How to become a Builder in Australia

How to become a Builder in Australia

A Builder is a licensed professional in charge of overseeing and coordinating the construction, renovation or repair of residential and commercial buildings. Although many Builders are qualified tradesmen, this is not a specific prerequisite as their main responsibility is to arrange the appropriate tradesmen to complete the necessary work on site.
A Builder has a broad knowledge of all the aspects of construction, from assessing a site, obtaining permits and producing cost estimates to reading and interpreting plans, arranging and communicating with subcontractors and planning and managing the build process.

Many residential Builders elect to specialise in a particular type of project, such as housing developments, green or eco homes, custom builds or homes of a specific design. The Builder is responsible for ensuring that all construction is carried out in accordance with local, state and national regulations, as well as maintaining a worksite that is compliant with workplace safety laws.

There are a number of different pathways to becoming a professional Builder in Australia. For specific details on how to gain a Builders’ licence in your state or territory please refer to the links in the resources section below but here are some of the key steps you should take to get you there.

Step 1: Complete a safety induction course.
Anyone who seeks to work on a construction site anywhere in Australia is required to undertake general construction induction training and obtain a nationally recognised White Card. Once you have this certification, you can begin to gain experience on building sites as a basic labourer or an apprentice and start to learn all the different aspects of a construction project.

Step 2: Study a relevant degree.
Although each state and territory has its own criteria for qualification as a licensed builder, it is recommended that you start by completing a Certificate IV in Building and Construction, as this is the minimum level of education required by most governing bodies. This course will teach you the basics of the administerial side of being a builder, such as managing finances, reading plans, producing cost estimates and developing schedules for labour and materials.
Building on these principles and more, the Diploma of Building and Construction will give you more valuable knowledge and experience. This course is a requirement in some states so it is recommended that you undertake and complete this qualification if you intend to work in multiple states as a Builder. For more information on the licensing process for each state and territory, refer to the links in our resource section below and choose the state you are interested in.

Step 3: Gain some experience.
To register as a Builder in any of the states and territories, you will need to have a minimum of 2 years and, in some cases, up to 7 years of practical experience under the supervision of a licensed Builder. This experience can be gained in a number of ways, the most common being as an apprentice. The amount of experience required varies depending on the state and type of licence you wish to apply for so please refer to the resource links below to find out what the criteria for your desired licence are.

Step 4: Obtain your state-specific licence .
In Australia, anyone who wishes to oversee projects as a Builder must be licensed by the governing body of the state or territory in which they work. Depending on where you wish to conduct your business you may need to complete further study, have a certain amount of money at hand, undergo a police check or gain more specific experience in a particular role. Be sure to thoroughly research the requirements for licensing in your chosen state or territory before applying. If you would like to know the criteria for your desired licence, please refer to the resource section below and select the relevant state or territory to find links to the appropriate governing bodies.

What does a Builder do?
Builders are trained and licensed to oversee and coordinate construction and renovation projects in either the commercial or residential arena. They are responsible for many different aspects of the construction process, from site assessments and cost estimates to obtaining planning permissions and enforcing safe working practices on site. The Builder will hire and coordinate contracted tradespeople, planning and monitoring their tasks to ensure that the work is completed correctly and in a safe and timely manner. They read and interpret architectural plans, ensure that building codes are met and upheld and maintain order and cleanliness on-site.


  • Interpreting plans and architectural drawings.
  • Estimating costs and timeframes.
  • Assessing and surveying potential construction sites.
  • Organising and coordinating subcontractors.
  • Obtaining relevant building permits.
  • Planning and overseeing construction schedule.
  • Maintaining safety and cleanliness on-site.
  • Ensuring that government building regulations are met.

Skills for Success
Builders need to be organised, logical and detail oriented. Because they oversee many different subcontracted tradespeople, they need to be master problem-solvers with excellent communication skills and a comprehensive understanding of the entire building process. A Builder must be practical and dedicated to ensuring that work is completed accurately, safely and within the time and budget allocated. This requires great planning and project management skills, a strong work ethic and good negotiating abilities. A Builder should be physically fit and healthy, quick thinking and decisive and possess strong leadership and management skills.

Skills & Attributes

  • Organised and methodical work habits.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Superior problem-solving abilities.
  • Strong work ethic.
  • Great attention to detail.
  • Leadership and management skills.
  • Extensive technical knowledge.
  • Good physical health and fitness.
  • Ability to think logically and practically.

Average Salaries

How much do Builders earn in Australia?
In Australia, the average Builder earns around $68,904 per year. This varies greatly depending on a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 03/18

min $42 K
max $127 K
av $69 K