where you may not need a QBCC licence. If you are still unsure, contact us for assistance with your individual circumstances.

Contact us


Last reviewed: 11 Aug 2021 Last published: 18 Aug 2021
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