Project licensing

What licensing requirements and procedures apply to construction projects in your jurisdiction (eg, planning consents)?

A construction project will usually require a variety of licences, permits, approvals, certificates and consents depending on the size, nature and location of the project. Construction projects of all scales may be subject to scrutiny by authorities at the local, state and federal levels.

While smaller residential projects may only require building and specialist licensing and development approval, larger projects may also require zoning approvals, licences for heavy vehicles and high-risk work, and coordination with multiple statutory authorities.

A few examples of a planning regulations that apply (depending on the state and territory) include: 

  • NSW:
  • Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW);
  • Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (NSW);
  • Local Governement Act 1993 (NSW); and
  • Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (NSW).


  • VIC:
  • Planning and Environment Act 1987 (VIC);
  • The Planning and Environment Regulations 2015 (VIC);
  • Local Government Act 1989 (VIC); and
  • Local Government (General) Regulations 2015 (VIC).
  • QLD:
  • Planning Act 2016 (QLD);
  • Planning Regulation 2017 (QLD);
  • Local Government Act 2009 (QLD); and
  • Local Government Regulation 2012 (QLD).

Professional licensing and qualification

What licensing requirements and procedures apply to construction professionals, including any required qualifications?

Builders, tradespeople and construction professionals must be licensed to perform residential construction work and some commercial work in each of Australia’s states and territories. The licensing requirements vary depending on the nature of the construction work to be performed and the level of responsibility assumed by the individual. For example, a licence for general residential building work will not authorise a builder to supervise such work or perform specialist work (eg, electrical wiring work).

The Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) and Home Building Regulation 2014 (NSW) (or the equivalent in each state) set out a majority of the licensing requirements and qualifications required. However, trade-specific legilsation may also apply. For example, in NSW the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011 (NSW) and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2017 (NSW) apply.

Licensing is generally administered by each state and territory government; however, holders of a licence for a particular type of work in one jurisdiction are usually entitled to become licensed to perform equivalent work in Australia’s other jurisdictions. 

Do any special rules and restrictions apply to foreign construction professionals?

Foreign construction professionals must hold the relevant Australian licences and qualifications to perform construction work in Australia. For construction professionals who have acquired their skills and experience overseas, the recognition of prior learning programmes offers an avenue to have such skills assessed and recognised in Australia and a faster path to the relevant Australian qualifications. Foreign construction professionals must hold an appropriate visa permitting them to work in Australia.