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The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house. If youre building a new kitchen or renovating, it also has the distinction of being the room that requires more licensed tradespersons than any other. If you are building a new kitchen or complete renovation you may need:

  • A licensed building contractor to oversee construction
  • Licensed kitchen cabinetmakers to build your kitchen
  • Licensed or registered workers to install your kitchen cabinets
  • A licensed plumber to install your sink and dishwasher
  • A licensed electrician for your lighting and appliances
  • A licensed gas fitter to install your gas appliances

In addition, you will probably need a tiler and may even need to hire flooring specialist.

Licensing of Kitchen Specialists

The list above reflects the complexity of a kitchen and the number of professional tradespersons required to complete a fully functional kitchen. Unless you choose to build your kitchen yourself, you wont need to hire all of the tradies you need yourself. In most states and territories, your kitchen specialist will have a contractors licence and will subcontract work they are not licensed to do. You do, however, need to know about the kitchen licensing laws and regulations in your state.

Types of Kitchen Jobs

If youre building a complete kitchen, you will need most if not all of the trade professionals mentioned above. There are a number of times, though, when a kitchen job will require a specialist tradie. For example:

  • A painter or spray painter might reface your kitchen cabinets
  • A cabinet maker might be needed to build a cupboard, table, shelving unit or cabinet
  • You may need to hire a lighting specialist to improve the lighting in the kitchen
  • An electrician or plumber may be needed to install a new cooktop, oven, rangehood or other appliance

Depending on where you live, some of the tradespersons you need to work in your kitchen may not have to hold trade licences, but in every case, if they come into your home to carry out work, make sure they are qualified and insured.

Kitchens - NSW

NSW Fair Trading governs all home building and home improvement trades in New South Wales. Kitchens are under the umbrella of the building category in NSW and if you hire anyone to do building work valued at over $1,000, they must hold a builders licence issued by NSW Fair Trading.

Special trade licences are required to carry out kitchen renovations in NSW. In order to qualify for a licence, the applicant must have at least one qualification from each of two Groups:

  • Group A qualifications include an existing NSW trade licence in carpentry, joinery, plumbing or Wall & Floor Tiling or Certificate III level training in one of a variety of trades related to the work they carry out.
  • Group B qualifications include completion of a variety of units of competency and/or satisfactory completion of related TAFE certificate courses.
  • This type of kitchen renovation licence authorises the holder to carry out the type of work they are trained for only. For example, a licensed carpenter might also have a TAFE Certificate IV in Plumbing that qualifies them to obtain a limited licence to install plumbing fixtures in your kitchen.

    If you enter into a contract with a kitchen builder or renovation company, they must hold a Contractors Licence and anyone who supervises work must also have a Building Supervisors Licence.

    Kitchens - Victoria

    Most new kitchens and kitchen renovations cost over $5,000 or require a variety of trade services, so you will probably need to hire a Registered Building Practitioner (RBP) to oversee or carry out work on your kitchen. There are two classes of RBP:

    • Domestic Builder (Unlimited) DB-U
    • Domestic Builder (Limited) DB-L
    DB-L card holders are usually limited to a specific set of activities. If they specialise in bathroom, kitchen and laundry renovations, their DB-L card will have an added code extension (DB-L-L). Other restrictions or endorsements (qualifications) will be listed on their card as well.

    Kitchens - Queensland

    In Queensland, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission issues building licences. Kitchen manufacturers, installers and renovators who carry out or supervise work exceeding $3,300 in value are required by law to carry a Builder Restricted Licence for kitchen, bathroom or laundry work.

    A Restricted Licence also entitles the holder to advertise their services, offer quotes and enter into contracts. If you hire a licensed builder in Queensland, they are also responsible for supervising the work of their employees. Their licence does not entitle them to carry out work of a related trade such as plumbing. Plumbing, electrical and other licensed tradespersons will be needed for this, but your licensed kitchen builder or renovator can subcontract their services directly.

    Kitchens - SA

    In South Australia, kitchen builders, installers and renovators are governed by the Consumer and Business Services (CBS) department of the Attorney Generals office. The definition of a builder in SA covers a range of activities, including;

    • Conducting business as contractor
    • Demolishing and/or doing site preparation work
    • Doing a range of restoration or renovation work

    In South Australia, kitchen builders can hold a licence for a specific type of work and can hold one or both of two types of builders licences:

    1. A Building Supervisor is licensed to supervise work only. They cannot enter into contracts or hire subcontractors.
    2. A Building Contractor can carry out building work, enter into contractual agreements and appoint subcontractors. A Building Contractors must register as a Building Supervisor.

    In SA, registered Building Supervisors can apply for scope of work registration for a range of specific and limited building occupations. Some of the classifications that might apply to your kitchen specialist might include:

    • Alterations and Renovations;
    • Additions, Alterations and Renovations
    • Carpentry
    • Cabinet Making
    • Carpentry and Joinery

    Make sure your kitchen professional is registered for all the services they offer.

    Kitchens - WA

    In Western Australia, cabinet makers and joiners are not required to hold trade licences and a building licence is not needed to install a kitchen unless the value of the kitchen exceeds $20,000, including labour and materials.

    Because a trade licence is not required for most new kitchens and kitchen renovations in WA, you need to take extra precautions when hiring a kitchen manufacturer or installer. Many of WAs better kitchen cabinet makers belong to one or more professional associations such as the Cabinet Makers Association of Western Australia (CMAWA). Your kitchen installer should be a registered business and fully insured.

    Expect a high level of service from your kitchen cabinet maker and installer. They should:

    • Offer a kitchen design service
    • A free measure and quote
    • Include all related trades in their quote
    • Organise and supervise all tradespersons who work on your kitchen

    Kitchens - Tasmania

    In Tasmania, building work is defined as work conducted in relation to the construction, demolition, alteration, addition, relocation or repair of a building. Kitchens fall under this broad definition and kitchen renovations and installations must be carried out by or under the supervision of a registered building practitioner.

    Several classes of builder exist in Tasmania. In most cases, the person, partnership or company that installs or renovates your kitchen will need to have at least Builder Low Rise accreditation.

    In Tasmania, builders must renew their licences yearly. In order to receive licence renewal, they must undertake a minimum amount of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training.

    Kitchens ACT

    In the ACT, cabinet makers and joiners do not have to hold trade licences, but any work that is carried out on your premises in excess of $5,000 will have to be done or supervised by a licensed building practitioner. Four Classes of builders licences are available in the Australian Capital Territory. Of the four, one of three (Classes A, B and C) is required to carry out structural work. A Class D licence authorises the holder to carry out non-structural work only. Unless your kitchen installer is also making structural changes to your home, a Class D licence is probably all they will need.

    If your kitchen renovation is going to cost less than $5,000, including labour and materials, you will not be required by law to hire a licensed builder. However, only hire trade professionals who:

    • Have a track record of quality service and
    • Are fully insured.

    Better kitchen manufacturers/installers will be happy to offer a kitchen design service, including a free measure and quote. Make sure your quote includes installation and necessary trades such as plumbers, electricians and tilers. Your kitchen company should supervise all trades to ensure your new kitchen or kitchen renovation is completed in a timely manner.

    Kitchens - Northern Territory

    Kitchen builders and installers do not have to hold trade licences in the Northern Territory because kitchen renovations and installations fall under the exempt category of renovations and alterations to existing buildings. Exceptions to this rule include:

    • Work that includes increasing the total floor space of your home
    • Work that costs $12,000 or more, inclusive of labour and materials, if it also includes building work.

    If your kitchen is going to cost more than $12,000, you may need to employ a licensed Building Contractor with one of two licences:

    1. Building Contractor (Restricted)
    2. Building Contractor (Unrestricted)

    It may depend on the scope of the work, but whether or not a licensed contractor is required by law; your kitchen builder/installer should provide you with proof of their competence and professionalism. Before you hire a kitchen specialist:

    • Ask them for verifiable references
    • Ask to see a portfolio of their work
    • Make sure they carry insurance
    • Insist on having a binding contract

    Most of the NTs more reputable kitchen builders will provide you with a kitchen design service, detailed CAD drawings and free measure and quote. They will also organise and supervise other related trades such as plumbers and electricians.

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