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National Licensing

Common Pit Falls When Applying For A Builder’s Licence

March 2, 2023

You have the experience, you have the qualifications, and you have industry support through professional colleagues willing to vouch for your abilities and eligibility.  Considering you can meet all the requirements; it should be a relatively straight forward process.  Unfortunately, many people struggle with understanding exactly what level and sort of documentation needs to be provided to give your application the best chance of success.  Here are 3 of the most common pitfalls when submitting your Builders Licence application.


The most common pit fall leading to licence application refusals, is the lack of acceptable referees, or referees that don’t confirm verbally what has been provided in writing with your application. Liaise and work with your referee to make sure details of the project, start and finish dates, your roles and responsibilities are correctly detailed in your reference statements.  A small oversight such as listing a construction start date that does not align with construction documentation, can trigger a domino effect on the rest of your application.  Similarly, not providing a reference at all for a project, may discount that experience entirely unless you can provide other validating evidence to support your claim.  As much as it can be disappointing, it is much better that you find out before you make an application that you do not have the full support of your referee, rather than your referee not supporting all of your claim to the licensing body.

In Queensland for example, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission will interview your referees over the phone. The interview will include detailed questioning about the project and your roles and responsibilities.


Another critical component of preparing your builder licence application, is to identify specific projects that will meet the licensing bodies assessment criteria for the scope of the licence class. The projects that you list in your work history must cover new construction and/or at least structural alterations, additions, or renovations.  The project scope should also cover the Classes of Building (BCA) that are covered under the licence class.  Non-structural work in isolation is generally not accepted.  Work that is performed under an owner builder permit, unlicensed work, or work that you did not receive any documented lawful payment will not be considered at all.  Your nominated projects must generally also cover all stages of construction from preliminaries (contracts, cashflow, budgeting, site establishment etc.) through to practical completion.  Providing not enough qualifying projects and too many that don’t qualify, is another common pitfall of applicants.


Your roles and responsibilities on each project is as equally important as the type of project and appropriate referees.  The licensing bodies require you to demonstrate coordination, management and supervision at a high level covering the entire life and scope of the project.  Key attributes include: applying building codes and standards, planning and organising complete building projects, on site supervision of all trades involved in the project, applying legal requirements to the project ie workplace health and safety, contracts, insurances etc.

Feeling more confused than ever?  Call us at National Licensing and we can talk about your experience and assist with identifying acceptable referees and projects for your builder licence application.

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