Legislation updates

Check licence requirements now, warns QBCC

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is alerting employees who perform air conditioning and refrigeration work for a licensed contractor that they must hold the relevant mechanical services occupational licence by January 1, 2022.

Contractors who hold a mechanical services licence and have employees who perform mechanical services work are encouraged to discuss licensing requirements with them.

The Queensland government established the new licensing framework for mechanical services work on January 1, 2020. Its aim was to address the significant health and safety risk posed by incorrectly installed or maintained mechanical services systems such as heating and air conditioning. The QBCC notes that dangerous bacteria can grow and spread through improperly installed or maintained heating and cooling systems in facilities such as aged care, hospitals and shopping centres.

For this reason licensing for mechanical services trades has been changed. The framework is being implemented in stages, to reflect the important and specialised skills involved in this work.

Under the new mechanical services licensing framework, the threshold value of mechanical services work has been reduced to zero. This means the performance of any mechanical services work requires the appropriate licence.

The new framework also includes a single occupational licence for employees who perform mechanical services – air conditioning and refrigeration work for a licensed contractor. Employees must hold the occupational licence by January 1, 2022.

“If you are an employee, we encourage you to review the technical qualifications now to ensure you have the required qualifications in time to be licensed by January 1, 2022,” says the QBCC.

“Although the deadline seems a long way off, we encourage you to review the licensing requirements now to ensure you will have the required qualifications in time. Any additional training that is needed should be considered as soon as possible.”

Apprentices or trainees undertaking an apprenticeship do not need to hold a licence until they have completed their training.

There are exemptions from the licensing requirements, including installation of air conditioning systems in houses and townhouses, and single-head split systems if the work is valued at under $3,300 (including the value of the unit and building materials). The value of the work cannot be reduced to avoid QBCC licensing requirements by splitting the contract into multiple components or excluding the electrical work.

Employees who carry out mechanical services plumbing work for an appropriately licensed employer will need to hold the Mechanical Services – Plumbing occupational licence by January 1, 2022. Normal application and licence fees apply.

For more information on technical qualifications and scopes of work, refer to the technical qualifications and experience for Mechanical Services – Plumbing licence fact sheet. For detailed information about the experience required see the mechanical services experience fact sheet – plumbing.

For more information about mechanical services licensing, visit the QBCC website. You can apply for a mechanical services licence online via myQBCC.

Licensees and applicants who are members of industry bodies can also seek assistance from those organisations to understand the licensing framework.

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