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what kind of license a plumber should have?

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  • what kind of license a plumber should have?

    I am thinking of hiring a plumber to do a repair job for the a plumbing job. This including he should open a part of the ceiling to check the plumbing pipes. What kind of license does this plumber should have to do this kind of job?

    Thanks,

  • #2
    I just anwered a similar question in the HVAC forum but here goes....

    Depending upon where you live it can be the luck of the draw.

    When I took my training in Florida we were required to complete a state approved apprenticeship. The minimum requirement was to work full time under a Master Plumber, 40 hours per week (any week with less than 40 hours did not count) for a period of 4 years. In addition, we had to be enrolled in the State Monitored apprenticeship program and submit a weekly time sheet to the Florida Department of Education-Divisioin of Workforce Developement and we had to be enrolled in a formal Technical School Program attending classes from 6 to 10pm two nites a week (Locklyn Vocational Tech, Milton Florida).

    Once you had aquired a certificate of completion from the State Dept of Education, The Technical School or College Diploma, and a Letter of REcommendation signed by the Master Plumber you worked under, you could then Pay a testing Fee of $300 and take the state licensing exam. A very compreshenive exam on Theory, Practice, applicable Plumbing codes, Workmans Comp regulations, Enviromental Protection Agency regulations, state and federal tax laws, and Fair labor laws. (There is an average of 70% failure for first time testing, and if you fail you must wait 6 months, pay the fee and try again.)

    By conrast, here in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio, if one wants to work as a residential Plumber (any structure with 3 family living units or less), all you need to do is go to the local municipal office, show proof of Job site liability insurance, Workmans comp insurance (if you employ 4 or more employees) and pay an annual fee which ranges from $75 to $125 per community. Thats right folks, any fool with a few dollars and a rusty pipe wrench can hang out a shingle here so its homeowner be ware. Sadly there are many people in this region who are making a fair living as plumbers, HVAC techs, or even general contractors who wouldnt know a building code from the morse code. This is why all the tradesmen who respond on this board constantly harp, get references and check them thoroughly.

    To make matters even worse here, there are no permits or inspections required except for new construction.

    There is some effort to start requiring licensing, permits and inspections, but the reluctance is coming from city hall. Why? Simply because they know that once those procedures come into play the vast majority of those calling themselves plumbers here will not pass the test, and even if they do, their work will never pass the scrutiny of a serious code inspection. The bottom line, they will be out of work, and that will leave no one to do the job.

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    • #3
      How is the license procedure in Illinois? Is it tough? I just have a plumber( not licensed) came over to my house to look at my bathroom pipe leak.He don't have a plumber license, but he seemed he knows how to do it. Do you think I can trust on his skill instead of licensing?

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      • #4
        Whether or not you require a plumber would depend upon your local code restrictions, but in most jurisdictions, if someone is just making a repair, and not altering the original design or layout in any manner it would come under the heading of "Maintenance".

        Normally the homeowner or as in the case of an apartment community, the homeowners designated employee may perform maintenance without having a specific license, but again, they may repair or replace components on the system, but may not alter the origainal design or layout in any manner.

        For the homeowner, in most instances using the services of a non-licensed individual is really working in a rather gray area of the law. Technically speaking, the person you hire is working as a temporary employee and the homeowner is ultimately responsible for any and all problems that may arise as a result of the service.

        In turn, depending upon the local regulations, the individual performing the service may be guilty of "Contracting" without a license.

        In my opinon, if the task at hand is simple job, such as changing out the sink basket, tailpiece or P-traps, changing out a garbage disposal, etc, and does not require actualy cutting into or altering the original pipe layout, and if you, as the homeowner feel confident that this individual does have adequate experience in this area you should be okay.

        In my personal experience there are some very fine Maintenace Men, or Women, out there who can and do perform very well, but there are also many fly-by-night wanna bee's out there who are more than willing to attempt to learn the trades at your expense.

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