Applying for an individual builders license

Applying for a builders licence with NSW Fair Trading can be a confusing and complex process. The information contained in this article may assist you to understand the licence application process and the information required by Fair Trading for a successful outcome.

Forms and Information

Builders licence applications are lodged with NSW Fair Trading. Fair Trading assess the application and determine whether the application complies with the relevant NSW laws and guidelines relating to licensing.

The Fair Trading website contains the forms and information necessary for a builders licence application. The Fair Trading website address is .

The home building licensing section is found on the Fair Trading homepage under the heading “Tradespeople”. Scroll down the Tradespeople list and click on “Home building licensing” which directs you to

Information relating to licensing is available at various links on this page. The forms required for an application are located under the link to “Builder and tradespeople forms” which directs you to

There are 3 forms to be completed for a builders licence application. The first form is identified on this website page as:

  1. “Applicant’s Checklist for Individual Applicants for General Building Work”.

Once you click on the Applicants Checklist it will open and you will be able to access the other 2 forms through the relevant links which are:

  1. “Application Form – Individual at ; and
  2. “Referee’s Statement Form” at .

The Applicants Checklist contains further details on the information required for an application.

The applicant is allowed to provide more information than can be contained on the forms. Additional information can be attached with the application. It is important to provide as much relevant information as possible. 

The Essentials

NSW legislation and Fair Trading guidelines provide that in order to obtain a builders licence an applicant must have met the approved qualification and experience requirements.


The approved qualifications are listed on the Fair Trading website at

The minimum level of qualification required is a Certificate IV in a relevant building course. Relevant courses can be undertaken through Masters in Building Training and course details are outlined on their website at .


The experience requirements are outlined on the same Fair Trading website page as the approved qualifications at

Applicants must show at least 2 years relevant industry experience in a wide range of building construction work where the majority of the experience was obtained within 10 years of the date on which the application is made.

The applicant must have gained their experience while under the supervision of a licenced builder, either as an employee or in certain circumstances as a contractor. The applicant must also have been paid by the licenced builder while gaining the experience.

The “Note to Applicants” on the above web page provides information on the type of experience required. The applicant must have experience:

  • In a wide range of building construction work covering all stages of construction;
  • Demonstrated an ability or capacity to project manage residential building work on site;
  • Managed work in accordance with the Building Code of Australia;
  • Dealt effectively with sub-contractors, consumers and other parties;

At section 6.2 of the “Referee’s Statement Form” at on the Fair Trading website, there is a list of further examples of acceptable experience.

Experience must be supported by a Referees Statement verifying that the experience was undertaken while under the supervision of a licenced builder.

Some Helpful Hints

As a general guideline Fair Trading take the following approach in determining whether experience is acceptable.

Experience cannot be accepted where:

  • it was undertaken while working for an owner builder;
  • it was interstate;
  • it was on commercial construction;
  • it was off site;
  • it was demolition work;
  • it was more than 10 years ago;
  • there was no development application (DA) at the address where the experience is claimed; and
  • the applicant was contracting without a contractor’s licence.

Fair Trading will usually make inquiries to determine whether there was a development application at the site where the experience is claimed. In addition Fair Trading may determine when the DA commenced and finished so that they can verify the dates on the application form are correct. Fair Trading may also contact the referee to verify the dates and type of experience claimed.

It is important to precisely identify the dates on when the experience was gained. A general start to finish date for the project will not suffice, especially where two or more jobs may have been underway during the same period, or the applicant was not at the site for the whole period of the project.

Experience can be gained at various times over 10 years as long as the total experience totals 2 years’ experience.

The Process

Once the application forms are completed the application can be lodged with Fair Trading for assessment along with the required fee.

The Fair Trading website states that applications will be assessed within 30 days however an applicant should be prepared for the assessment to take longer as the process can take up to 3 months. Fair Trading may contact the applicant for additional information.

If the application is denied then an applicant has 28 days within which to lodge a request with Fair Trading for a review. At this stage further evidence can be submitted to address any shortfalls Fair Trading raised in their reasons for the denial.

If the application to Fair Trading for a review is unsuccessful then the applicant may make an application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a further review within 28 days.

Additional Assistance

Kreisson building and construction team is experience in all aspects of building licence applications. We can advise and act on:

  • Licence applications;
  • Requests for reviews of decisions to deny the application; and
  • Tribunal appeals.

To obtain our contact details and information on other legal services we provide to the building industry please contact us or phone Kelvin Keane on 02 8239 6515.

The information contained in this brochure is offered as general advice only and may not apply to the reader’s specific circumstances. It is recommended that the reader obtain advice relevant to their specific circumstances should they wish to proceed further.