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Standard fact sheet.
Large print fact sheet.

Licence classes and qualifications 

NSW Fair Trading licenses all builders and tradespeople that carry out work in the residential building industry in NSW.

Types of licences and certificates 

Contractor Licence authorises that holder to contract and advertise to carry out the work described on their licence card. Individuals may have their contractor licence endorsed with a Q and this indicates that the licence is also equivalent to a Qualified Supervisor Certificate.  As an endorsed contractor licence holder is qualified they do not require a nominated supervisor.

Qualified Supervisor Certificate allows the holder to supervise and carry out the work as described on their certificate.

Nominated Qualified Supervisor is an individual who holds an endorsed contractor licence or a qualified supervisor certificate, and who is registered against a contractor licence as the person supervising the residential building work or specialist work. All companies and partnerships and unqualified individuals holding a contractor licence must nominate a supervisor.

Tradesperson Certificate is only issued in the classes of plumbing, draining and gasfitting and allows a person to undertake work with minimum supervision. Any work undertaken by the holder of a tradesperson certificate cannot sign off on work and work must be signed off by the holder of a contractor licence or qualified supervisor certificate. Tradesperson certificates used to be known as a ‘journeyman’.

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Licence and certificate classes 

For information about the scope of work covered and the qualifications required for each class of residential building, follow the links below:

General Building Work 


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Other Building Work 

Erection of prefabricated metal-framed home additions and structures
Kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovation
Structural landscaping
Swimming pool building

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Trade Work 

Building consultancy
Dry plastering
General concreting
Installation of security doors, grilles and equipment

Mechanical services
Metal fabrication
Minor maintenance/cleaning
Minor tradework
Roof plumbing
Roof slating
Roof tiling
Swimming pool repairs and servicing
Wall and floor tiling
Wet plastering

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Specialist Trade Work 

Air conditioning and refrigeration
Disconnection and reconnection of fixed electrical equipment
Plumbing, draining and gasfitting

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Company and Partnership contractor licence applications 

Standard information regarding applying for a company or partnership contactor licence for all licence classes is available at Applying for a licence or certificate.

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Cover under the Home Building Compensation Scheme 

For licensed contractors, there are mandatory requirements in regards to insurance under the Home Building Act 1989.

For further information about insurance and eligibility under the Home Building Compensation Scheme (previously Home Warranty Insurance), visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority's website at

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Apprentices and trainees 

To apply for a contractor licence, qualified supervisor certificate or tradesperson certificate an individual must satisfy that they are not in a contract of training either as an apprentice or trainee. An applicant signs a declaration to this effect when they complete their application for a licence or certificate. 

A contract of training is completed when the Commissioner for Vocational Training approves the completion.  The Commissioner will consider a request to complete lodged by either the employer or trainee, or both, once the apprentice or trainee has obtained their qualification from a registered training organisation.

For information on how to complete a contract of training, go to the State Training Services website at or call 13 28 11.

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Reduction of red tape 

From 15 January 2015 stand-alone contracts for internal paintwork as well as work related to tennis courts, ponds and water features no longer need a licence, unless done as part of other home building work.

Effective 29 April 2008, a previously held licence meets the qualification requirements for certain classes of licence or certificate issued under the Home Building Act 1989.

This change removes a major cost to former licence holders who would otherwise need to pay to have their former licence and experience recognised as being equivalent to the current qualification through the recognition of prior learning process.

This creates a quick and simple pathway for former licence holders to obtain a new licence and return to the industry.

From 16 September 2009, licensing ceased for building consultancy, non-structural flooring, kit home supply and mechanical services. Demolisher licensing ceased on 2 May 2008.

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