Serious Business: Getting a Licence to Build (or Be a Plumber)


Getting licensed in your home state: what if I decide to relocate?

When it comes to working as a tradesman, one of the most important pieces of paper you’ll ever hold is your licence. In many cases, it is literally your licence to work, and it means you’ve done the necessary work and training to be able to perform your job safely and competently.

Licensed trades vary from state to state. In QLD and NSW, you need a licence for every trade, whereas in Victoria, only plumbing and electrical require a licence. That’s why it’s important to check with your local authority. More on that later.

Before we get started, we should mention that, before you can even sit the test to get your licence, you need to train. For some trades, this is a long-term thing. You have to undertake an apprenticeship, your apprenticeship will include formal training in a trade training facility with someone like us! Training time will vary from trade to trade but could be a day in class each week, a block training of one week per month or it could be workplace based.

As you would imagine, it takes a fair bit of learning and knowledge to be able to build, wire up, plumb, plaster or roof a building (thankfully!). As we’ve mentioned, Builders Academy offers a Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services CPC40920, which contains training units required to apply for many of the licences in your state, as well as a number of other Certificate IV courses in building (and courses at other levels, too) so we’ve got you covered there. But what if you’re moving states?

Licences vary between states and territories and can require a bit of work to transfer, so just because you’re licenced in one state doesn’t automatically mean you’re covered Australia-wide.

Can a Queensland builder work in Victoria?

In order to see whether your current licence is transferrable, or what you would need to do to get a new licence if you moved states, your first stop should be Licence Recognition. It’s a government-run site that covers all the occupational licences in Australia and helps all skilled workers, including tradies, understand where their licence is valid – and where it isn’t.

If you want state-specific info, you can check out the relevant authorities themselves:
For NSW, it’s Fair Trading
For Victoria, it’s the Victorian Building Authority
For Queensland, check out the Queensland Building and Construction Commission
For WA, it’s the Department of Commerce
For Tasmania, it’s the Department of Justice
For the NT, it’s the Building Practitioners Board
And for ACT it’s the good old Environment and Planning Directorate – Planning

Of course, we’re always happy to help as much as we can, so if you are hoping to get licenced or you want to retrain in another state, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do to get you organised so you can become a legend (and stay a legend, even if you move states).


This article has been revised and updated 12th May 2022.