Background: PHCC has witnessed a trend over the past several years in state legislatures across the country to attempt to water-down or eliminate licensing requirements for plumbers, mechanical contractors and other skilled trades. In South Dakota the state legislature in 2019 voted to eliminate licensing requirements for individuals who want to perform plumbing work on their own properties. In Texas, the state legislature voted to eliminate the state’s Board of Plumbing Examiners, which would have relegated licensing and enforcement to localities: had the Texas governor not signed an executive order to delay the legislature’s decision, plumbing regulation would have become a patchwork nightmare in the state of Texas.
Why is licensing important? Plumbing and HVAC work is complex, maintains safe potable water, clean air, provides proper sanitation, and must be completed by a professional licensed contractor with demonstrated competencies. Building codes are in place to which professional contractors must adhere in order to safely and effectively install fixtures and other components of plumbing and HVAC systems, codes that these professionals spend years learning as part of their apprenticeship and ongoing training. Preventing water heater explosions, providing protection from thermal shock, eliminating cross contamination of the water supply, and preventing carbon monoxide poisoning or other respiratory illnesses are but a few examples of benefits that professional plumbers and mechanical contractors provide. Unlicensed “handymen” performing work that is not up to code pose a serious risk to public health and safety.
What is PHCC’s solution? PHCC understands licensing accomplishes two very important objectives that must not be overlooked by policymakers:
- Licensure verifies contractors have demonstrated the capabilities to install, repair and maintain complex residential and commercial plumbing and HVAC systems that, first and foremost, ensures public health and safety.
- Licensure means a contractor commands the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform a variety of work that assures proper system function and long-term performance of modern plumbing and HVAC systems.
PHCC supports the licensing of professional contractors. PHCC further supports the permit and inspection process as a method to ensure compliance with requisite codes and standards. In order to facilitate this, any state occupational licensing board or oversight commission must have the funding and resources necessary to carry out this mission. PHCC believes in the value of taking the time to master the comprehensive skillset required of a competent licensed professional workforce.