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Aspire To Become A Licensed Builder In Queensland?

March 23, 2023


Queensland is the only state that offers a Site Supervisor level of licence. The Site Supervisor licence is basically a “P Plate” builder licence providing an employment pathway for people aspiring to obtain a full builders licence. A Site Supervisor licence is required if you are employed or acting as a building work supervisor, foreman, construction manager etc, under the instruction of an existing licensed builder.

If you do not hold a Site Supervisor licence, you may be working in breach of QBCC legislation. More importantly, the experience that you have gained may not be accepted by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) as lawful. In this article we run through the nuts and bolts of QBCC Builder Site Supervisor Licences.


In December 2007, Site Supervisors’ licences were introduced in Queensland. Up until the last few years, industry and QBCC have not really enforced the requirements under the legislation. If you are working in the commercial sector, then you may already be aware of the licence and who should hold one.

Historically, a limited licence was created to provide a pathway for industry entrants to have core building and construction skills and knowledge. It was also introduced to facilitate a principal building contractors’ responsibility, to ensure all building work done under their licence is adequately supervised by an appropriately licensed person. This becomes challenging for the commercial sector or medium to large scale residential builders, on large projects and/or over multiple sites, to source a fully licensed builder. Hence the introduction of a limited licence.

A 12-month transition period was available for existing unlicensed site supervisors to obtain the licence without having to obtain any technical qualifications, if they could provide a declaration from their licensed employer.


QBCC states, that regardless of whether you are an employee or contractor, you must hold a site supervisor licence to lawfully supervise building work. On the other hand, QBCC states that if you are employed, you are not required to hold a licence (exceptions include occupational licences such as plumbers, electricians etc).

QBCC requires all practical experience to have been obtained lawfully. This generally then would apply as an employee of the licensed principal builder, or an appropriately licensed subcontractor. When QBCC assesses your experience for a full builder’s licence application, there has been some inconsistencies about whether experience gained without a builder site supervisor licence is deemed as lawful.

Site Supervisor Licence Classes – Qualification Criteria

A builder site supervisor’s licence may be issued for any class of builder licence. This licence is a restricted licence and therefore the entry requirements are much less that a full builder licence. A site supervisor licence requires only specific units from the full builder qualification. The technical eligibility criteria are as follows:

Open Builder Site Supervisor Licence requires select units from the Advanced Diploma of Building & Construction (Management) CPC60212: CPCCBC6001; CPCCBC6018; CPCCBC6014; CPCCBC6016.

Medium Rise Builder Site Supervisor Licence requires select units from the Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) CPC50210; CPCCBC5001; CPCCBC5004; CPCCBC5005; CPCCBC5006; CPCCBC5018; CPCCBC5009; CPCCBC5010.

Low Rise Builder Site Supervisor Licence (Queensland) requires select units from the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) CPC40110; CPCCBC4001; CPCCBC4053; CPCCBC4002; CPCCBC4007; CPCCBC4008; CPCCBC4009; CPCCBC4010; CPCCBC4012; CPCCBC4018; BSBLDR414

There are also specific units of qualifications in place for the site supervisor licence classes of Builder restricted to Kitchen Bathroom and Laundry Installation, Builder restricted to Shopfitting, Builder restricted to Structural Landscaping and Builder restricted to Special Structures. For more information about the requirements for these licence classes visit

Practical Scenario

Mr Tradie is qualified and licensed as a carpenter. He is subbing to a builder on a residential building site. In addition to carrying out trade level carpentry work he is also carrying out management and supervision of the site under the instruction and guidance of a licensed builder. Mr Tradie has roles and responsibilities such as:

· ensuring that the subcontractors on site are coordinated and supervised

· managing site safety

· organizing the supply and delivery of materials

· liaising with certifiers and engineers on site

· working to and managing a construction program etc

Mr Tradie is being paid under ABN at a higher rate in recognition of his advancement with the principal builder. In theory, he should also hold a builder low rise site supervisor licence, this is for two particularly important reasons. Firstly, the QBCC will view experience gained whilst holding a site supervisor licence much more favourably, than without. In fact, the QBCC may even discount any or all experience gained without the appropriate level of site supervisor licence. Secondly, for the principal builder to ensure adequate supervision of all sites, he must have an appropriately licensed person overseeing each site. In the above scenario, it would be arguable that a licensed carpenter without a site supervisor licence, is providing adequate supervision for the purposes of QBCC legislation. The licensing rules do not necessarily consider how skilled, experienced, and qualified you are, unless you have the appropriate licence.

Key Takeaway

Based on our experience, building supervisory experience gained whilst holding a builder site supervisor licence, will be accepted much more favourably by QBCC when assessing your application. There are no guarantees whether your experience will be accepted either with or without holding a builder site supervisor licence, holding that licence will however build a much stronger overall application.

Obtaining a building qualification and two- or four-years’ experience is no longer enough, and having this licence is quite often the difference between a successful or unsuccessful application.

Contact us at L2T for more information about site supervisor licensing.

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