How Unlicensed Cowboy Builders Are Culled By The LBP Scheme


Did you know that Cowboys were often young boys as young as 12 or 13. Lacking in skill and ability, they started early to develop the necessary skills to then be hired on wages. And many developed into the most reckless class of outlaws in the wild country.

Hey, it even became an insult to call someone a ‘cowboy’, as it suggested he was a horse thief, robber, or outlaw!

But we don’t need to go to the wild west

‘Cowboys’ now exist in every society. Especially in the building trade, they are abundant. Pick up a hammer, get a builders apron, find a beat up ute and you are a fully qualified cowboy builder. No formal training. Marginal experience. No checks for skills or ability. Or any requirement to keep abreast of current industry regulations. In fact, no checks for any competency at all.

Start by fixing fences

Then build decks. Then houses. Then multi-storey apartments. Or basically any job that you can secure. Just use your imagination. But when these cowboy towns all started crumpling down, the sheriffs decided to take some action. And so they drew a line in the dust.

And said, ‘Cowboy Builders are no more’

‘Anyone involved with building or supervising must demonstrate competency in their chosen field’. And they gave this process a fancy name. And folks, this is how the ‘Licensed Building Practitioner’ (LBP) Scheme was born.

Licensed Building Practitioners have to show certain skills, give proof of practical experience and comply with the building code to become licenced. They also have to maintain a minimum number of Continued Professional Development points. (CPD)

Demonstrate Competency

All builders and designers(or anyone involved with the construction industry) are now required to demonstrate their competency in order to become a Licensed Building Practitioner(LBP).

If a builder can’t demonstrate his competency within the regulated process of the LBP scheme, then he’s thrown outa town.(figuratively speaking). Any building work(including design) that requires a Building Consent is now classed as ‘Restricted Building Work’. And only LBP’s are allowed to undertake Restricted Building Work.

Pretty simple if you know what you’re doing

First check if the building work you’re intending on getting done is restricted; if yes, then you need to engage a LBP.

So what happens if I do this on the ‘quiet’?

There are fines of upto $20,000 if someone carries out or supervises work for which they are not licensed to do. Likewise if you knowingly hire an unlicensed person, you could be fined as well.

Does that mean I’ll have to hang up my tools?

No, not at all. Do it yourself(DIY) is still allowed, you just need to check if this work is deemed ‘Restricted Building Work’.


* LBP scheme is now in effect (from 1 March 2012)

* Any work that requires a building consent is ‘Restricted Building Work’, therefore must be undertaken by a LBP

* Fines of upto $20,000 for non-compliance

Click here to check if your designer or tradesperson is a LBP

An old cowboy saying… ‘Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction’ Yeeha!



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