Australia & NZ

Queensland, Australia, Introduces Occupational License for HVAC&R Industry

Queensland, the third most populous state in Australia, has introduced a new occupational licensing requirement for the mechanical services trade that will make it illegal to carry out any air conditioning and refrigeration (RAC) work without the correct license. 

According to Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), starting January 1, 2020, a business [like a contractor], as well as an apprentice, nominee supervisor and site supervisor, must hold a mechanical services license to be able to lawfully perform RAC work. All other individuals, such as technicians, will have until December 31, 2021, to obtain a mechanical services RAC license or risk being fined. 

In addition, starting January 1, 2020, contractors will have six months for the QBCC to approve their license application. During this time, individual workers like technicians (but not apprentices and nominee supervisors) will be able to work for a contractor or person who is having their license application considered. Then workers will be able to work for a contractor who holds the relevant mechanical services license until December 31, 2021.

But starting January 1, 2022, those workers will need to hold a mechanical services license to lawfully perform mechanical services work or risk being fined.

Previously, all work could be performed up to the value of AUS$3,300 (US$2,265) without a specific mechanical services license.

Queensland is the only Australian state to have such a mechanical trades licensing requirement. State or territory-based licensing schemes only cover the work performed in that state.

In late 2016, the local government released its Queensland Building Plan for discussion. Under the Queensland Building Plan, there was a proposal for licensing reforms with the goal to “simplify license classes and modernize the approach to licensing.” One of the many proposals was to establish a mechanical services license.

RAC is a licensed trade under the QBCC Act 1991. The new mechanical services RAC license will have license classes for limited design and unlimited design.