Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


QBCC vs Licensing

Business Structures vs Licensing

Moving from interstate or New Zealand

Technical Requirements for Licensing

Miscellaneous


QBCC vs Licensing


What does the QBCC do?

The QBCC is the licensing body within the building industry in Queensland. Anyone that carries out building work above the value of $3,300 (labour & materials) must hold a building licence in Queensland. The QBCC licence is the business licence that allows you to enter into a building contract to perform building work in Queensland. For example, you can be a qualified carpenter after completing your apprenticeship, however, you must also obtain your QBCC licence to carry out business or enter into contracts with the public.

Do I need a QBCC Licence?

If you are performing building work in excess of $3,300 (labour & materials) in Queensland, then you must hold the appropriate QBCC licence. Trades who require an occupational licence, for example, pest controllers, plumbers etc, require a QBCC licence regardless of the value of the work.

What does ‘carrying out building work’ mean?

‘Carrying out building work’ includes:

  • Carrying out the building work personally.
  • Directly or indirectly causing the building work to be carried out
  • Providing one or more of the following services, for building work:
    • Administration services - preparing tender documentation such as contracts or submitting a tender for building work; arranging labour or arranging and conducting on-site meetings and inspections; taking payment or arranging payment of subcontractors; contracting for w ork as a subcontractor to a builder; obtaining engineering or soil reports, or arranging for certificates from local government to be issued; preparing plans and specifications; administration of work usually carried out by a construction manager or project manager; and other administration for work usually carried out by a licensed contractor.
    • Advisory services - providing advice or a report for a building.
    • Management services - coordinating schedules of work for building subcontractors even as an agent for another person; management for the work usually carried out by a construction manager or project manager; and other management for work usually carried out by a licensed contractor.
    • Supervisory services - supervising building work; development, implementation and management of a system for the supervision of the work; coordination or management of those undertaking the supervision of the work; and any other supervision of building work allowed under the QBCC legislation.
Why do I need a contractors licence?

Because you’re legally required to, under the legislation, the QBCC Act 1991 (‘the QBCC Act’). The person that performs building works over the value of $3,300 (labour & materials) must hold the appropriate QBCC licence. Any building work that requires an occupational licence, regardless of the value of the work, must also hold a QBCC licence. Examples of these occupational licences are; plumbing, pest control, gasfitting etc.

How do I get my QBCC Licence?

You can contact us at ToolsUp to assist. The QBCC legislative requirements for a building licence require you to meet the Qualification requirements, the Experience requirements, the Minimum Financial Requirements and, of course the Fitness and Propriety test.

How much does a QBCC license cost?

QBCC licence fees are based on the financial category the licensee/applicant falls under in relation to the Minimum Financial Requirements for Licensing. The higher the financial category you fall under, the higher the application fees are. The fees you pay for your initial QBCC application are made up of the application/processing fee plus the renewal/roll fees for the first twelve months of you becoming licensed. Every other year after that, you will only pay the renewal fees to retain your licence.

How long does it take to get a QBCC Licence?

The QBCC processing time is an average of 6 - 8 weeks. It could be longer or shorter depending on the material that is submitted with your application and, of course, the workload of the QBCC.


Business Structures vs Licensing


Sole Trader and Licensing

If you are an individual trading as a sole trader (not trading through a company etc) performing building work, you need a QBCC licence. If you are an individual trading as a sole trader (not trading through a company etc) performing building work, you need a QBCC licence.

Companies and Licensing

There’s often confusion between these two legal entities (an individual and a company) about whether they require a QBCC licence or not, especially if it’s your own company. For example, a director of the company holds a QBCC licence already, but he/she does not realise that the company must also hold a licence. Because these are two separate legal entities by law, the company which is the corporate entity must also hold a licence in its own right if the company name is on the building contract as the contractor. This means your company must also hold a QBCC licence as a contractor and you will be the nominee or the “technical person/qualified person” to hold the licence. In order for a company to hold a QBCC licence, it must have a nominee with the appropriate class of licence. In other words, the company and its nominee must both be licensed with the QBCC. They must hold the same licence class, for example: Both the company and its nominee must hold a Carpentry class of licence if that is their trade.

Trusts and Licensing

My company operates through a family Trust, does my company need a licence?

The QBCC does not license trusts. However, it licenses the trustee entity of that family trust so if the trustee of the family trust is a Pty Ltd, then this Pty Ltd company must be licensed. The same rule applies if the trustee of the trust is an individual. In summary, the trustee entity of the family trust must be licensed, NOT the trust itself. For example: ABC Pty Ltd trading as ABC Family Trust, ABC Pty Ltd is the entity that must be licensed not the family trust.

Partnerships and Licensing

The QBCC does not license partnerships. However, at least one of the partners in that partnership must be licensed. It can also be all partners in the partnership holding a licence each but that is up to the partners to decide.


Moving from interstate or New Zealand?


Mutual Recognition and Licensing

If you have an active building licence in New Zealand and/or any other States in Australia. We can help you get your licence mutually recognised in Queensland or any other state including New Zealand. Mutual recognition applications hold a top priority in their processing time, 28 days.

Can a NSW builder work in Qld?

No they cannot work in Queensland under their NSW building licence. We can help get your NSW licence mutually recognised in Queensland under the Mutual Recognition system. Note: The mutual recognition system is given a “top priority” processing time by the QBCC or any other state as it has a very strict time frame as required by the Mutual Recognition Act. We can have your NSW licence mutually recognised in all states of Australia including New Zealand.

Can my New Zealand licence be recognised in Queensland?

You may be able to apply through the mutual recognition system. QBCC will issue you with the equivalent of your builder or trade licence from New Zealand.


Technical Requirements for Licensing


Do I have to have a formal qualification/certificate to get a QBCC licence?

Yes you do. Your years of experience can be used towards your trade assessment through the “RPL” (Recognition of Prior Learning) process to get that certificate before you apply for the licence.

What kind of education is required to be a contractor? (Formal Qualifications)

It is a minimum of a Certificate III level for trades - eg: Cert III in Carpentry. For builders, it is a minimum of a Certificate IV level - eg: Cert IV in Building and Construction. All applicants for a QBCC licence must have formal qualifications due to the legislation (the QBCC Act), not just real life experience. We at ToolsUp can help you obtain your formal qualification certificates, if you do not already have one. A lot of these certificates are not a “sit down” in a classroom course as your previous experience is taken into account towards the RPL Process (Recognition of Prior Learning).

I do not have any formal qualifications for my trade. Can ToolsUp help?

Yes we can help you obtain your qualification. Contact us for more information.

I managed my own business for a number of years now. Do I have to have a business managerial qualification for the QBCC licence?

Yes you do if you are applying for a contractor or a nominee licence. Note: this is only a short course that can be done in three days maximum. You can do this course online as well after work. Please contact us for more details.

Can ToolsUp assess my existing qualifications I have?

Yes we can. Please send us copies of your certificates.


Miscellaneous


How long is a QBCC Licence valid for?

A QBCC licence is renewable every twelve months at least.

Can a Handyman legally do plumbing?

No, any building work that requires an occupational licence, regardless of the value of the work, must hold a QBCC licence.

What is the penalty for working without a contractor’s license?

You will receive hefty fines and in some cases, they result in prosecutions in Court.

What is a Contractor licence?

This is a licence that allows you to contract with the public. It can be a trade or a builder licence. For example, a Carpentry licence (Contractor) or Builder Low Rise (Contractor) etc. Companies can only hold a Contractor licence. Individuals can hold either a Contractor, a Nominee or a Site Supervisor licence.

What is a Nominee licence?

This licence allows you to be a nominated supervisor for a company. It does not allow you to contract directly with the public under your own individual name. You do not need to meet the Minimum Financial Requirements for this licence with the QBCC.

What is a Site Supervisor licence?

A Site Supervisor allows an employee or officer of a licensed contractor to supervise building work under someone with a contractor’s licence. This licence may be issued for any class of licence. For example, Carpentry licence (Site Supervisor), Builder Low Rise (Site Supervisor) etc. Usually, those who are currently classified as excluded individuals under their QBCC Act for bankruptcy reasons etc, can apply for this type of licence. It allows you to at least to be employed and earn a living.

I used to hold a QBCC licence, can I get it back?

Depending on the reason for the cancellation of your licence, usually if your licence was cancelled because you did not pay the renewal fee, then there is no problem getting the licence. However, the legislation states that you must apply and meet all current licensing requirements at the time of the application. It is not a matter of just paying the renewal fee to get it back. If your licence was cancelled for any other reason - for example bankruptcy or fit and proper reasons - you should contact us to discuss your options.