How long does it take to become a builder in Victoria?

Becoming a builder in Victoria is an arduous however fulfilling journey. Aspiring builders are not only taught the fundamentals of building and construction, but also gain practical experience from projects on-site which culminate in securing the necessary qualifications to receive a building practitioner’s license. From this angle, it seems as though the path itself is relatively straightforward time-wise. However, in actuality there are many things to consider, which this blog explores. Thus, the question at hand is: how long does it take to become a builder in Victoria? 


A quick answer to the question of duration is that it takes as long as your extent of preparation and readiness to pass the test hurdles set by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).


When analysing time taken in relation to becoming a builder, it is imperative to look at each aspect of the pathway and their approximate timelines. The least time consuming part of the process is obtaining a white card (license that grants you the ability to carry out construction work and access construction sites), which only takes 1 day. From this point on, things become considerably more prolonged. 


Typically, education comes after receiving a white card. The amount of courses completed will greatly affect how long it takes you to move on to the next stage. A Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) is the general starting point for many looking to enter the construction industry. Completing this course normally takes thirty-four (34) weeks. This course may be the destination if you are applying for a limited building licence (limited to a specific trade such as carpentry or tiling). The full list is available on the VBA website.


Some continue their studies and look to higher levels of education by completing the Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). This is the minimum study required for application for an unlimited building licence. This course takes roughly fifty (50) weeks to complete, which takes into account the increase in the level of content covered. Despite the education process becoming longer, the payoff of undertaking a Diploma is significant, as it opens up more opportunities for employment and gaining experience.



It is also important to acquire practical experience in the construction industry to become a builder. This component speeds up the process rather than slowing it down, as having hands on involvement in construction projects is a weighty requirement from many employers. Three (3) years working on at least three (3) homes is seen as adequate, however, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), who monitor all building activity in Victoria, offer a time scale of seven (7) years of projects the applicant has been a part of.


The last stage involves applying for a builder’s license, which is a lot less time consuming than the previous two stages. The VBA administers this, and provide categories of builder status which you can apply for (more of which can be found on the VBA’s website which covers each category further). Generally, the time involved in the application process for each category doesn’t vary, however the time taken by the VBA to assess your application based on the category you select may potentially differ when they assess suitability to your chosen category. Additionally, you may be required to sit an exam depending on the category you choose. In addition to waiting for an outcome from the VBA, the entire application process could take a few weeks at most. 


The table below provides a summary guide of the estimated timelines based on the application process:


Application stage Timelines 
Secure a white card 1 day
Study Certificate IV in Building & Construction (Building) 34 weeks
Study Diploma of Building & Construction (Building) 50 weeks
Gain practical experience and evidence in working on at least three (3) projects  2-3 years
Prepare application forms and evidence  1-2 weeks
Total time to an unlimited building license  2-4 years (depends on prior experience and attention to the project)


Becoming a builder takes considerable time. This is important, as safety and quality are the cornerstones of the construction industry. Cutting corners and shortening the time taken to become a builder does not reap much, if at all any benefits. However, being thoroughly prepared and trained is the key to succeeding in building and construction.

If you are interested in courses in Building and Construction, enquire with Parker Brent to get started.