Why You Should Not Conduct Unlicensed Building Work


In the world of construction, procuring your licence signifies a solid base for a life-long career, whether you plan to work with a business or begin your career as an independent trades person. 

A licence is more than just a piece of paper; it’s a testament to your credibility, expertise, and commitment as a builder to upholding industry standards. For trade professionals, there’s a reason being licensed is non-negotiable and why you might face repercussions if you choose to forgo it.

When Do Construction Specialists Require a Licence?

When a builder needs a licence, it largely depends on the state and the specific nature of the work being undertaken. Here are the general circumstances:

Project Cost Thresholds 

Many jurisdictions require builders to be licensed if the cost of the project exceeds a certain monetary threshold. For example, in some places, any project that costs more than $3300 requires a licensed tradesperson.

Utility Work 

Projects that involve plumbing, electrical, or gas typically require not just a licensed builder but a specialist licensed in those specific fields. 


If a project requires a building permit, it’s highly likely that the work will need to be completed by a licensed builder. 

Commercial Projects 

Larger-scale commercial projects almost always require a licensed contractor or builder due to the increased risks and complexities associated with such endeavours. 

The Mark of Quality: Licensed vs. Unlicensed

By getting licensed, you’re showcasing your commitment as a professional to delivering the industry-standard on every project. While this is important for every line of work, this is particularly important when working in construction. 

A licence offers peace of mind to clients that behind every project, you and your team are committed to doing things by the book and up to code.  

Being licensed motivates:

A Commitment to Quality 

Licensure holds tradespeople to a standard that ensures you are well-versed in what consistent work looks like. On the contrary, an unlicensed individual might not have the professional know-how to quickly finish the job safely, which can often lead to compromised results.

Adherence to Building Codes 

Licences are often relied upon for ongoing education. If you wish to advance in your career, qualifying with an apprenticeship or certificate helps you prove that you are capable of taking on more responsibility. This ensures that builders stay updated with building codes should they change. Unlicensed builders, lacking this structured learning, may miss out on crucial updates, putting their projects at risk.


Quality construction requires quality builds and materials. Licensed builders understand this. They know where to procure these materials from and how to safely operate the tools and machinery used on a job. On the other hand, those without licensure might choose to take shortcuts, compromising on aesthetics and structural integrity.

How Does Having a Licence Set You Apart From Unlicensed Builders?

Your licence serves as a tangible testament to a builder’s dedication to ongoing education, mastery of their craft, and adherence to established safety and quality benchmarks. Here’s what may set you apart from the others:

Detail-Oriented Finishing 

Licences speak to a builder’s finesse and attention to detail. From the gloss of a paint job to the exact alignment of fixtures, a licensed professional ensures perfection every step of the way.

Legal and Financial Implications

Without adherence to building codes, a structure becomes a liability. Unlicensed building work, whether in NSW, VIC or QLD, risk heavy penalties, from fines to the extreme of demolition orders. Furthermore, without licensure, there’s a risk of legal disputes with clients, complicating matters further.

Financial Fallouts  

A licence often goes hand-in-hand with insurance. If you’re unlicensed and there’s property damage or an accident on-site, the financial responsibility can fall squarely on your shoulders. Furthermore, correcting mistakes out-of-pocket due to non-compliance can quickly become a costly affair.

Banks and other financial institutions often hesitate to engage with unlicensed professionals. This can impact your business, limiting opportunities for growth, partnerships, and contracts.

Building on Trust

Beyond the tangible aspects, being licensed lays the foundation for trust. Clients are more likely to invest in someone they know is held to a recognised professional standard. Being licensed demonstrates that you’re not just looking for a quick job but are deeply invested in the art of building. Thus ensuring safety, compliance, and quality with every brick and beam.

In summary, while the temptation to cut corners might always linger, the value of being a licensed builder is undeniable. It’s not just about erecting structures but also about building a reputation anchored in trust, quality, and professionalism. In the world of construction, the safest, surest way to success is always through licensure.

If you want to work as an independent builder, strat by exploring the range of apprenticeships and RPL qualifications we offer at Gimbal Training. On completing your qualifications, you will be eligible to apply for a licence through your state’s building authority. 

For more details, feel free to get in touch with us today.