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Standard fact sheet.
Large print fact sheet.

Licence holder basics 

NSW home building licensees have a range of responsibilities to be aware of. These responsibilities are outlined below. 

Change to your circumstances 

You must notify Fair Trading in writing within 7 days of any of the following:

  • change in address
  • change in your name
  • change in your trading, business or company name (provide copy of ASIC material) 
  • change in your partners or the directors of your company
  • change in nominated supervisor
  • you enter into bankruptcy or a scheme of arrangement with creditors, or 
  • your company is deregistered or becomes subject to a winding up order or to the appointment of an external administrator or controller.

Failure to provide of a change in circumstances is an offence under the Home Building Act 1989 and may incur penalties.

Go to the Builder and tradespeople forms page on the Fair Trading website for the appropriate form.

Change in your nominated qualified supervisor

Should your nominated qualified supervisor resign, you have up to 30 days to nominate a suitable replacement.

For further information, refer to the nominated qualified supervisor page.

Caution: If you do not have a qualified supervisor for more than 30 days, your contractor licence will be cancelled. 

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Complying with the law 

From 29 April 2005, the grounds on which disciplinary action can be taken against you include where:

  • there is a risk to the public that you will be unable to carry out work that you have contracted
  • your licence was improperly obtained
  • you knowingly fail to notify the Principal Certifying Authority of a critical stage inspection and proceed with the work
  • you become disqualified from holding a licence.

Disciplinary action may result in one or a combination of the following:

  • a caution or reprimand
  • a penalty up to $11,000 for an individual
  • a penalty up to $50,000 for a corporation (company)
  • conditional limitations placed on the licence
  • cancellation of the licence
  • disqualification of the licence holder.

A notice to show cause is the starting point for disciplinary action. For more information, go to the Notice to show cause page.


A monetary penalty can be imposed for offences under the Home Building Act 1989. From 29 April 2005, a distinction is made between individuals and corporations (companies) for offences under the Act. The maximum penalty for an offence by an individual is $22,000 (200 penalty units) and the maximum penalty for a corporation is now $110,000 (1,000 penalty units).

Offences include (but are not limited to ):

  • unlicensed contracting
  • doing work or taking deposits without home warranty insurance
  • not using the correct form of a contract (including the provision of a copy of the Consumer building guide and checklist)
  • taking excessive deposits
  • the carrying out of work by unqualified persons
  • knowingly engaging an unlicensed contractor
  • lending a licence
  • not disclosing to a building inspector the names and addresses of persons on the site
  • failing to obtain home warranty insurance (where required).

Proceedings for a breach of the Home Building Act may be dealt with either before a local courtor the Supreme Court. The Local Court can impose fines of up to $22,000.

Public warnings

Fair Trading is able to issue a public warning notice about licensees if there is an immediate risk to the public.

Cancellation or suspension of licences

For further information regarding the cancellation or suspension of licences, certificates or permits refer to the cancelled and suspended licences page. For specific information regarding failure to comply with a money order, refer to the automatic licence suspension page.

Suspension of contractor licences on appointment of controller or administrator

Fair Trading is able to suspend the licence of a company where a controller or administrator is appointed, or during an investigation into a licensee's conduct. Suspension would be based on an assessment of the risk to the public.

Suspension can be reversed if the administration is finalised and the company is able to trade, or if an investigation concludes no further action should be taken.

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Surrendering of contractor licences and certificates 

You may surrender your licence or certificate at any time by using the appropriate surrender of licence/certificate form. Some licensees may be entitled to a partial refund for the unexpired portion of the fees paid for the licence.

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By law, your licence must be shown on all advertising, stationery and signage. For more information about the requirements for advertising building and trade services, go to the Building trade advertisements page in the Business section of the Fair Trading website.

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Building Code of Australia (National Construction Code) 

The Building Code of Australia under the National Construction Code is amended annually, with changes coming into effect on 1 May each year.

From 1 February 2015, the Code will be available online and free of charge. For more information, go the Australian Building Codes Board website.

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