Legislation Updates

New rules for Queensland fridgies

A new licensing framework has been introduced in Queensland. Workers now require a Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) licence for mechanical services work.

According to the QBCC, “improperly installed and maintained heating and cooling systems can lead to dangerous bacteria growing and spreading through systems in facilities such as aged care, hospitals and shopping centres, among others. For this reason, licensing for mechanical services trades has been changed to reflect the important and specialised skill involved in this work.”

Staged implementation

The new licensing framework is being implemented in stages. Plumbers, refrigeration and air-conditioning technicians, and those who work in the medical gas industry, will require a licence to perform mechanical services work, or contract for mechanical services work, regardless of the value. 

New entrants and apprentices completing after January 1, 2020, require a relevant licence to undertake mechanical services work. New entrants include interstate or overseas workers new to the Queensland building industry.

From July 1, 2020, contractors working in the industry must be licensed to carry out mechanical services work. Other workers, including employees, will not need to be licensed until January 1, 2022, if their employer holds the appropriate contractor licence.

A mechanical services licence is not required for installation of single-head split system air conditioners if the value of work does not exceed $3,300.

Eligibility for a free licence

Existing QBCC Act licensees in classes Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Mechanical Services (Limited Design) and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Mechanical Services (Unlimited Design), have been automatically transitioned to the relevant new Mechanical Services – Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration licence class. These licensees will not need to provide paperwork or pay any additional fee for this licence and will receive their new licence card upon renewal.

If these existing refrigeration and air conditioning licensees have been undertaking scopes of work that now fall under the Mechanical Services – Plumbing licence class, licensees will need to apply for this new licence.

Existing Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Mechanical Services (Limited Design) and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Mechanical Services (Unlimited Design) contractors may also be eligible for a free Mechanical Services – Plumbing licence provided:

  • The application is made by June 30, 2020
  • The applicant has the required technical qualifications
  • The applicant can show they have performed mechanical services plumbing work (or employed workers to carry out this work) for a minimum period of six months prior to January 1, 2020.

The QBCC has created a “Mechanical Services Plumbing Licence Experience Requirements” factsheet, available on the QBCC website.

General information

All existing licensees in the above classes have been emailed and/or sent a letter detailing the transitional arrangements relevant to them. Regular email updates will be provided to these licensees to ensure the timeframes for applications are understood.

The QBCC is working collaboratively with industry stakeholders to ensure mechanical services contractors and workers are prepared for the introduction of the licensing framework, and understand what it means for them.

Mechanical services stakeholder meetings are being held regularly to communicate and engage with industry. Further stakeholder meetings will be held throughout the year to gain further feedback and industry insights.

Licensees who are members of industry bodies are encouraged to seek assistance from those organisations to understand the new licensing framework.

An online licence application form is available via the myQBCC portal, making the application process convenient and efficient.

Visit the mechanical services web pages for detailed information about each mechanical services stream, including timelines for licencing, reference guides and fact sheets, transitional arrangements and information on how to apply for recognition of prior learning for mechanical services technical qualifications.

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