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Standard fact sheet.

Building trade advertisements 

Guidelines for media advertising staff

Publishers of advertisements from the building trade have certain obligations under the law. The Home Building Act 1989 and Australian Consumer Law apply to print, online, television, radio and other advertising.

A licence number must be included in all advertising for residential building and specialist work. The Home Building Act 1989 prohibits a company or individual from advertising for any residential building work over $5,000 or specialist work (electrical wiring, plumbing, draining, gas fitting, air conditioning and refrigeration work) to be carried out without having a current contractor licence.

Only the person (or holder corporation) who holds a contractor licence can advertise for work (eg. a plumber cannot put their individual licence number on an advertisement for their company). Accurate information helps consumers make informed choices.

Advertising checklist

Check that advertisements include the following:

  • licensee’s name (individual, company or business name)
  • licence number with correct category of work and
  • business telephone number.


Note: The Australian Consumer Law requires that suppliers making pricing representations must not state a price that is only a part of the cost (ie a component) unless the single price is also clearly stated.

Advertisers’ details

Publishers should ensure that they have adequate systems in place to identify who placed a specific advertisement including:

  • company/business name
  • full name and phone number of the contact person
  • complete street address.

This enables law enforcement agencies to follow up concerns about misleading, deceptive advertisements.

False and misleading advertisements

Advertisements should not make statements or representations that are not true or likely to mislead or deceive. They should not have false implications or hidden meanings and must give an accurate overall impression.

A builder or tradesperson should not seek to persuade clients using any statement, representation or promise that is false, misleading or deceptive; or by the concealment of a material fact.

Filler advertisement

Below is a filler advertisement to be used if and when the space is available. It alerts home owners to check advertisement details.

NSW Fair Trading requires building and trades advertisements to include:

  • licensee’s name (individual, company or business name)
  • licence number with correct category of work and
  • business telephone number.

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