How to become a Building Contractor

Building contractors coordinate the construction of dwellings and other structures.

Personal requirements of a Building Contractor

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Management and leadership skills
  • Good planning and organisational skills
  • Aptitude for technical activities

Education & Training for a Building Contractor

To become a building contractor you usually have to complete a VET qualification in building and construction. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a building contractor by studying construction management or building at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Building Contractor

Building contractors may perform the following tasks:

  • examine and interpret clients’ plans or arrange the drawing of plans to meet building regulations
  • submit tenders (offers to do jobs at a stated price), quotes or prices for a project to clients
  • arrange the submission of plans to local authorities for approval and arrange inspections of building work
  • organise employees and/or subcontractors to carry out all stages of building and negotiate rates of pay
  • calculate quantities of materials required for building projects and order these from building suppliers or advertise for tenders
  • arrange delivery times of materials to coincide with various stages of the building process
  • supervise the work of employees and/or subcontractors to ensure buildings are of an acceptable standard and are proceeding according to the contract requirements and program schedule
  • coordinate the activities of office staff involved in the preparation and payment of accounts
  • comply with state and federal legal statutory contract law.

Employment Opportunities for a Building Contractor

Most building contractors are self-employed as sole proprietors, work as partners in small companies or work as company directors in larger firms. Building contractors may specialise in one area of construction (such as new homes, extensions and renovations of established homes or commercial building construction). Most work is available in the metropolitan area, although there are some opportunities to work in country areas, particularly in centres of mining activity. Due to variations in industry demand, employment opportunities are subject to change. In periods of low activity, builders with a trade qualification may seek alternative employment in their original trade area.

Additional Information
In some states and territories, building contractors must either be registered as, or work under the supervision of, a registered building practitioner. To be registered you must have completed training and have relevant industry experience. All those who work in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (CIC). Those with appropriate building qualifications may be eligible to become members of the Australian Institute of Building.
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