Published 1 August 2007
Building & Construction Minister Clayton Cosgrove has announced the rules for the licensing of building practitioners – a new regime aimed at raising building quality standards and ensuring that people working in the sector are competent & accountable.
The licensed building practitioner (LBP) scheme will start being rolled out from 1 November, initially on a voluntary basis.
Mr Cosgrove said: “Licensing will promote & recognise professional skills & behaviour in the building industry. The writing is now on the wall for the cowboy operators.
“The public will have increased confidence in the building sector, knowing that the LBPs either doing or supervising the work on homes & buildings will do a professional job. In time this will translate to an overall raising of quality standards, as we rebuild a world-class building & construction sector in this country.”
7 categories of licence take effect from November on a voluntary basis – carpentry; site 1, 2 & 3; and design 1, 2 & 3. The levels of licence are linked to the complexity of the building work or the role being undertaken. People who can apply for these licences include designers, builders, site supervisors, construction managers & carpenters.
6 more categories of licence will be added next year. These licences will apply to external plasterers, roofers, bricklayers & blocklayers and specialists in concrete structure, steel structure & building services.
Schedules to the rules detail minimum standards or competencies for each licence class and describe the skills, knowledge & experience people will have to demonstrate to become licensed. For example, to get a carpentry licence, carpenters will need to show skills ranging from planning & scheduling their work, through to demonstrating that they can set out & construct floors, walls & roof frames and install, finish & make weathertight exterior joinery.
Assessors will determine if applicants meet the required standard of competency by examining their documentation and through face-to-face interviews and other interactive methods.
Mr Cosgrove said having a formal qualification was not mandatory for obtaining a licence, and skilled people with a good track record should not have any trouble meeting the criteria. He said licensing meant people in the building sector were going to have their expertise formally recognised, in many cases for the first time.
“Professions such as plumbers, electricians, architects & engineers, and those with trade certificates already had formal qualifications through their occupational groupings. But many others who are responsible for important aspects of building design & construction had not had the opportunity to have their skills formally recognised. Licensing means they can finally get the recognition they deserve.”
People without licences will still be able to work in the building industry, but from November 2010 some specific restricted work will need to be supervised or done by a licensed person.
Mr Cosgrove said he wanted again to reassure home-handymen that the do-it-yourself tradition would be protected under the licensing scheme, and they would still be able to do DIY work, including building a standard, straightforward house from scratch or adding on a room. Options to ensure future house buyers know if a house was built by an LBP or a DIYer are being looked at.
Application packs will be available from 1 October for the first licences and processing of them will begin on 1 November.
The Department of Building & Housing website has a copy of the 49-page Licensed Building Practitioners Rules 2007 document.
Website: Department of Building & Housing
Attribution: Ministerial release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.