Licensed Builders

Before you sign anything from a builder or Tradesperson:

  • ask them for a copy of their licence card
  • go to or call 133220 and make sure the contractor is licenced for the work you want done.
  • Anyone doing residential work over $1000 in value (or specialist work) must have a licence 


Selecting a tradesperson or builder

The golden rule

The golden rule is to make sure all builders and tradespeople have a valid licence. You can look up the licence details of any contractor you are thinking of using on the Department of Fair Trading Licence Check webpage or call 13 32 20 Department of Fair Trading. 

Important. By law, all builders and tradespeople must display their licence number on any advertisement for their services.


Choosing a builder or tradesperson

Only a builder or trader who is properly trained and has the relevant experience to do the work may be licensed with the Office of Fair Trading. Any person who carries out residential building work over $1,000 in labour and materials content without an appropriate licence is breaking the law and could be prosecuted.

Specialist tradespeople who carry out any of the following must be licensed regardless of the cost of the work:

  • electrical wiring
  • plumbing, draining and gasfitting work
  • air conditioning and refrigeration work (except plug-in appliances).


What does a builder do?

Many builders today do not do actual building work themselves. Builders or building contractors:

  • manage and coordinate home building or renovation projects
  • manage the purchase and delivery of materials
  • coordinate the work of tradespeople such as plumbers, painters and carpenters involved in the project.


What does a tradesperson do?

A tradesperson has a current licence from the Office of Fair Trading to carry out work in a particular field in the home building industry in NSW.

The term tradesperson includes all licensed:

  • concreters
  • bricklayers
  • carpenters
  • electricians
  • plumbers
  • roof tilers
  • plasterers
  • tilers
  • painters
  • fencers
  • gasfitters.


Do you need a builder or tradesperson?

If you want your gutters replaced, your plumbing fixed or your floors sanded, you need a tradesperson.

If you want to add another bedroom or build a new home, you need a builder to organise the right tradespeople to do the work.


What does a supervisor do?

A supervisor is an individual who is responsible for supervising the work under a building contract on behalf of a contracting company or partnership.

The supervisor may hold either a qualified supervisors certificate or a contractor licence.

Qualified Supervisors Certificate

This certifies that the supervisor is qualified to supervise but not to enter into contracts under this certificate.


What if the supervisor is an architect?

Where an architect or other person (not being the building contractor) has been contracted separately to supervise the work of the builder, the roles and responsibilities of that person should be clearly defined in an appropriate contract separate from the building contract.

This is so that there is no confusion about what someone is paid to do. Every person working on a residential building work (RBW) project for the property owner should itemise separately their responsibilities in writing, in case of future dispute about who was the principal person responsible (builder) for the whole RBW project.


How to find a builder or tradesperson

Try the following:

  • ask people for their personal recommendations
  • ask other people in the industry
  • ask the relevant industry association for a list of names
  • look for advertisements on television, radio, in home buyer magazines or the local newspaper
  • look in the Yellow Pages under 'Building contractors' and under the various types of trade categories.


Project homes

If you choose one of the designs of a builder on display at an exhibition home, then you will probably use that builder. Unless you have otherwise agreed, your new home must by law, be built to the same standard of work and materials used in the exhibition home.

Before you sign a contract, find out what the standard inclusions are. You will have to negotiate with the project builder if you want any changes to the design, fixtures and fittings so that the total cost will fit your budget.


Related Pages

Building Control

Building Control encompasses many aspects of building, from Council requirements to State Government requirements to general information items, as they relate to building work and renovations or the like.

Fibro and Asbestos

Whether a home is constructed of weatherboard, brick, fibro or has exterior cladding, asbestos can be found in and around most homes built or renovated before 1987. .

Plumbers & Drainers

In accordance with the Australian Building Code and Plumbing Code of Australia, all plumbing and gas work now requires the following forms to be submitted by plumbers, drainers and gas fitters

Statutory Builders' Warranty Insurance

Under legislation, both Licensed Builders and Owner Builders are required to take out domestic warranty insurance.


An owner-builder is an individual authorised to do owner-builder work under a permit issued by NSW Fair Trading