Which licence type you need | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

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What to consider

When deciding which licence you may need to apply for, you need to consider the following:

Determine which licence class covers the scope of work you intend to be undertaking or overseeing. 

The way you intend to operate in the industry will determine which licence type you will need to hold. Each licence type enables a different role and has different responsibilities in the industry. 

Each licence type has different prerequisite requirements that need to be met. Each available QBCC licence outlines the specific eligibility requirements for the licence types available in that class. This may include all or a combination of the following criteria:

  • technical qualifications
  • experience requirements
  • business or managerial qualifications
  • financial requirements
  • professional indemnity insurance.

Roles and responsibilities

We offer four types of licence to cover different roles and responsibilities in the building industry. You can choose the licence type that suits how you intend to work.

You must ensure that you only perform the role permitted by your licence type.

The table below provides a quick overview of how a licensee may operate in the industry when holding each type of licence.

Contractor (company) Contractor (individual) Nominee supervisor Site supervisor Occupational
Contracts directly for building work as the company Can contract directly for building work as an individual (sole trader, partner, trustee) Is an employee Is an employee Is an employee
N/A Can supervise building work Can supervise building work Can supervise building work Can supervise own work
N/A Can be nominee for a building company Nominee for a building company N/A N/A
N/A Can personally perform building work

(Also requires an occupational licence to perform plumbing, drainage, gas, termite management-chemical work)
Can personally perform building work

(Also requires an occupational licence to perform mechanical services, plumbing, drainage, gas, fire, termite management-chemical work)
Can personally perform building work

(Also requires an occupational licence to perform mechanical services, plumbing, drainage, gas, fire, termite management-chemical work)
Personally performs building work

Contractor

A contractor-type licence is a business licence issued to a company or an individual (sole trader, partner or trustee).

A contractor-type licence allows the individual or company to enter into contracts directly with a property owner, builder, principal contractor or developer.

Contractor licensees must demonstrate they have the financial capacity and business training to run a sustainable business. They must also demonstrate they have the technical skills and experience to undertake the scope of building work for the licence class they hold.

Contractors of the trades below must continue to maintain their occupational licence to be able to undertake the work:

A licensee with a contractor-type licence may be one of the following:

  • a trade contractor—with technical qualifications (or equivalent) and experience in one or more trade classes. A trade contractor licensee can engage qualified people in the same trade class as their own licence, or engage and supervise unlicensed contractors. They can also subcontract to a builder
  • a builder—has more advanced qualifications and experience to manage larger and more complex projects. Builders can engage trade contractors with a different licence class to carry out the various components of the building project. They can also coordinate other trade contractors to come on-site and complete work directly for the client
  • a hydraulic designer or building designer—who prepares the plans and specifications for buildings or water management systems
  • a building inspector—who is responsible for checking that completed residential buildings meet the building standards and codes
  • a builder project manager—who is responsible for administration, advisory and management services for building projects.

A contractor:

  • may be either a company or an individual (sole trader, partner, trustee)
  • can contract directly with the public or to a builder, principal contractor or developer
  • with a trade class of licence–can engage other licensees as subcontractors who are qualified in the same trade class as their own licence
  • with a trade class of licence—can engage a non-licensee to undertake the same class of work
  • with a builder class of licence—can directly engage trade contractors (in a different class of licence to their own) to undertake work or coordinate other trade contractors on-site
  • can be the nominee for a company (for which they are a director, secretary or employee)
  • must demonstrate they have
    • a technical qualification
    • business training through a relevant course
    • financial capacity to underwrite their business
    • for some licence classes—experience.

Nominee supervisor

A nominee supervisor licence is issued to an appropriately qualified director, secretary or employee of a company who is nominated to oversee the scope of building work the company is contracted to undertake. They must ensure that the work being undertaken by the company meets the relevant standards and codes.

The person holding the nominee supervisor licence must meet the relevant experience, technical skills and managerial qualifications for the same licence class as the company's contractor-type licence.

A nominee supervisor cannot enter into contracts directly with the public, builder or principal contractor. This is done through the company entity holding the company contractor-type licence.  

For many licence classes, a nominee supervisor licensee is permitted to carry out building work. However, they must hold an additional occupational licence if the scope of work they wish to perform includes:

A nominee supervisor:

  • is a nominee for a building company
  • is responsible for supervising building work for the company for which it is a nominee
  • must be an employee, director or secretary of the company
  • must oversee the same scope of work covered by the licence class of the company's contractor-type licence 
  • can personally perform the work if they also hold any required occupational licences
  • must demonstrate they have
    • a technical qualification 
    • business or managerial training in a relevant course 
    • experience.

A nominee supervisor:

  • cannot personally enter into contracts to undertake building work for a property owner, builder, principal contractor or developer.

Site supervisor

A site supervisor licence is issued to a person employed by a licensed contractor to supervise building work of equivalent scope to the contractor's licence class. A site supervisor is only required to have a trade qualification to obtain this licence.

For many licence classes, a site supervisor licensee is also permitted to personally carry out building work. However, they must hold an additional occupational licence if the scope of work they wish to perform includes:

A site supervisor:

  • must demonstrate they have the relevant technical qualification for the scope of work they are responsible for supervising
  • is an employee of a licensed contractor
  • can personally perform the work if they also hold any required occupational licences.

A site supervisor:

  • cannot personally enter into contracts to undertake building work for a property owner, builder, principal contractor or developer.

Occupational

Occupational licenses are issued to industry practitioners who perform the following work as an employee of a QBCC contractor licensed for the same scope of work:

Provisional licence

A provisional (occupational) licence may be issued to plumbers and drainers while they gain further experience in their trade.

    An occupational licensee:

    • must hold the relevant technical qualification and competency for the scope of work they are undertaking
    • works as an employee to a contractor licensed for the same scope of works
    • can supervise their own work.

    An occupational licensee:

    • cannot personally enter into contracts to carry out building work for a property owner, builder, principal contractor or developer without also holding a contractor-type licence.

    Last reviewed: 30 Aug 2021 Last published: 30 Aug 2021
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