Public Comment

Have your say: New licensing in Queensland

As reported last year, Queensland is updating its licensing framework for mechanical services work, including air conditioning and refrigeration. It is now looking for feedback on the proposed licence classes and transitional arrangements.

Perhaps the biggest change for air conditioning and refrigeration is the introduction of the occupational licence class, with a minimum Certificate III qualification or equivalent. The department estimates that there are around 4,500 individuals currently working in the industry who would have to obtain this licence.

They may need to undertake additional training or have their skills assessed, through a recognised prior learning (RPL) or similar process, to obtain the new licence.

To minimise the impact to industry, the department is proposing transitional arrangements that would give all tradespeople enough time to change into the new licensing regime. It would be introduced from January 1, 2020 for new workers. From January 1, 2022, the transition would end, and all workers would have to be fully licensed.

Another change is the removal of a $3,300 threshold for contractor licences. In the new system, the threshold value for contractor licensing requirements will drop from $3,300 to $0. Note that this does not apply to work on single-head split systems, where the $3,300 threshold will still apply.

The Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA) has been reviewing the framework and has flagged various issues. Chief among these is that the scope of work for the new occupational RAC licence does not accurately reflect the work that a technician would be required to do. The AMCA is currently in talks with the department to address these problems.

The Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works is also seeking feedback from industry and the community about the draft regulation and the proposed mechanical services licensing framework as discussed in the regulatory impact statement (RIS).

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback about the matters raised in the RIS. An online survey is also available.

The closing date for submissions and for completing the RIS survey is July 5.

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2 Replies to “Have your say: New licensing in Queensland

  1. I will refer to Queensland regulations and in more general terms to HVAC engineering (design, installation) and related certifications.
    I have 37 years of experience as a professional engineer and project manager in mechanical and HVAC fields and I would like to make few points.
    # Substandard design practices and non-compliant installation work in HVAC systems is at the endemic proportion in Queensland now. I suspect the same in other states.
    # So called QBCC licencing for limited and unlimited design is a joke. In addition, it undermines and it makes mockery of mandatory RPEQ registrations and other professional registrations in Australia (CPEng, NER etc).
    # Forms 15 and 16 with non-compliant and substandard design and installation work are everywhere.
    # About 50% of my own income as a professional engineer is through attending and fixing complains related to substandard design or installation on commercial and residential building. In some cases it goes up to 7-8 years after original installation completion and handover.
    # Majority of cases are related to non-compliant, badly designed or lack of any design in relation to: a) kitchen exhaust systems, b) car-park ventilation systems, c) stair pressurisation systems d) excessive noise and e) general issues with AC and ventilation systems design and installation.
    # In large proportion the above problems relate to technical incompetence of individuals – often with QBCC licences.
    # In my opinion, to fix the problem I would propose the following legislation for QLD (same for all other states): Form-15 certifications should be done by people doing their own design and RPEQs only …and b) Form-16 certifications should be done only by RPEQs who are business independent from construction teams.
    Thank you.
    # There is no policing and execution of prosecution on non-compliant design and substandard installations.

    1. Barry Dever.Mechanical contractor .Toowoomba, Queensland. Firstly, I totally support the comments of our industry colleague. Kristof.
      Secondly, I believe at the start of the mining boom when tradesmen were in short demand by modular construction companies, the poorly legislated Certificate II industry was born. Poorly qualified RTO’s popped up on every street corner to issue these certificates to eager workers who had only to invest a few days of their time to be presented with a certificate II.Unfortunately as all fully trained refrigeration and air conditioning tradespeople who have come through 4 years of the correct trade training colleges and field work will confirm that since the mining boom ended many certificate II workers are in mainstream contracting damaging the reputation of the industry. I firmly believe all certificate II workers have their licences revoked immediately until the complete the correct 4 year industry recognised training process is completed leading back to the time when a tradesperson was just that.The powerful electrical and plumbing industries would never have allowed a system to be introduced in their industry devaluing their trade and placing the public at risk as it has done in the HVACR industries.
      And finally I totally agree that until all building works and the mechanical services installed within developments are inspected and certified by independent government certifiers not affiliated with any mechanical contractors or building contractors in any way will projects be delivered to documented Australian Standards.

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