What is Commercial building work?

This guide explains the typical tasks for commercial building work. If you are asked to an assessment interview, some of your interview questions will be based on this information.

A person registered as a Commercial builder is responsible for managing and arranging the carrying out of all components of building work for the construction of commercial buildings and structures (class 2–9 buildings and structures, and class 10b buildings not associated with a domestic building, as classified by the Building Code of Australia), or classes of that work, such as:

  • structural fit-out work
  • non-structural fit-out work
  • structural landscaping work
  • construction of shade structures work
  • the erection of signs work.

'Building work' means work for or connected to the construction of a building. 'Construct', in relation to a building, includes:

  • build, re-build, erect or re-erect the building
  • repair the building
  • alter the building
  • enlarge or extend the building
  • place or relocate the building on land.

General activities all registered practitioners need to know and do

A registered Commercial builder must have capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • arrange inspections and certification of building work
  • plan, manage and coordinate building projects, including:
    • apply for a building permit for proposed building work
    • develop and manage progress schedules
    • establish and manage budgets
    • interpret and follow plans, drawings and specifications
    • manage occupational health and safety
    • prepare cost estimates and responses to tender
    • select and manage subcontractors and relevant trades
    • select, prepare and manage contracts.

Commercial builder classes and knowledge requirements

Select a class below to find out the work it involves and the knowledge you need to demonstrate to become registered in that class. This includes qualifications and units of competency, where relevant.

A person registered in the class of Commercial builder (unlimited) is responsible for managing or arranging the carrying out of all components of building work for the construction of commercial buildings and structures of unlimited height and floor size, when a building permit is required. The work permitted includes structural and non-structural fit-out and structural landscaping.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • construct footings, slab systems and underpinning
    • install external cladding and glazing
    • install services
    • plan site preliminaries and establish the construction site
    • undertake damp proofing and waterproofing
    • undertake partial demolition, protection works, earthworks/excavations
    • undertake steel erection and framing
    • undertake structural and non-structural fit-out.

Knowledge requirements

If you are applying to be registered as a Commercial builder (unlimited) and you have successfully completed one of the following qualifications, you will satisfy the knowledge requirements for registration:

  • Bachelor of Construction Management and Economics from Holmesglen Institute
  • Bachelor of Building (Construction Management) from Victoria University
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management) from RMIT University
  • Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours) from Deakin University
  • Advanced Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) (CPC60212).

If you have successfully completed one of the following qualifications, you will satisfy some of the knowledge requirements for registration:

  • Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) (CPC50210)
  • Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) (CPC50308).

The above qualifications include units of competency relevant to the construction of buildings of Type B and Type C construction up to three storeys. They do not include units of competency relevant to the construction of buildings of Type A construction or buildings above three storeys.

This limited class of building work is limited to the construction of commercial buildings and structures:

  • up to 15 metres in height, and
  • with bulk excavations up to a depth of 3 metres.

The work permitted on these buildings includes structural and non-structural fit-out work and structural landscaping.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • construct footings, slab systems and underpinning
    • install external cladding and glazing
    • install services
    • plan site preliminaries and establish the construction site
    • undertake damp proofing and waterproofing
    • undertake partial demolition, protection works, earthworks/excavations
    • undertake steel erection and framing
    • undertake structural and non-structural fit-out.

Knowledge requirements

If you are applying to be registered as a Commercial builder (limited to the construction of low rise buildings) and you have successfully completed one of the following qualifications, you will satisfy the knowledge requirements for registration:

  • Bachelor of Construction Management and Economics from Holmesglen Institute
  • Bachelor of Building (Construction Management) from Victoria University
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management) from RMIT University
  • Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours) from Deakin University
  • Advanced Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) (CPC60212).

If you have successfully completed one of the following qualifications, you will satisfy some of the knowledge requirements for registration:

  • Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) (CPC50210)
  • Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) (CPC50308).

The above qualifications include units of competency relevant to the construction of buildings of Type B and Type C construction up to three storeys. They do not include units of competency relevant to the construction of buildings of Type A construction or buildings above three storeys.

This limited class of building work is limited to the construction of commercial buildings and structures:

  • up to 25 metres in height, and
  • bulk excavations up to a depth of 8 metres.

The work permitted includes structural and non- structural fit out work for buildings up to 25 metres in height, and structural landscaping associated with those buildings.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • construct footings, slab systems and underpinning
    • install external cladding and glazing
    • install services
    • plan site preliminaries and establish the construction site
    • undertake damp proofing and waterproofing
    • undertake partial demolition, protection works, earthworks/ excavations
    • undertake steel erection and framing
    • undertake structural and non-structural fit-out.

Knowledge requirements

If you are applying to be registered as a Commercial builder (limited to the construction of medium rise buildings) and you have successfully completed one of the following qualifications, you will satisfy the knowledge requirements for registration:

  • Bachelor of Construction Management and Economics from Holmesglen Institute
  • Bachelor of Building (Construction Management) from Victoria University
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management) from RMIT University
  • Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours) from Deakin University
  • Advanced Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) (CPC60212).

If you have successfully completed one of the following qualifications, you will satisfy some of the knowledge requirements for registration:

  • Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) (CPC50210)
  • Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) (CPC50308).

The above qualifications include units of competency relevant to the construction of buildings of Type B and Type C construction up to three storeys. They do not include units of competency relevant to the construction of buildings of Type A construction or buildings above three storeys.

This class of building work is limited to the construction of a non-residential open structure normally used for protection from sun or light rain, where the building work requires a building permit. Typically, a shade structure consists of posts, anchoring mechanisms and a roof covering made of fabric, PVC or other suitable outdoor material.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have the capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • arrange inspections and certification of work
    • erect frames
    • excavate site and install footings
    • install anchoring mechanisms and secure roof coverings
    • plan site preliminaries and establish construction site.

Knowledge requirements

If you have successfully completed the following qualification, you will satisfy the knowledge requirements for registration in this class of building work:

  • Certificate III in Carpentry (CPC30211)

This class of building work is limited to the installation or erection of pre-fabricated signs, either associated with commercial buildings/structures, or independently supported, where the building work requires a building permit. This building work includes:

  • the preparation of substrates
  • the erection of signs attached to structures using appropriate fixings and fastenings.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have the capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • excavate site and install of footings
    • install or erect signs using suitable fastening and fixings.
    • plan site preliminaries and establish the construction site
    • prepare substrates.

Knowledge requirements

If you have successfully completed the following required units of competency, you will satisfy the knowledge required for registration in this class of building work:

  • Apply basic levelling procedures (CPCCCM2006)
  • Arrange building applications and approvals (CPCCBC4026A)
  • Carry out concreting to simple forms (CPCCCO2013A)
  • Erect and dismantle restricted height scaffolding (CPCCCM2008B)
  • Identify construction work hazards and select risk control strategies (CPCCWHS3001)
  • Operate elevated work platforms up to 11 metres (CPCCCM3001)
  • Produce labour and material schedules for ordering (CPCCBC4005A)
  • Read and interpret plans and specifications (CPCCBC4012B)
  • Select and prepare a construction contract (CPCCBC4003A)
  • Work safely around power sources, services and assets (CPCCCM3003)
  • Work safely on scaffolding higher than 2 metres (CPCCCM2010).

This class of building work is limited to the on-site assembly and installation of pre-fabricated blinds and awnings to the exterior of commercial buildings/structures, where the building work requires a building permit.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have the capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • install blinds and awnings safely and securely
    • test operation and rectify faults.

Knowledge requirements

If you have successfully completed the following qualification, you will satisfy the knowledge requirements for registration in this class of building work:

  • Certificate in blinds, awnings, security screens and grilles (MSF30913), including the below units of competency for this class of building work:
    • Arrange building applications and approvals (CPCCBC4026A)
    • Identify construction work hazards and select risk control strategies (CPCCWHS3001)
    • Install exterior blinds and awnings (MSFBA3002)
    • Install metal structures and features (AHCLSC308)
    • Perform minor maintenance (MSTGN2005)
    • Produce labour and material schedules for ordering (CPCCBC4005A)
    • Read and interpret plans and specifications (CPCCBC4012B)
    • Select and prepare a construction contract (CPCCBC4003A).

This class of building work is limited to the internal fit-out of newly constructed or existing commercial buildings/structures of unlimited height and floor area, which affects how the building/structure complies with the NCC, particularly essential safety measures, where the building work cannot be carried out unless a building permit has been issued.

This building work typically includes the construction and installation of shop fronts, commercial entries, partitions, cabinets, joinery, and glazing, flooring and finishes associated with commercial buildings/structures (typically retail shops, shopping centres and offices).

It does not include fit-out work that affects the existing load bearing or structural elements and fixtures of the building/structure.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • assemble and install joinery components and internal stairs
    • install glazing, floor coverings and finishes, and floor and wall tiling
    • set out, fabricate and assemble cabinets, showcases, wall units, counters and work stations
    • set out, fabricate and assemble non- load bearing shop fronts, entries, framing, internal linings and curtain framing.

Knowledge requirements

If you have successfully completed one of the following qualifications, you will satisfy the knowledge requirements for registration in this class of building work:

  • Certificate III in Carpentry (CPC30211)
  • Certificate III in Carpentry and Joinery (CPC32011)
  • Certificate III in Shopfitting (CPC30116).

The units of competency required for this class of building work include:

  • Arrange building applications and approvals (CPCCBC4026A)
  • Identify construction work hazards and select risk control strategies (CPCCWHS3001)
  • Select and prepare a construction contract (CPCCBC4003A)
  • Produce labour and material schedules for ordering (CPCCBC4005A).

This class of building work is limited to the erection of structural steel for commercial buildings/structures that has been designed and fabricated for erection on site. Structural steel members are generally used for portal and other frames, and columns, beams, rafters, purlins, girts and bracings.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • ensure appropriately skilled and/or licensed operators undertake the work
    • identify and plan suitable methods to be used to erect structural steel components
    • install external cladding
    • plan and implement the sequence of work for steel erection, including requirements for plant and equipment
    • plan site preliminaries and establish the construction site.

Knowledge requirements

If you have successfully completed the following qualification, you will satisfy the knowledge requirements for registration in this class of building work:

  • Certificate in Rigging (CPC30711), including the below units of competency for this class of building work:
    • Arrange building applications and approvals (CPCCBC4026A)
    • Apply structural principles to commercial low-rise constructions (CPCCBC4011B)
    • Identify construction work hazards and select risk control strategies (CPCCWHS3001)
    • Perform advanced structural steel erection (CPCCR13014A)
    • Produce labour and material schedules for ordering (CPCCBC4005A)
    • Read and interpret plans and specifications (CPCCBC4012B)
    • Select and prepare a construction contract (CPCCBC4003A).

This class of building work is limited to the fit-out of newly constructed or existing commercial buildings/structures of unlimited height and floor area, which affects:

  • the existing load bearing or structural elements and fixtures of the building/structure, or
  • how the building/structure complies with the National Construction Code (NCC), particularly essential safety measures.

This building work typically includes the construction and installation of shop fronts, commercial entries, partitions, cabinets, joinery, and glazing, flooring and finishes associated with commercial buildings/ structures (typically retail shops, shopping centres and offices). This class of building work also includes the installation of external cladding to newly constructed or existing commercial buildings.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
      • assemble and install joinery components and stairs
      • construct and erect load bearing wall and ceiling framing, and install internal linings, partition frames and curtain walling
      • construct mezzanine floors and alter floor penetrations
      • install external cladding for structural and non- structural applications
      • install glazing, floor coverings and finishes, and floor and wall tiling
      • plan site preliminaries and establish the construction site
      • set out, fabricate and assemble cabinets, showcases, wall units, counters and work stations
      • set out, fabricate and assemble load bearing and non-load bearing shop fronts, entries and component fittings
      • undertake partial demolition.

Knowledge requirements

If you have successfully completed one of the following qualifications, you will satisfy the knowledge requirements for registration in this class of building work:

  • Certificate III in Carpentry (CPC30211)
  • Certificate III in Carpentry and Joinery (CPC32011)
  • Certificate III in Shopfitting (CPC30116).

The units of competency required for this class of building work include:

  • Apply building codes and standards to the construction process for medium rise building projects (CPCCBC5001B)
  • Arrange building applications and approvals (CPCCBC4026A)
  • Identify construction work hazards and select risk control strategies (CPCCWHS3001)
  • Produce labour and material schedules for ordering (CPCCBC4005A)
  • Select and prepare a construction contract (CPCCBC4003A).

This class of building work is limited to the construction and installation of a range of external non-residential landscape features, where the building work requires a building permit.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have the capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • plan site preliminaries and establish construction site
    • undertake earthworks and excavation works
    • install footings and slabs
    • construct structural landscaping elements, including:
      • arrange inspections and certification of building work
      • driveways, walkways and paths, and other paving of any material
      • external stairs and ramps
      • gates and fences (excluding swimming pool and spa safety barriers)
      • ornamental ponds, water features and structural ornamentation
      • pergolas, cabanas and decks
      • retaining walls that do not form part of a building.

Knowledge requirements

If you have successfully completed one of the following qualifications, you will satisfy the knowledge requirements for registration in this class of building work:

  • Diploma of Landscape Design (AHC50610)
  • Certificate III in Landscape Construction (AHC30916).

The units of competency required for this class of building work include:

  • Arrange building applications and approvals (CPCCBC4026A)
  • Identify construction work hazards and select risk control strategies (CPCCWHS3001)
  • Produce labour and material schedules for ordering (CPCCBC4005A)
  • Read and interpret plans and specifications (CPCCBC4012B)
  • Select and prepare a construction contract (CPCCBC4003A).

This class of building work is limited to the selection, application, installation and repair of waterproofing membranes or systems that may be applied to the interior, exterior, below ground and remedial areas of a building. The purpose of waterproofing is to prevent the ingress of moisture into the building interior.

As well as the general activities listed above, the person must also have capacity to undertake the following activities in a competent manner and to a professional standard:

  • manage and arrange the carrying out of building work, including:
    • prepare a range of different surfaces for waterproofing
    • report or rectify faults or damage in surfaces before applying a waterproofing system
    • select and apply appropriate waterproofing systems to above and below ground external wet areas, and internal wet areas, including basements, balconies and roofs
    • identify and rectify faults in damp proofing and waterproofing methods.

Knowledge requirements

If you have successfully completed the following qualification, you will satisfy all the knowledge requirements for registration in this class of building work:

  • Certificate III in Construction Waterproofing (CPC31411), including the below units of competency:
    • Arrange building applications and approvals (CPCCBC4026A)
    • Identify construction work hazards and select risk control strategies (CPCCWHS3001)
    • Produce labour and material schedules for ordering (CPCCBC4005A)
    • Read and interpret plans and specifications (CPCCBC4012B)
    • Select and prepare a construction contract (CPCCBC4003A).

What experience do you need to demonstrate?

Commercial builder (unlimited)

You must demonstrate that you have at least three years of relevant practical experience in:

  • planning, managing and coordinating building projects
  • managing, carrying out or arranging commercial building work.

This experience must include the construction of buildings higher than 25 metres.

Commercial builder (limited to a class of commercial building work)

You must demonstrate that you have adequate knowledge and experience to construct the components of building work in which you seek to be registered. You must have at least two years of relevant practical experience in the limited class of commercial building you seek registration in.