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Demolition work requires special skills and equipment. When handled by experts, a demolition project can proceed safely and when the work is done, your property will be ready for building or renovating.

Licensing of Demolition Experts

Demolition work can be very dangerous and licensing regulations are in place to ensure it is carried out by professionals only. Depending on the scope of the work, a demolition specialist may need more than one licence, including:

  • A restricted or unrestricted builder’s licence (contractor and/or supervisor)
  • A licence to carry out high risk work
  • A restricted or unrestricted demolition licence

Whether a demolition licence is required or not, if the work involves handling asbestos, they will need to have a licence authorising them to do so.

Types of Demolition Jobs

Demolition jobs can range from smaller jobs that require only basic tools and equipment to large jobs that require bulldozers, cranes and other heavy equipment. In some cases, demolition experts may separate recyclable materials and in other cases they will demolish and remove an entire building.

The type and scope of job a demolisher carries out often determines the kind of trade licence they require. See state-by-state entries for more specific information about licensing requirements for demolition jobs in your area.

Demolition - NSW

WorkCover NSW issues trade licences to demolition experts in New South Wales. There are two types of licences available:

  • A full demolition licence authorises the holder to carry out demolition works on any building, structure or installation that is over 15 metres in height; is a chemical installation; involves the use of a tower crane; requires the use of explosives; and other works usually associated with high rise buildings.
  • A restricted demolition licence is usually the kind of licence needed for demolishing residences and other smaller structures. A restricted licence is limited to the demolition of buildings between 4 and 15 metres in height. It also authorises the holder to use bulldozers, excavators and cranes in the course of their activities.

If a demolition contractor holds a restricted licence and also needs to use explosives, they may hold a Blasting Explosives Licence. If they handle asbestos, they will also need to hold a Class A or Class B asbestos removal licence issued by WorkCover NSW.

Demolition - Victoria

In Victoria, a demolition licence is not required unless the work involves the removal of chemicals or asbestos. Some WorkSafe Victoria licence categories that may apply to a demolition expert include:

  • A construction induction card (“White Card”) is required for all workers in the construction industry.
  • A licence to operate as an asbestos removalist.
  • A licence to perform high risk work
  • A licence to use blasting explosives

Although a demolition licence is not required, you are required to notify WorkSafe Victoria three days before demolition begins.

If the same person or company that demolishes your home also does excavation work to prepare your site, they will need to hold a Domestic Builder Limited licence for excavation work (Code: DB-L M).

Be sure to hire only fully insured demolition services. Their insurance is your assurance that you won’t be held liable if a mishap occurs.

Demolition - Queensland

In Queensland, a demolition licence is required for some types of demolition work. However, domestic homes and similar structures are exempted from this type of licence.

As is true throughout Australia, if the demolition work includes the removal of asbestos, a Class A or Class B licence for asbestos removal will be required.

Whether a licence is required or not, demolition work involves risk. To ensure your safety, hire only professional demolition services that carry public liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. If they do not carry insurance, you may be held liable for any accidents or injuries that occur whilst they are carrying out work on your behalf.

Demolition - SA

In South Australia, demolition work is included in the list of “standard conditions” building contractors and supervisors may be licensed by Consumer and Business Services to perform. Two standard conditions apply to demolition work:

  1. Demolition (unlimited) or
  2. Demolition limited to specific activities

Other conditions may also be included on their licence, depending on the types of work they are qualified to carry out and perform in their day-to-day activities.

Any individual, partnership or company that removes large amounts of material containing asbestos will hold a Limited or Unlimited Licence to Remove Asbestos issued by Safe Work Australia. They might hold either a Class A licence, which entitles them to remove all types of asbestos, or a restricted Class B licence that limits them to removing friable (bonded) asbestos only.

Demolition - WA

In Western Australia, it is an offence to carry out most types of demolition work without a licence. There are three demolition classes in WA:

  1. Class 1 work involves the total demolition of buildings over 10 metres in height.
  2. Class 2 demolition works includes the full or partial demolition of structures under 10 metres in height. This includes single storey domestic residences.
  3. Class 3 demolition works are restricted to the demolition of fragile or brittle roofing materials.

In WA, Department of Commerce licensing requirements for removal of asbestos changed in 2010. Holders of Demolition Licences are now required to obtain Restricted Asbestos Removal Licences if they wish to remove bonded (non-friable) asbestos from a property. For removal of friable (loose or easily crumbled) asbestos, an Unrestricted Asbestos Removal Licence is required.

Demolition - Tasmania

In Tasmania, no specific licence or accreditation exists for demolition work. However, demolition work is regulated by Workplace Standards of the Department of Justice and demolition contractors and workers are obligated to adhere to a strict Demolition Code of Practice. The Code includes clauses that outline mandatory and recommended safety standards demolition businesses are expected to adhere to. Mandatory standards include:

  • Risk assessment
  • Risk management
  • Asbestos inspection if the building is not on the Asbestos Register

Other workplace standards are outlined in the Code of Practice as well and if they are not adhered to, the business carrying out the work can be held legally accountable.

Employers in Tasmania are also required to carry insurance for their workers. If you employ a person or company for demolition work, insist on seeing proof that they hold workers compensation insurance and public liability insurance.

If more than 10 square metres of asbestos is going to be removed in the course of demolition work, the person or company you hire must hold a Class A or Class B Asbestos Removal Licence. A Class A licence is unrestricted while a Class B licence is for removal of non-friable (bonded) asbestos only.

Demolition – ACT

In the ACT, the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate has replaced ACTPLA (the ACT Planning & Land Authority) as the statutory body in charge of licensing builders. Although the name has changed, the licensing regulations have not.

Demolition work is included as part of the building trade in the ACT and demolition experts must hold at least a Class D licence with an endorsement to carry out demolition work. A Class D licence is limited to non-structural work only and usually comes with endorsements for specific types of work.

As is true throughout Australia, if demolition work involves handling more than 10 square metres of non-friable (bonded), a Class A or Class B Asbestos Removal licence is required.

Demolition - Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, a licence is not required to demolish a building. However, you must serve notice of intent to demolish and the demolition work must be carried out in accordance with NT WorkSafe regulations. These regulations are legally binding to ensure the safety of workers and others who may be present on or near the demolition site.

In some instances, a demolition expert may need a related licence in the NT:

  • Asbestos removal requires a licence in all Australian states and territories.
  • If a crane or other type of heavy equipment is used, a High Risk Work Licence may be required.
  • If explosives are used, a Blasting Licence will be required.

Hire only experienced and fully insured professionals for your demolition work. Insurance is very important because demolition work involves risk and if the person or company you contract to carry out the work is not insured, you could be held liable for any accidents or injuries that occur on your site.

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