Check your trades are licenced – before you start!

Useful Links & Tips when it comes to renovations and building

“Do you have a trade license?” This is often a question that is missed (or avoided) at the beginning of discussions with trades and often falls into the assumption category. With possible legal ramifications for you, the homeowner, not to mention possible Occupational Health & Safety issues, it’s imperative to know that your contractors are qualified and licensed by the appropriate regulatory authorities.

What is a trade license?

A trade license shows that the contractor has passed the qualifications and examinations in their state to conduct the scope of works you’ve engaged them to do.

Why are trade licenses important?

Would you want a surgeon to perform an operation that hadn’t the experience or qualification to do it? Obviously the answer would be no. This is the same concept in construction. By having licenses issued by regulatory governing authorities, it ensures unskilled and unqualified works are not being carried out. They are also essential in maintaining safety, quality of workmanship and improving standards. This protects not only the tradesperson but importantly, you the consumer.

How does ‘scope of work’ apply to a license?

A scope of work is the descriptive term used for the works that the tradesperson will conduct. Their license will have a range of duties that they are authorised and qualified to carry out. To ensure safety and standards, a license holder can only carry out the work detailed on their license. In other words a plumber is not authorised to do electrical works.

What types of licenses are there?

There are numerous types of licenses and will be determined by the scope of works and in which state the works are being done. Common areas in construction where licenses apply:

• Electrical

• Plumbing

• Demolition

• Architecture

• Building

• Roof Plumbing

• Gas Fitting

• Asbestos Removal

• Carpentry

• Air-conditioning

• Building Surveyor

Can I ask to see their trade license?

Definitely! In fact, it is a must that you do. If you have a tradesperson who is unable or reluctant to show their license then this should send red flags. Walk away before you commit or are further down the construction path.

What should I look out for on their license?

Ensure that it is the correct name (or business name), have a registered address, displays a license number and is current. Note expiry date as should your project be built within the expiry date, you will need to ensure you get an updated copy.  Some licenses may have restrictions or class of license issued. The ‘class’ indicates what scope of work the holder is authorised to carry out. For example, a builder may be authorised to only build up to 2 levels with a basement.

How do I check if they’re qualified?

There are state-specific regulatory governing authorities that issue trade licenses and each state has different governing bodies. Most are easily sourced via the internet or via enquiry calls.


As there are quite a few, we’ve correlated some useful links and resources to help you.

Click here for more info.

For a quick online trade license check, you can visit

Remember to do your due diligence as errors or incidences from unlicensed and unskilled contractors could be very costly!