So you’re embarking on a structural home renovation or house building project. This generally means that you are going to require the services of a builder with the right expertise to make sure that you not only get the results that you want but that the construction is legal and complies with all council and building regulations. You will therefore have to be certain that the builder you’re hiring is properly licensed for your own protection, among other things.
So how do you check if your NSW home builder is licensed?
Ask for documentary proof
Asking a builder if he/she is properly licensed is actually one of the very first questions you have to ask during your search for a builder to work with. As long as the builder has all the right licences, you have past the first hurdle to finding a suitable and legitimate business.
So what are afew signals that should set off alarm bells for you in this early stage of asking such a question? Here are some common ones: If the person tells you that he/she is “in the process” of getting a licence or if they say they have a “friend” whose licence they can use. Some may even openly admit that they have been operating “successfully” for many years without a licence. Any statements that appears that the person is not operating within the law or takes short cuts, is good enough to move on to the next candidate as you can bet there will be issues with this individuals insurances, workmanship level and perhaps even a problem history with previous customers.
As mentioned above, you need to ask that question first when you’re interviewing prospective builders for the job. If he/she answers in the affirmative, ask him/her for documentary proof. If possible, have the documents photocopied so you can refer to them when you verify the authenticity of the home builder licence you have been handed. Yes, you need to verify the home builder licence, because it’s not entirely unheard of for travelling trades conmen to present fake documents purporting that they are proper. To make sure you have been handed authentic home builder licences, you have to do some extra homework on your own.
Verify home builder licences online
Thankfully, the advent of the Internet has provided everyone with an easy way of verifying the authenticity of public documents, home builder licences included. By visiting the Home Building Online Licence Check page of the NSW Government website, you can look up the builder’s details yourself at: www.licence.nsw.gov.au/LicenceCheck
When you’re on the above-mentioned page, look for the blue button that says “Do a licence check” and click on it. You will be led to a page where you can choose the type of licence you need to check ( Home Building) , and fill in the name and/or licence number of the builder you are checking out. If your search registers a hit, then you know the home builder licence is authentic. You can then drill down into the licence details to see how long they have had the licence for, the type of work they are licensed to do and if there is a history of cancellations/suspensions and prosecutions. If you cannot find a licence, he/she doesn’t hold the right type of licence for your job or if the builders history indicates a number of infringements and actions, you may want to think twice about using that particular builder.
Further, if the builder is operating through a company or partnership structure, it is important to check if that entity also holds a licence with NSW Fair Trading – note, this is a separate licence to the one in the individuals name.
Call to verify a home builder licence
If you’re a little weary about using the internet to verify a home builder licence, you can always go about it the old-fashioned way. In NSW, you can call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 and talk to its customer service officers who conduct a search on the public register for your convenience.
Once you are comfortable that the builder is properly licensed and has a clean track record, then you can take the next steps to check out their insurances, quality of work, establish if they have the right experience for your project and see some of their recent projects.
If you want an even easier way of finding a licensed builder that has a successful track record with others, you can always use the free Tradebusters service. With one call, we will be able to match you up with highly-qualified builders who have been long reputable members of the Tradebusters network.