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Tradesmen need licence in Australia

14 December 2015 by News Desk

jobs_tools2Plumbers, gas fitters and electricians must hold a contractor licence before they are allowed to work in Australia.

Any person, including a company, who carries on business or offers themselves as a plumber, gas fitter or electrician, must be licenced as a contractor under the Plumbers, Gas Fitters and Electricians Act 1995.

If a business operates as a partnership then each partner must hold their own licence.

You are considered to be a contractor if you carry on business, including sub-contracting or undertaking work relating to domestic/commercial such as:
water pipes and connections, including sewerage;
fire protection sprinklers;
gas pipes and connections and associated appliances; or
electrical installations as defined under the legislation.

If you undertake repairs and maintenance on electrical stand alone products that are not hardwired into a home or business, such as washing machines, dryers and toasters, you are not required to hold a licence.

Are you considered a worker?
Any person, including builders, who personally carry out plumbing, gas fitting or electrical work must hold the appropriate workers registration (including working on their own home or for family and friends). Apprentices and other people undertaking training as part of an on-the-job training contract with their employer are also required to hold a workers registration.

Licence not required
You are not required to hold a plumbing, gas fitting or electrical contractors licence if you are:
Conducting a business as a builder, building contractor or architect (other types of licences or registrations must be held to undertake these occupations); or
Conducting another business, the main purpose of which is the construction, installation, alteration, repair or maintenance of a building, structure, plant or equipment, subject to the condition that any plumbing, gas fitting or electrical work for which your contract is performed by a person who is properly registered under the Act.

However, in either of these instances the plumbing, gas fitting or electrical work must be performed in the ordinary course of your business and must be performed by a person authorised by licence or registration under the Act to perform or carry out work of that kind.

Please refer to Section 4 of the Act for definitions on plumbing, gas fitting and electrical work and Regulation 4 for a list of exemptions or contact us for further advice.

If you are trading as a plumber, gas fitter or electrician without holding a contractors licence and you are convicted by the courts you may be liable for a penalty of up to $20,000. Similarly, if you perform any plumbing, gas fitting or electrical work or advertise or otherwise hold yourself out as being able to perform this work, without holding the appropriate worker’s registration, then you may be fined up to $2,500.

Additionally, you will not be entitled to any fee or other earnings if you conduct your plumbing, gas fitting or electrical business without a licence.

If you are in any doubt about how the Act might affect you, please seek independent legal advice.

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