6 Steps To Become A Registered Builder In Australia

how to become a builder

Table of Contents

The construction industry in Australia employs approximately 1.2 million people. It is one of the largest employers in Australia.

Builders are vital to the economy because they:

  • Create jobs
  • Stimulate economic growth 
  • Contribute to developing infrastructure and communities.


Builder demand in Australia has increased in recent years due to a growing population and demand for housing and commercial buildings.

To ensure the safety of workers and the general public, builders in Australia are subject to stringent safety regulations. They must adhere to workplace health and safety regulations and obtain the necessary permits and approvals for their projects.

Steps to becoming a builder in an Australian building and construction project:

  • Acquire the necessary qualifications by completing a Certificate IV in Building and Construction or a higher degree in construction management
  • Gain relevant industry experience as an apprentice or trainee, apply for a builder’s licence from the state or territory’s building authority
  • Meet the licensing requirements by providing evidence of qualifications and experience and passing an examination
  • Keep the licence current by renewing it regularly, completing ongoing professional development courses, and starting a business or working as a contractor. 


The specific requirements may vary depending on the state or territory, so checking the licensing and regulatory requirements in the area of interest is essential.

Who Is A Builder?

A builder is a person or company engaged in constructing, renovating, or extending a structure or building. A builder’s roles and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Planning and design: It is the builder’s responsibility to work with architects, engineers, and other professionals to develop plans and designs for building projects, ensuring that these plans and designs satisfy the client’s needs and are per local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Site preparation: It is the responsibility of the builder, which may include clearing the land, levelling the ground, and installing temporary fencing and utilities.
  • Work on the building’s foundation: Builders are tasked with laying the groundwork to support the structure’s upper stories.
  • Framing: Builders are responsible for framing the structure, which includes erecting the walls, floors, and roof.
  • Electrical and plumbing installation: Builders coordinate the installation of electrical and plumbing systems, which are critical to the building’s operation.
  • Finishing work: Builders are in charge of completing the building’s finishing work, such as installing windows and doors, painting, and installing flooring and fixtures.
  • Landscaping: Builders may also be in charge of landscaping around the building, such as installing walkways, planting trees and shrubs, and installing irrigation systems.
  • Project management: Management of the building project falls under the purview of the builder, who must coordinate the efforts of the various workers involved, set realistic deadlines, and stay within the established budget.
  • Compliance with regulations: Builders are responsible for ensuring that all relevant building codes and regulations, including safety regulations and environmental standards, are followed during construction.
  • Customer service: Builders must provide excellent customer service by working closely with clients to ensure that their needs are met and that the building project meets their expectations.


Overall, builders play an important role in the construction sector, managing and supervising construction projects to ensure they are completed to a high standard and in accordance with all relevant regulations and standards:

  • Acquire the necessary qualifications by completing a Certificate IV in Building and Construction or a higher degree in construction management
  • Gain relevant industry experience as an apprentice or trainee, apply for a builder’s licence from the state or territory’s building authority
  • Meet the licensing requirements by providing evidence of qualifications and experience and passing an examination
  • Keep the licence current by renewing it regularly, completing ongoing professional development courses, and starting a business or working as a contractor


The specific requirements may vary depending on the state or territory, so checking the licensing and regulatory requirements in the area of interest is essential.


how to become a builder

How To Become A Registered Builder In The Construction Industry?

To become a registered builder in Australia’s construction sector, you must first complete the following steps:

  1. Examine the prerequisites: The first step is to research the registration requirements in your state or territory. Each state and territory has an independent body responsible for regulating the construction sector, and their standards may vary slightly. The regulatory body will provide a detailed list of requirements to become a registered builder. Qualifications, experience, insurance, and financial stability are all common requirements.
  2. Acquire relevant qualifications: To become a registered builder, you must have relevant qualifications in building and construction. A diploma or degree in building and construction, or a trade qualification, such as a certificate III in Carpentry, may be required. Specific courses or qualifications may be required depending on the state or territory. Check with the regulatory body to ensure you enrol in the correct course.
  3. Acquire relevant experience: In addition to qualifications, you must have relevant experience in the building and construction sector. Working as an apprentice, carpenter, or construction worker, or gaining experience as a building supervisor or project manager, may be part of this. The amount of experience required may differ by state or territory. Before applying for registration, you must possess at least 2-3 years of work experience in the industry.
  4. Apply for registration: Once you have met the qualifications and experience requirements, you can apply for registration with your state or territory’s relevant regulatory body. Evidence of your qualifications, experience, and other requirements, such as insurance or financial stability, may be required as part of the application process. You may also need to pay a fee to submit your application.
  5. Pass the registration exam: You may also be required to pass a registration exam or assessment in some states or territories to demonstrate your knowledge of building and construction regulations and standards. Building codes, occupational health and safety, and environmental regulations may be covered in the exam. It is critical to prepare for the exam by familiarising yourself with all relevant regulations and standards.
  6. Maintain your registration: Once registered, you must keep your registration current by meeting any ongoing requirements, such as participating in continuing professional development (CPD) activities. Attending conferences, workshops, or training courses to keep up with industry developments and regulations are examples of CPD activities. You must also renew your registration regularly, usually every 1-2 years, and pay a renewal fee.


Becoming a registered builder in Australia’s construction sector requires qualifications, experience, and ongoing education. To ensure that you meet all of the necessary criteria, carefully review the requirements in your state or territory and seek guidance from the relevant regulatory body or industry associations.

However, you can easily find information about becoming a registered builder in Australia by searching your state or territory’s regulatory body’s website. Each state and territory regulatory body is listed below:


Regulatory Body Website

New South Wales

NSW Fair Trading


Victorian Building Authority


Queensland Building and Construction Commission

Western Australia

Building and Energy

South Australia

Consumer and Business Services


Consumer, Building and Occupational Services

Australian Capital Territory

Access Canberra

Northern Territory

Building Practitioners Board

Now that we know the steps to follow to become a registered builder. Let’s take a look at how to become a successful builder.

What Skills Are Required To Be A Builder On A Construction Site?

The following skills are necessary to become a successful builder on a construction site:

  • To ensure the safety and conformity of the building project, builders need in-depth knowledge of the relevant building codes, construction methods, and industry standards.
  • Construction workers must be in good physical shape to stand for long periods and work in all kinds of weather.
  • The ability of the builders to pay meticulous attention to every aspect of the project and ensure that it is completed to the highest possible standard is crucial to the project’s success.
  • Skill in communicating with clients, architects, engineers, other professionals, subcontractors, and construction workers.
  • Problem-solving abilities: Construction work often presents unforeseen challenges, and builders must adapt quickly to changes in the environment or the blueprints.
  • Skill in leading and inspiring the construction crew, subcontractors, and other professionals, is essential for any builder.
  • Effective time management is necessary for any builder to see a project through to completion on time and under budget.
  • The consciousness of the importance of safety Builders must take every precaution to ensure the well-being of their employees, subcontractors, and the general public.
  • Budgeting, cost estimating, and keeping tabs on expenses are some of the financial tasks builders must handle successfully.
  • Builders need excellent customer service skills and the ability to work closely with their clients throughout the building project to ensure that their needs are met and their expectations are exceeded.


Working as a builder on a construction site calls for a wide range of abilities, from technical expertise to the ability to lead others and communicate effectively.

Is Becoming A Builder Hard In Australia?

In Australia, becoming a builder can be difficult because it requires obtaining the necessary qualifications, gaining practical experience, obtaining a builder’s licence, and adhering to strict safety regulations and building codes. It is, however, attainable and can be a rewarding career with dedication and hard work.

how to become a builder

What Qualifications Do I Need To Be A Builder In Australia?

The qualifications required to become a builder in Australia are detailed below:

  • Certificate IV in Building and Construction: It covers the essential skills and knowledge required for working in the construction industry, such as project management, site supervision, and occupational health and safety.
  • Obtain A White Card: You must pass the course and receive a white card (general construction induction training). Later on, you must complete mandatory construction training. White Card is a nationally recognised training certification that provides evidence that a person has completed general construction induction training.
    White Cards are required for the following individuals per the National Code of Practice for Induction for Construction Work:
  • Workers in the building trades
  • Tradespeople 
  • Site supervisors
  • Managers
  • Surveyors 
  • Traffic controllers
  • Construction personnel who routinely enter active construction zones
  • Those who enter a working construction zone without proper supervision
  • Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Building and Construction: These credentials provide a more in-depth understanding of the construction industry, including advanced project management, legal and regulatory compliance, and sustainable building practices.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management: This programme focuses on project management and administration, including planning, design, procurement, and contract management.
  • Apprenticeship: Gain hands-on experience in the construction sector by enrolling in an apprenticeship or traineeship under the supervision of a licensed builder.
  • Building Licence: Apply to the relevant state or territory building authority for a builder’s licence.
  • Meet the Requirements: Meet the licencing requirements, which typically include passing an exam, providing evidence of your qualifications and experience, and meeting other criteria established by the building authority.


It’s important to note that licencing requirements vary depending on where you live in Australia, so check with the relevant building authority in your state or territory for specifics.

Can An International Student With A White Card Work As A Builder?

Yes, International students with white cards can work as builders in Australia. A white card is a nationally recognised certification that verifies a person’s completion of general construction induction training. This training is required for all workers in the construction industry in Australia, including international students.

After completing their white card training, international students can work as builders or construction workers in Australia. It is important to note, however, that some types of construction work may necessitate additional qualifications( Certificate IV, Diploma in Building and Construction) or licences. It is also critical that you have the proper work visa that allows you to work in Australia.

It is always a good idea to consult with the relevant government authorities to ensure that you are aware of any legal requirements or restrictions that may apply to your situation.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Builder In Australia?

The time required to become a professional builder in Australia varies based on several factors, including the type of qualification you pursue, your prior experience in the construction industry, and the licencing requirements of your state or territory. Here are some general estimates:

  • Certificate IV in Building and Construction: Typically, this qualification takes 6 to 12 months to complete.
  • Building and Construction Diploma or Advanced Diploma: These qualifications can take 12 to 24 months to complete.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management: This degree programme typically takes 3 to 4 years of full-time study.
  • You will also need to gain practical experience in the construction industry, which can take anywhere from 2 to 4 years through an apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • You can apply for a builder’s licence from the relevant state or territory building authority once you have completed your qualifications and gained the necessary experience. The requirements for licencing vary, but in general, passing an examination and meeting other criteria can take several months.
  • Depending on your qualifications, experience, and licencing requirements, becoming a professional builder in Australia can take 2 to 7 years.

What Are The Different Types Of Builders In Australia?

Builders in Australia are classified according to their qualifications, licences, and experience. Some of the most common types of builders are as follows:

  • Registered Building Practitioner (RBP): A licenced builder registered with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and authorised to do domestic and commercial building work in Victoria.
  • Licenced builder: A licenced builder can work in their state or territory. Builders must meet specific criteria and qualifications to obtain a licence.
  • Master Builder: A Master Builder is a professional with advanced training and extensive experience in the construction industry. They are usually Master Builders Association members dedicated to upholding high quality and professionalism standards.
  • Owner-Builder: An owner-builder is a person who acts as a builder on a building project. They are in charge of securing permits, overseeing the construction process, and making sure the work is completed in a timely manner.
  • Project Home Builder: A project home builder is a company that specialises in the construction of standard, predesigned homes. They typically provide a variety of home designs and packages. They are ideal for those looking for a low-cost, predesigned home.
  • Custom Home Builder: A custom home builder specialises in designing and building unique, custom homes tailored to the client’s specific needs and preferences. They collaborate closely with the client to develop a customised design that meets their needs.
  • Commercial Builder: A commercial builder specialises in constructing commercial structures such as office buildings, shopping centres, hotels, and warehouses. They must be licenced and thoroughly understand the commercial building codes, regulations, and safety standards. They typically work on projects requiring a large workforce, specialised equipment, and specific construction techniques.

How To Become An Owner Builder?

To become an owner builder in Australia, one must first obtain the required permits and licences and take the required training courses.

The steps to becoming an owner builder in Australia are outlined below.

  1. Verify your eligibility; owner building laws and requirements fluctuate from state to state in Australia. Be sure you qualify based on the laws in your state or territory before you get started. In some states, for instance, you may have to prove that you have relevant work experience in the construction sector.
  2. As an owner-builder, you must obtain permits and licences from the relevant local council or regulatory body. To legally construct the property, you must obtain a building permit.
  3. Before applying for a building permit in most states and territories, you must first complete an owner builder course. These programmes teach students code requirements, legal responsibilities, and practical construction methods.
  4. As the owner of the building, you need to put together a detailed plan for the construction. A budget, a list of contractors and suppliers, and a timetable for the work should all be included.
  5. Take charge of the building process. Once you have obtained all necessary licences and completed all necessary education, you will be ready to take charge of the building process. This includes vetting contractor work, checking for quality, and ensuring everything is done according to code.
  6. It’s highly recommended that you consult an expert before becoming an owner builder in Australia. Doing so can help you stay on the right side of the law and keep your money in your pocket.

How To Become A Commercial Builder?

To work as a commercial builder in Australia, you must meet the educational and professional requirements set forth by the jurisdiction in which you intend to practise.

The steps to becoming a commercial builder in Australia are outlined below:

  1. You must first ensure that you meet the requirements of your state or territory. Mostly, this necessitates a formal education and prior experience in the construction field.
  2. Getting a Certificate IV in Building and Construction or a Diploma of Building and Construction is usually mandatory in most states and territories. Construction law, project management, estimating and costing, and other related topics are also taught in these programmes.
  3. If you want to work as a commercial builder in Australia, you’ll need a licence from each state and territory. Obtaining a building contractor’s licence usually necessitates proving one’s competence in the field and financial stability and legal standing.
  4. To make it a commercial builder, you must get some hands-on experience. Working as an apprentice, supervisor, or manager in a construction company is one option, as is beginning with smaller projects on your own.
  5. Get better at managing money, promoting your business, and dealing with customers if you want to make it a commercial builder. Doing so could necessitate taking on more schoolwork or consulting with professionals in the business world.

How To Become A Registered Builder WA?

You must complete the following to become a registered builder in Western Australia:

  • You must be at least 18 years old, of good character, and have relevant building industry qualifications or experience.
  • Complete relevant building and construction qualifications, such as a Certificate IV or a Diploma in Building and Construction.
  • You should have professional experience in the building industry, such as working as a supervisor or manager in a construction company, is required.
  • A builder’s registration is required. You must provide the Building Commission with proof of your experience in the construction industry.
  • Comply with ongoing licencing requirements: Building regulations and standards, continuing professional development (CPD) courses, and financial and legal compliance must be followed.
how to become a builder

What Is The Difference Between Class C and Class D Builders?

Here’s a comparison chart that highlights the key differences between Class C and Class D builders in Australia:

 Class C BuilderClass B Builder
Licensing AuthorityLicensed by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA)Licensed by the VBA and/or relevant trade licensing body
Project TypeLow-rise residential and commercial building projects valued at up to $750,000Specialist building work related to specific trades
Renovations and AlterationsCan carry out renovations, alterations, and additions to existing buildings valued under $500,000Can carry out specialist building work related to specific trades
Project ScopeTypically, smaller-scale projectsIt may involve larger or more complex projects, depending on the specialist trade
Building HeightCan only undertake low-rise building projectsN/A (dependent on specialist trade)
Industrial ProjectsCannot undertake large-scale industrial and civil building projectsN/A (dependent on specialist trade)
Licence NameAlso known as “domestic builders” or “restricted builders”Requires a trade-specific licence and additional qualifications or licences, depending on the specialist trade

The information given above is specific to Victoria, but other Australian states and territories have similar differences between Class C and Class B builders.

Why Does A Builder Value Building And Construction Projects

Building and construction projects are critical for builders because they are their primary source of revenue and business. A building project’s successful completion can lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals, repeat business, and help builders establish their reputation in the industry.

Building and construction activity also provides opportunities for networking and can provide builders with a competitive advantage. Furthermore, the ability to complete building and construction activity successfully can lead to business expansion opportunities, allowing builders to take on larger and more complex projects in the future. 

Overall, building and construction activities are necessary for builders to demonstrate their abilities, establish their reputation, and expand their business.

Government Building Regulations 

The Australian government has building regulations to ensure that building and construction tasks are carried out safely and to certain standards.

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is responsible for developing and managing the National Construction Code (NCC), which establishes the minimum standards for building and construction activities in Australia. The NCC addresses:

  • Structural integrity
  • Fire safety
  • Plumbing and drainage
  • Electrical safety
  • Accessibility, and energy efficiency, among other things.


In Australia, each state and territory has its own regulatory body in charge of monitoring and enforcing building codes and standards. These organisations are responsible for the following:

  • Issuing building permits
  • Conducting inspections, and 
  • Ensuring that building and construction activities follow all applicable regulations
  • Investigating complaints and taking enforcement action against noncompliant builders.


In addition to the NCC, builders and construction professionals must follow other government regulations, such as workplace health and safety laws and environmental regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in legal and financial penalties and reputational harm. As a result, builders must stay current on the latest regulations and standards to ensure that their building projects are completed safely, efficiently, and to the required standards.

What Is the Building Code Of Australia?

Building codes are a set of rules and standards in Australia that establish the minimum requirements for building design, construction, and performance. The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) develops and maintains these codes, which state and territory building authorities enforce.

All construction work in Australia must adhere to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) standards.

The BCA is a component of the National Construction Code (NCC), which establishes the minimum standards for acceptable construction and covers topics such as structure, fire safety, accessibility, health, and sustainability.

Who Needs To Be Aware Of The BCA?

Anyone working in construction must ensure their work complies with the Building Code of Australia.

This means that almost everyone in the building and construction workplace must understand the BCA, how to use it, and ensure their work is up to code.

The following employees should be familiar with the BCA:

  • Tradies 
  • Builders
  • Building and construction contractors 
  • Carpenters
  • Managers of construction
  • Supervisors on the job
  • Plumbers and more

How Can A Builder Benefit From Construction Project Management Qualification?

A CPM Qualification is necessary for any builder looking into construction and building contracts. It can help builders in a variety of ways, including:

  • Improved knowledge and skills: It can give builders the knowledge and skills to effectively plan, coordinate, and manage building projects. This can include project planning, cost estimating, risk management, and stakeholder communication.
  • Improved credibility: It can help builders improve their industry credibility. This is especially useful when bidding on new projects or securing construction contracts.
  • Greater confidence: Builders may feel more confident in their ability to successfully manage and complete building projects after gaining knowledge and skills through this qualification. This can enable them to take on more difficult projects and expand their businesses.
  • Meeting industry requirements: It may sometimes be required to work on specific types of projects or bid on specific contracts. Builders can ensure they meet these requirements and avoid missing out on potential opportunities by obtaining a qualification.

Construction Project Management(CPM) Qualification Vs Construction Ready Package

CPM QualificationConstruction Ready Package
Focuses on building skills and knowledge related to managing building projects, such as project planning, scheduling, budgeting, risk management, and communication.Offers a predesigned set of construction paperwork and drawings that can be used to start construction rapidly without the need for considerable planning and design work.
Normally, this entails finishing a formal education programme, such as a degree or certification programme, or gaining experience through on-the-job training.Can be purchased from a third-party vendor, or may be provided by a construction firm as part of their services.
Offers a thorough understanding of the various stages of a building project as well as the skills required to properly manage each stage.Provides a streamlined method to project delivery that can save time and money, but may lack the flexibility and customization of a typical project management strategy.
To keep the qualification, you may need to continue your professional development and education.May be used as a starting point for additional modification and design work, but it is not recommended for complex or highly specialised applications.
Offers a recognised standard of expertise in CPM, which can improve job opportunities and industry credibility.It may be more suited for smaller-scale projects or those with a tight deadline, where delivery speed is key.

Why Is A Safety Induction Course Necessary For A Builder?

Safety induction courses are essential in building and construction contracts for several reasons:

  • Compliance with the law: Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) legislation in Australia requires that all construction workers complete a general construction safety induction course, such as the White Card course (nationally recognised training). It is recommended that you seek training from an accredited training provider before taking the White Card test in order to increase your chances of passing.
    Builders must ensure that everyone on their construction site has completed this course and understands basic safety procedures and requirements because they are responsible for the safety of their workers and anyone else on the site.
  • Risk management: Safety induction courses educate construction workers on how to identify and respond to hazards on the job site, as well as how to design and implement effective safety signage. Construction sites can be dangerous places, with hazards such as :
  • Reputation: Building and construction in Australia is a highly regulated industry. Builders prioritising safety and adherence to OH&S regulations are more likely to be perceived as responsible and professional. Builders can demonstrate their commitment to safety and build a positive reputation in the industry by ensuring that all workers on their site have completed a safety induction course.
  • Cost savings: Workplace accidents and injuries can be expensive for contractors in terms of medical expenses and lost productivity. Contractors can save time and money in the long run by enforcing safe work practices on their sites and encouraging their employees to do the same.

Can Structural Engineering And Civil Engineering Qualification Help Builders?

Here are some of the ways that a qualification in structural engineering or civil engineering may aid builders:

  • Profound technical knowledge: Builders with a qualification in structural engineering or civil engineering can have a stronger understanding of the technical components of construction, such as structure design, analysis, and testing.
  • Building ordinance compliance: Engineers can make informed decisions about building materials, methods, and processes, which can help ensure that their projects follow building ordinance requirements and regulations.
  • Communicate effectively: Builders with a degree in engineering can talk to architects, engineers, and other professionals working on a building project clearly. This can help ensure everyone is on the same page and the project goes smoothly.
  • Additional services: Builders with a qualification in structural engineering or civil engineering may be able to provide their clients with extra services such as structural inspections, design services, and project management. This can help them differentiate their company from competitors, potentially leading to more job opportunities.
  • Better project management: Engineers may contribute to better project management by understanding the technical aspects of construction and being able to make educated judgements on building materials, methods, and processes.