Concrete is everywhere. Without it, the world as we know it would not exist. It is used so extensively, we tend to take it for granted and assume our concrete piers, foundations and walls will last forever. There's more to concrete than meets the eye, though, and the skills of a concreter go beyond the ability to mix and pour or apply concrete.
Without Australian standards and concreting licensing requirements, we wouldn't be able to trust our foundations to withstand the test of time or our skyscrapers not crumble and fall. Standards exist to ensure consistently high standards of concrete construction techniques are adhered to and trade licensing ensures concreting professionals know everything they need to know to create safe and sound concrete constructions.
Licensing of Concreters
As is true of other trades, concreters are licensed on a state-by-state basis. In order to ensure all concreters adhere to nationally recognised standards, similar training and experience is required in every state before a concreting licence is issued. Licensing policies differ between the states. Scroll down to find out more about licensing of concreters in your state or territory.
Types of Concreting Jobs
Concrete is the world's most used building material simply because it has such a wide variety of uses. Some of the more common uses of concrete in a residential setting include:
State licensing authorities look at concreting from two points of view when they determine if a concreting licence is required:
If structural integrity is important, a concreting licence may be required. If a concreter engages in a specific type of concrete work, such as swimming pools only, they may require a restricted or specialised licence. The only time a trade licence may not be required for concrete work is if the work is minor or decorative only.
Fair Trading issues concreting licences in New South Wales. A "General Concreting" licence is issued to qualified concreters with a wide variety of skills, including:
Exceptions include excavation work that threatens the stability of a structure or neighbouring structure and the building of concrete retaining walls that require approval as "structural landscaping." Other trade licences are required for these activities, though a licensed concreter will often work under the supervision of a builder, landscape architect or structural engineer to carry out these jobs.
You are required by law to hire licensed tradies for work valued at $1,000 or more in New South Wales.
The Victorian Building Commission (VBC) is in charge of registering building practitioners, including concreters, in the state of Victoria. The VBC includes concreters whose activities are limited to residential construction under the broad umbrella of "Domestic builder." A variety of domestic builder licences are available. If concreting is their principal occupation, your concreter will probably hold a Domestic Builder - Limited (DB-L-B) registration card, which entitles them to carry out general concreting work. Other codes that might apply to concreting include DB-L-O (floor slabs and footings), DB-L-S (swimming pools) or DB-L-U (structural landscaping).
In Victoria, you are required by law to hire only registered building practitioners for any domestic work valued at over $5,000. For work exceeding $12,000, your building practitioner must also hold domestic building insurance. These rules were put in place to protect consumers from hiring unqualified tradies. If your job costs less than $5,000, your concreter's DB-L-B licence is still your assurance that they are a qualified professional.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) issues building-related trade licences in Queensland. The QBCC defines the scope of work a licensed concreter can undertake as:
Because concreting includes "incidental work of another class," many tradespersons in Queensland have concreting licences in addition to the licence they hold for their primary occupation.
In order to qualify for a concreting licence, the applicant must successfully complete an approved course of instruction and have two years of experience in the licence class of work they are applying for or two years equivalent work.
There are a number of licence classes that may apply to concreters:
By law, you must hire a licensed concreter to carry out any concreting work valued at over $3,300 (labour and materials) in Queensland, but it is always advisable to hire only licensed tradies for concrete work.
In South Australia, Consumer and Business Services (CBS) is the trade licensing authority. Concreting is included in the larger category of "building work" and concreters must have a Building Supervisor and/or Building Contractor licence with the "scope of work" they are authorised to carry out clearly listed on their registration card. In the case of concreting, this might be one or more of the following:
When hiring a concreter in South Australia, make sure their licence authorises them to carry out the specific type of work you require. Their "scope of work" classifications prove they have received the necessary training and have enough experience to competently complete the job for you.
The concreter you contract to do the work should have a Contractor's Licence and a Supervisor's Licence. Anyone supervising other workers on your site or carrying out the work on their own must have a Supervisor's Licence.
The Building Services Board of the Building Commission is responsible for registering qualified building practitioners in Western Australia. Under the Builders Registration Act 2011, building work valued over $20,000 or that requires a building permit must be carried out by a registered builder with one or both of the following licences:
There are three types of Building Contractor licences:
In WA, building includes concreting and building practitioners who offer concreting services must demonstrate they have the requisite skills to the Building Services Board before they are issued with a trade licence. The Government of WA Department of Training and Workforce Development lists a variety of skills an apprentice concreter must master before they become qualified to work as a professional concreter. These include:
While some residential concreting jobs may not require your concreter to hold a Building Practitioners or Contractors licence, their licence is your best assurance they have the proper training needed to do their work to Australian standards.
The Department of Justice governs building work in Tasmania. Although a licence is not required, building practitioners in Tasmania must receive accreditation from the Department of Justice. In order to receive accreditation, a builder must list their qualifications and provide evidence they are qualified to carry out the specific types of construction they are applying for.
No formal qualifications are necessary for concreting work in Tasmania, but the work must comply with Australian standards. To be sure your concreter adheres to national standards, ask them for proof of competence. This can be:
Any structural concreting work, including slabs and footings, must be carried out by or under the supervision of an accredited building practitioner. For non-structural or decorative work, look for a concreting specialist who has a track record of excellence in the type of work you need to have done.
In the ACT, the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) issues builders licences. One of four classes of licence may apply to a concreter.
If your job does not require the additional skills of a Class A, B or C Builder, they will probably hold a Class D licence. This classification also usually comes with additional conditions, restrictions and endorsements. Restrictions will include jobs they are not qualified to carry out while endorsements will include special services they are qualified for.
No specific licence is required for concreting in the Northern Territory. However, concreting must be carried out or supervised by a building contractor registered by the Building Practitioners Board if they are:
Building Contractors can have either Restricted or Unrestricted licences. A contractor is not needed for renovations that do not increase the interior floor space of a building.
In the Northern Territory, many types of concreting jobs do not require supervision by registered Building Contractors. However, reputable concreters will have completed a formal apprenticeship and have the skills you need for professional results that comply with relevant Australian standards.