What is the difference between a qualified and licensed builder?

There are several differences between qualified and licensed builders such as legal requirements and protection, support from industry bodies, and the chance for business growth.

One of the most common questions tradies have is “what is the difference between a qualified and licensed builder?” Many builders are qualified and meet the requirements for getting their licence but are rejected because the process can be tricky. We are here to help and simplify it for you.

Becoming a qualified builder

Becoming a qualified builder means you’ve finished your apprenticeship/trade qualification and completed a post-trade building qualifications/certificate. You will be ready to work on site IF your boss holds the right licence. As a qualified builder you can work as an employee, but you CANNOT be responsible for supervising or running the site.

Legal Requirement

More than anything, you need to get licensed because it’s the law. Depending on the jurisdiction you are working in, there is a limit on how much you can charge if you are unlicensed. If you want to win big jobs, you’ll need to be licensed.

Legal Protection

Licensed builders have legal protection through insurance. This is as much for you as it is for your clients. Peace of mind for you and your client is well worth the process of getting licensed. You don’t want to open yourself up to being fined for doing unlicensed work and cause yourself serious financial trouble.

Support from Industry

Organisations like the Housing Industry Australia and Master Builders, require you to be a licensed builder to join them. With both organisations, you can list your business, enter into prestigious award competitions (think more clients!), receive funding to bring on apprentices, and many other professional support services exclusive to members.

Government Projects

You will need to be a licensed contractor to work on government projects, such as the recent $25,000 HomeBuilder grant, and with several big events on the horizon such as the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2032 Brisbane Summer Olympics, and possibly a 2027 Rugby World Cup, there is likely to be a lot of government-funded work over the next decade.

Business Growth

If you stay a qualified builder, you are letting your career stagnate. You can’t take on bigger jobs, you’ll miss out on work because you aren’t a part of industry bodies and people won’t hire you because you won’t have insurance protection. Getting licensed as soon as you can will boost your business and further your career. Don’t leave money on the table!

How do I become a licensed builder?

Becoming a licensed builder is different in each State and Territory, but generally looks something like this:

• Industry supervisory experience (in the licence type you are applying for!)
• Industry qualifications
• References from your supervisor(s)
• Proof of identity
• Declaration
• Police Check

Each State and Territory has different requirements when becoming a licensed builder, and requirements can differ even within classes (like Low Rise, General Building, etc). We are here to help you navigate this confusing process. Talk to us today to help sort out your licence and boost your business.

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