Cabinetmakers are skilled tradespersons who usually carry out their work in a shop or factory. Some cabinetmakers are designer/craftspersons who build custom furnishings, while others work in joineries, making kitchen cabinets, closets and other freestanding or built-in cabinets.
Trade licence requirements for cabinetmakers often vary depending on the type of job they undertake. For example, a licence may not be required if a cabinetmaker specialises in freestanding furniture, but if their business is kitchen or laundry installations, a trade licence may be required.
In New South Wales, Fair Trading issues Joinery licences to cabinetmakers who build non-structural timber or metal components for buildings and install them on-site. These products include everything from doors and shower screens to built-in kitchen cabinets or entertainment units.
In Victoria, a Registered Building Practitioner (RBP) is the equivalent to a licensed building practitioner in other states. Registration is not required for cabinetmakers in Victoria. However, for larger projects that cost over $5000, registration is required. Kitchen cabinetmakers and others who regularly build and install built-in cabinets usually hold a Domestic Builder - Limited (DB-L) registration card that may also be restricted to the type of work they habitually carry out. If their speciality is kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovations, for instance, they should have a DB-L-L registration card.
In Queensland, building and building-related trades are issued by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). A trade licence is required for any building-related project that costs $3300 or more in Queensland. A variety of licences exist in Queensland. A cabinetmaker might have a "builder restricted" licence that restricts them to "kitchen, bathroom and laundry" work or a less restricted licence if they make structural modifications to the home in the course of installing joinery work.
The Consumer and Business Services (CBS) department of the Attorney Generals office governs building-related trades in SA. The CBS definition of "building" includes conducting business as a contractor or a supervisor. Both new building work and restoration and renovation work is included under the umbrella of "building."
A cabinetmaker might hold one or more of a variety of "scope of work" registrations in South Australia. can apply for scope of work registration for a range of specific and limited building occupations. Some of the classifications that might apply to a cabinetmaker include:
The person or business you enter into a contract with must hold a contractor's licence. On-site work must be supervised by a cabinetmaker who has a supervisor's licence.
In WA, a licence is only required for building work that exceeds $20,000 in value. Most domestic cabinetmaking jobs fall below this threshold, so your cabinetmaker in WA may need hold a builder's licence unless they are a large company that also does joinery work for larger commercial premises.
In WA, many cabinetmakers are members of the Cabinet Makers Association of Western Australia (CMAWA). Membership is their way of showing they take a professional approach to their work. Whether your cabinetmaker is a member of CMAWA or not, they should be able to show you a portfolio of previous work and if they are doing on-site installations, should be fully insured.
In Tasmania, accreditation is the equivalent to a licence in other states. No accreditation is required for general cabinetmaking work in Tasmania, but may be required for some types of built-in cabinets, such as kitchen cabinets. While a cabinetmaker can construct the cabinets without needing accreditation, they may need to be supervised by an accredited building practitioner. For this reason, many cabinetmakers in Tasmania hold "Builder -- Low Rise" accreditation.
In the ACT, cabinet makers and joiners do not have to hold trade licences. However, any on-site installations that exceed $5000 in value must be supervised by a licensed building practitioner. If structural work is needed, the builder should hold a Class A, B or C licence.
Many cabinetmakers and joiners in the ACT who regularly install kitchens and other more expensive built-in units have Class D builders' licences, which authorises them to carry out non-structural building work.
Many cabinetmaking jobs cost less than $5000, so your ACT cabinetmaker may not have a Class D licence. They should be able to provide you with proof of their competence, though, and if they are going to do on-site installations on your behalf, should carry insurance.
Cabinetmakers in the NT are not required to hold trade licences. Unlike in other states, a licence is not required to do renovations and alterations to existing buildings in the NT, so a builders licence will not be required even for built-in cabinets unless the cost of the project exceeds $12,000.
To ensure you employ a skilled cabinetmaker, ask them for verifiable references. Cabinetmakers who take pride in their work will be able to show you a portfolio of previous work. If they are going to be working on your property, they should carry insurance or you may be liable for any mishaps or accidents that occur whilst they are working on your premises.