Bathroom renovations typically require the combined services of a number of licensed and qualified tradespersons. For a major renovation, you might need:
- A cabinet maker
- A carpenter
- A plumber
- A painter
- An electrician
- A tiler
- A flooring specialist
Even for minor renovations, you will need one or more of these trade professionals.
Licensing of Bathroom Renovation Specialists
Some tradies who help you with your bathroom renovations may not require a trade licence in some states, but all should be qualified and insured. Scroll down to find out more about trade licence requirements for bathroom renovators in your state or territory.
Types of Bathroom Renovations
A bathroom renovation can be anything from a minor facelift to a major renovation that involves stripping out everything in the bathroom and starting over from scratch. Before finalising your plans, consider all your options. For example:
- Do you need to replace your worn bathtub or can you hire a bath and basin resurfacing specialist to give your existing bathtub a new lease on life?
- Have you looked at the new ranges of water saving shower heads that are available today?
- If space is at a premium, consider turning your bathroom or ensuite into a wet room.
A good bathroom renovation specialist will be happy to help you with your bathroom design and suggest ways you can stay within your budget without sacrificing quality or style.
Bathroom Renovations – NSW
In New South Wales, if your bathroom renovations exceed $1,000 labour and materials in value, the individual, partnership or company you hire will need to hold a current Builder’s Licence issued by NSW Fair Trading.
For bathroom renovations, your licensed builder will need at least one qualification from each of these 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 the trade or trades they carry out.
- Group B qualifications include completion of a variety of “units of competency” and/or satisfactory completion of related TAFE certificate courses such as tiling.
For example, if you want to replace your bathtub and a plumber replaces it and does some tiling work as well, they will need a valid plumber’s licence and a Certificate III in tiling.
For a major bathroom renovation, you will probably need to hire a licensed Building Contractor. In NSW, only licensed contractors are authorised to enter into contracts, hire subcontractors and supervise workers on the job.
Bathroom Renovations – Victoria
In Victoria, the Building Practitioners Board (BPB) governs building trades. If the value of your bathroom renovation is greater than $5,000, labour and materials inclusive, the BPB requires the work to be carried out by a Registered Building Practitioner. The only exception to this rule is a practitioner who carries out a single type of activity, such as tiling.
A Registered Building Practitioner (RBP) can carry either a Domestic Builder – Unlimited (DB-U) or a Domestic Builder – Limited (DB-L) card that may have an added code letter for their specific trade. If your bathroom renovator specialises in “bathroom, kitchen and laundry renovations,” their full code will be DB-L-L and may have further restrictions or endorsements (qualifications) listed as well.
Bathroom Renovations – Queensland
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission stipulates that tradespersons, partnerships or companies who carry out or supervise any building work exceeding $3,300 in cost (labour and materials) must have a “Builder Restricted Licence” for the type of building activity they engage in. For your bathroom renovation, their licence should state that they are authorised to carry out “kitchen, bathroom or laundry” work.
A contractor’s licence is not required in Queensland if your kitchen renovator has a Builder Restricted Licence. Unlike in some other states, a restricted licence also allows the holder to advertise their services, offer quotes and enter into contracts. Their licence does not, however, authorise them to do plumbing, electrical work or other work that requires a separate trade licence. They can, however, subcontract this type of work to licensed tradies and oversee the work they do.
Bathroom Renovations – SA
Consumer and Business Services (CBS) regulates the building industry in South Australia. According to the CBS, a “builder” is anyone who:
- Draws up and enters into a building contract
- Does demolition or site preparation work
- Undertakes restoration or renovation work
Bathroom renovations fall under the definition of builder in South Australia, so whoever does your renovations will need to have one or both of two licence classifications:
- Only a licensed Building Contractor can perform building work, enter into a contract or appoint subcontractors.
- A Building Supervisor is licensed to supervise work only.
In South Australia, a licensed Building Contractor must also have a Building Supervisor’s licence. For bathroom renovations, their Supervisor’s licence may have “scope of work” limitations such as:
- Alterations and Renovations;
- Additions, Alterations and Renovations
- Cabinet Making
- Carpentry and Joinery
“Alterations and Renovations” covers a range of activities and should cover any bathroom renovation work that is carried out on your property. As is true throughout Australia, plumbing and electrical work will need to be carried out by licensed plumbers and electricians, but your Building Contractor can subcontract their work.
Bathroom Renovations – WA
In Western Australia, licensed building practitioners will probably not be required by law to do your bathroom renovations unless the total cost exceeds $20,000. However, qualified bathroom renovation specialists adhere to strict voluntary codes of conduct. Many of them belong to professional associations such as the Cabinet Makers Association of Western Australia (CMAWA) or the Housing Industry Association (HIA).
Some larger kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovation companies in WA will have builders’ licences that allow them to carry out more extensive renovations. Whether they do or not, though, you should expect a highly professional level of service. A responsible bathroom renovator will:
- Have a track record of service that includes verifiable references and a portfolio of previous work.
- Come to your home to help you with your bathroom design and give you a detailed measure and quote. Many bathroom renovators will also offer free bathroom design services.
- Subcontract only to licensed plumbers, electricians and other tradies where needed.
- Supervise work from start to finish.
Although licensing regulations aren’t as strict in WA as they are elsewhere, qualified bathroom renovators take their responsibilities seriously and strive to exceed their customers’ expectations.
Bathroom Renovations – Tasmania
In Tasmania, the Department of Justice defines building work as activity “conducted in relation to the construction, demolition, alteration, addition, relocation or repair of a building.” Bathroom renovations are included in this definition, so your bathroom renovation should be done or supervised by a Registered Building Practitioner. A registered practitioner will have “Builder – Low Rise” accreditation for most domestic work.
To be sure you get professional service, choose a Registered Building Practitioner or company that specialises in bathroom renovations or kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovations. They will have the experience and related trade contacts you need to ensure your renovation will be done well and in a timely manner.
Bathroom Renovations – ACT
In the ACT, the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) governs all building services and issues trade licences. ACTPLA regulations state that any building work over $5,000, including labour and materials, must be carried out or supervised by a Licensed Building Practitioner.
If your bathroom renovations include any structural alterations to your home, your builder will need a Class A, B or C licence. If no structural work is required, a Class D licence authorises a building practitioner to carry out non-structural work only.
Some minor kitchen renovations may cost less than $5,000, but any plumbers or electricians who work on the job will need to be licensed for their trade. Also make sure any tradesperson who works on your property carries insurance. If they are not insured, you can be held liable for any accidents or injuries that occur whilst they are working on your behalf.
For best results, hire professional bathroom renovation specialists with years of experience; a list of satisfied customers you can refer to directly; and a portfolio of previous work. Better bathroom renovators will also be able to help you with your bathroom design and offer a free measure and quote.
Bathroom Renovations – Northern Territory
In the Northern Territory, workers who carry out “renovations and alterations to exist buildings” do not have to carry trade licences unless the work also includes increasing the overall floor area of your home or costs in excess of $12,000 (labour and materials).
A major bathroom renovation can cost over $12,000. If that is the case, you will need to hire a licensed Building Contractor. The contractor might hold either a restricted or unrestricted licence. If their licence is restricted, make sure their restrictions do not include any work you contract from them.
Regardless of whether or not your bathroom renovations require a licensed contractor, you want to know you are receiving professional service. A trustworthy service will have a track record of experience in bathroom or kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovations and be glad to show you examples of their previous work. They will give you a free measure and quote and in many cases, will help you design your bathroom.
When you get quotes for your bathroom renovations, be sure they include all labour and materials, including related trades like plumbers and electricians.
(note, the above information is to be used as a guide and is not formal advise, please consult your state government authority to confirm requirements)