Apply for a plumbing licence

A licensed plumber is expected to have additional knowledge and experience compared to a plumber who holds registration. To become licenced, you must:

  1. First hold registration in the class you are applying for, and
  2. Hold and maintain the required insurance once you are licensed. Insurance protects consumers when plumbing work is found to be defective.

Once licenced, you are issued a VBA Licenced Plumber Card and must have your card with you whenever you carry out plumbing work. You must show the card upon request.

Image of a Plumbing licence showing first name, surname, licence number and expiry date, barcode

Eligibility requirements

The eligibility requirements to become licenced vary according to whether you are seeking licence in a main, specialised or a restricted class:

Main classes

You must meet the following conditions for each class you intend to seek a licence for:

  • Hold current VBA registration in that class
  • Have an additional two years of relevant work experience
  • Successfully completed the prescribed class specific licencing unit(s) of competency (where prescribed)

And

  • Successfully completed the common licence units (or hold a current VBA plumbing licence in another class)
  • Hold (or be eligible to hold) the required insurance
  • Successfully complete the relevant VBA exam

Specialised classes

You must meet the following conditions for each class you intend to seek a licence for:

  • Hold current VBA licence in the relevant parent class
  • Hold (or be eligible to hold) VBA registration in the specialised class
  • Successfully completed the prescribed class specific licencing unit(s) of competency (where prescribed)

And

  • Hold (or be eligible to hold) the required insurance
  • Successfully complete the relevant VBA licence exam (where applicable)

Restricted classes

You must meet the following conditions for each class you intend to seek a licence for:

  • Have current VBA registration in the restricted class (or relevant full class) for at least 12 months
  • Successfully completed the prescribed class specific licencing unit(s) of competency (where prescribed)

And

  • Successfully completed the common licence units (or hold a current VBA plumbing licence in another class)
  • Hold (or be eligible to hold) the required insurance
  • Successfully complete the relevant VBA licence exam (where applicable)

Did you complete (or are you currently undertaking) the relevant training for the class you intend to apply for at one of the following institutions?

  • A Victorian TAFE
  • Master Plumbers Victoria
  • Fire Institute of Training (FIT) in Victoria

Yes: You will typically complete the relevant VBA exam(s) as part of your course.

No: Submit your application and we will schedule you into the next available exam (we will typically provide you with 10 business days’ notice).  The licence exam for most classes consists of a written theory exam. For exam costs see Plumbing fees.

If this is your first time applying for a licence, you must provide evidence that you have successfully completed the common licence units.

These units are ‘Core’ units from the Certificate IV in Plumbing Services and provide learning that is required for all classes.  The required units vary according to which version of the Certificate IV course you complete (or partially complete).

Note: if you are already licenced, you are not required to update your units. If you hold a current ESV Electrical Contractor’s licence, the VBA considers this to be equivalent to the prescribed common plumbing licencing units.

CPC40920 Certificate IV in Plumbing Services

The units are:

  • BSBESB402 Establish legal and risk management requirements of new business ventures
  • CPCCBC4012 Read and interpret plans and specifications
  • CPCPCM4011 Carry out work-based risk control processes
  • CPCPCM4012 Estimate and cost work
  • CPCPCM4015 Access and interpret regulatory requirements for the plumbing and services industry

CPC40913 Certificate IV in Plumbing Services (or equivalent units from an earlier version of this course)

The units are:

  • BSBSMB401A Establish legal and risk management requirements of small business
  • CPCPCM4011A Carry out work-based risk control processes
  • CPCPCM4012A Estimate and cost work

The class specific units vary according to:

  1. The class you are applying for, and
  2. The version of the course you complete (or partially complete)

If you complete your training in Victoria, typically your training provider will deliver the relevant prescribed units.

All plumbing courses were updated with new versions in late 2020.  If you completed an older course, you are not required to update your units.

Prescribed units – current courses

The following documents list the prescribed units for both registration and licencing for current courses:

Prescribed units – older courses

The following documents list the prescribed units for both registration and licencing for older courses:


How to apply

You must submit:

  • The licence application form  (PDF, 506.49 KB). Forms should be saved to your computer. Open them in Acrobat Reader, type in the requested details (do not handwrite; it will take longer for us to process) and then print and sign.
  • A certified photocopy or certified digital copy of your official academic transcript (‘Record of Results’ or ‘Statement of Attainment’) issued by your training provider that shows you have successfully completed the:
    • Prescribed class specific units for the class(es) you are applying for, and
    • The Common Licence units (if you are applying for a licence for the first time).
  • Evidence that you hold insurance in the form of a Certificate of Currency from your insurer
  • The application fee and licence fee (see Fees)

And

  • If your last submitted application to the VBA was more than three (3) years ago, a current passport photo and two forms of Certified Identification.

You must not make any written or oral statement to the VBA relating to your application that you know, or should reasonably know, is false.

After you apply

If your application is incomplete or we need further information from you, we may:

  • Call you to obtain additional information
  • Return your application to you
  • Invite you to an interview and / or sit an exam

You application and supporting documents should be submitted as one PDF document via email.

The VBA does not accept the following file formats:

  • jpeg
  • png
  • Links to online digital repositories (such as Google drive, Drop box, etc)

Victorian Building Authority 
GPO Box 536 
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

Victorian Building Authority 
Goods Shed North 
733 Bourke Street 
DOCKLANDS VIC 3008


Application outcome

Once the decision regarding the application is made, we will notify you of the outcome in writing.

If your application is successful

You will be:

  1. Licensed for up to 12 months
  2. Sent a VBA plumbing licence ID card (or updated card if you are already licenced)
  3. Your VBA Find a Plumbing Practitioner listing will be updated

If you are unsuccessful

We will notify you in writing and outline the reasons why your application was unsuccessful.

You may reapply at a later date. In your subsequent application, you will need to demonstrate that you have addressed the gaps that caused your previous application to be refused.

You have the right to appeal the decision by applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). To apply for a review of the decision, call VCAT on (03) 9628 9755.


Frequently asked questions

No – you are not required to update your units in you have done the units that were prescribed for an older course (or the equivalent).

No – some of the prescribed units may sit under multiple qualifications.  You are not required to recomplete them.

The VBA considers the units you undertook to gain your ESV Electrical Contractor’s licence to be equivalent to the prescribed common licencing units.

If you are enrolling into a course to complete class specific units, you may be required to complete one or more of these units.  Your training provider can provide advice regarding this.

You will need to submit a registration application in the relevant class, and have it approved, before you apply for a licence.

Yes – however, your application for the parent class will be processed first.  If you are refused for the parent class, you will also be refused for the specialised class.

Most persons will be required to successfully complete the prescribed class specific units.  However, an exemption may be made if:

  • You have substantial practical experience in the class(es) you are applying for, and / or
  • You have completed units that may be deemed equivalent from another course.

You will still be required to undertake the relevant VBA exam. Should you not pass the exam, you will be expected to complete the currently prescribed units before reapplying.

Yes – if there is a class specific licence exam for the class you are applying for, you are required to undertake the exam.  Please note that if you did your prescribed units at one of the following institutions you typically will have completed the relevant VBA exam(s) as part of your course:

  • A Victorian TAFE
  • Master Plumbers Victoria
  • Fire Institute of Training (FIT) in Victoria

If you failed your VBA licence exam, the VBA will notify you in writing and advise if:

You are eligible to re-sit the exam (this will depend upon your exam score)

Whether your application has been refused.

If your application is refused, you may reapply at a later date. In your subsequent application, you will need to demonstrate that you have:

Addressed the gaps that caused your previous application to be refused, and

May be required to complete the currently prescribed units if you have not already done so.