What is Waterproofing?
Waterproofing or construction waterproofing is a trade work that involves shielding a home to prevent wet materials from getting into it. It also covers shielding of wet areas such as showers and taps in the bathroom or kitchen. The main purpose of waterproofing is to stop water and moisture from leaking that might lead to the dampness of walls or ceilings and, in turn, cause fungus and mould.
To perform these works in Australia, one must have a waterproofing license.
Which Tradies Can Do Waterproofing?
There are different types of waterproofing which include underwater waterproofing and basement waterproofing. Tradies of certain types can get a waterproofing licence. Although there are tradies who specialize in waterproofing, other tradespersons such as plumbers, tilers, solid plasterers, etc., may also be certified and licensed to perform waterproofing works. Plumbers are usually qualified to carry out waterproofing in bathrooms and kitchens, and tilers can waterproof floors and walls.
How Much Do Waterproofers Earn?
As a waterproofer, on average, you can earn around $66,000 to $72,000 Per annum ($5500 to $6000 per month), if you work for a company. However, working independently will make this income much higher.
Do You Need a Licence to Do Waterproofing?
You must have a specific licence to perform a particular trade work in Australia. The licensing rules, requirements, and costs vary from state to state. For instance, in New South Wales (NSW), NSW Fair Trading issues Trade Work licences. You must hold a licence before carrying out any building work, which includes waterproofing if the value of the work exceeds $5000 (including GST) in terms of materials and labour.
What are the Types and Classes of Waterproofing Licence?
New South Wales (NSW)
In NSW, you can apply for three different types of licences depending on how you want to carry out waterproofing work (if you want to supervise waterproofing work or contract for waterproofing work).
- Contractor Licence:
This licence permits the tradie to contract and advertise for waterproofing works. You can be a waterproofing contractor with this licence. You are only allowed to perform the work types that are stated on your licence card. The validity of this licence can be 1, 3, or 5 years.
2. Qualified Supervisor Certificate A qualified supervisor certificate allows you to supervise waterproofing works. This does not let a tradie contract for work. The validity of this licence can be of 1, 3 or 5 years.
3. Endorsed Contractor Licence Tradies who apply for a contractor licence and also have the necessary skills, experience, and qualifications for being a qualified supervisor, may get an endorsed contractor licence. The licence card shows ‘contractor licence (Q)’ on them to imply that the licence also serves the purpose of a qualified supervisor certificate.
In Queensland, Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) issues licences for Trade Work.
You will require a contractor licence of the suitable class to perform works in the building and construction industry (works such as development or repair of buildings, extension, carrying out an erection, alteration). Waterproofing falls under this category (building work), and hence you will need a licence to perform waterproofing work in QLD. Although waterproofing work valued at less than $3300 does not require a licence, you may need to provide evidence (a certificate or statement) that confirms your competence to perform waterproofing work.
It is a punishable offence to undertake waterproofing work without a licence of the required class from QBCC. Undertaking waterproofing work includes contracting, submitting a tender, or making an offer.
For waterproofing, you may apply for the following licence classes based on your requirements:
- Builder Low Rise
- Builder Medium Rise
- Builder Open
- Wall and Floor Tiling (a tiler may perform waterproofing work if it is for tiling purposes even if the tiling work is performed by someone else)
You can apply for these licence classes as a Contractor, Nominee Supervisor, or Site Supervisor.
There are some exceptions where you will not require a licence. For example, if you are the landowner and you carry out waterproofing work that does not exceed $11,000 in value, you will not require a licence.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Waterproofing Licence?
The cost of getting a waterproofing licence varies based on the state, type, class, validity, etc. Usually, there is a processing fee or application fee and a fee for the duration of validity (for example, a 5-year licence will cost more than a 3-year licence).
Who are Eligible to Get Waterproofing Licence?
Your eligibility to get a waterproofing licence depends on your industry experience, competence, and waterproofing qualifications or apprenticeship.
If you have proven industry experience in waterproofing and can back it up with relevant paperwork, you can apply for a waterproofing licence. You will also need a qualification in waterproofing to apply for the licence.
What Qualifications are Needed for Waterproofing Licence?
The prerequisite for a waterproofing licence is to get a technical qualification in waterproofing. You will need either a waterproofing course in NSW, a waterproofing course in QLD, or a waterproofing course from TAFE.
You will need the following waterproofing short course:
- Certificate III in Construction Waterproofing or
- Certificate III in Waterproofing The best, easiest, and cheapest way to get the qualification is through Recognition of Prior Learning, also known as RPL. With RPL, your experience and skills in waterproofing are converted into a certificate. This means that you will not need to attend any classes. If you can provide evidence showing your competence, it will be counted towards the qualification. It generally takes 2 to 3 weeks to process the qualification through RPL. These qualifications also help getting promoted at work or getting high salaries in the construction industry.
Before applying for the qualifications with the RPL process, you should keep the following documents and information handy:
- 100 points of Identification documents (e.g., passport, driver’s licence, medicare card, utility bills, etc.)
- White card
- Visa copy (if you are an Australian citizen, then you need to provide either your Australian passport or birth certificate or citizenship certificate)
- Unique Student Identifier (USI). If you do not have a USI, an agent may help you create one.
- Updated resume
- Current relevant reference letter
- Payslips or invoices related to waterproofing work
- Any previous academic documents
Alternatively, you can look for Registered Training Organisations (RTO) or colleges, who provide these qualifications through RPL. Proceeding with an agent is wiser as they will help you with all the complex paperwork.
You cannot apply for a licence if you are a trainee or an apprentice. You will need to complete your apprenticeship to apply for the licence. After you finish your apprenticeship, you cannot continue working until you have your licence.
What Documents are Needed to Apply for Waterproofing Licence?
Along with the qualification, you will also need other documents like financials, details of your experience, etc. Here is a checklist of things you might need to apply for a waterproofing licence:
- Evidence of qualifications (certificate and transcript)
- Any past or current certificates or licences (if any)
- Proof of your experience and competence
- Written references
- Employment details including company details
- Identification documents
- Payment of fees
How to Apply for Waterproofing Licence
To apply for the licence, you must complete all the required forms and attach all the supporting documents and evidence. If you make the application through an agency, they will do all that for you, including applicable fees and all the documents. You can either post your application or lodge it in person at the concerned office of the state. If you are a waterproofer, or any other trade professional like tiler or plumber and also do waterproofing work, and want to apply for a waterproofing licence, the first step will be to get in touch with an agent who will help you to get your waterproofing certificate through the process of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Once you have achieved the qualifications, you should take advice and services of a registered agent who might assist you in organizing your application and get your application ready, ensuring higher chances of getting approval of a waterproofing licence from the concerned regulatory body of the state (Fair Trading or QBCC).