Introduced by Representatives Keenan of St. Albans City, Head of S. Burlington, Howard of Rutland City, Howrigan of Fairfield, Reese of Pomfret, Shand of Weathersfield and Trombley of Grand Isle
Subject: Public safety; licensing; plumbers; unlicensed plumbers; plumbers examining board; fees; penalties
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to revise generally the plumbers’ licensing statute, including clarifying the parameters of various licenses and specialties, increasing the number of members of the plumbers examining board, and increasing the number of plumbing inspectors.
AN ACT RELATING TO LICENSING OF PLUMBERS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 26 V.S.A. § 2172 is amended to read:
§ 2172. DEFINITIONS
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall be construed as follows:
“public water system” or “public sewerage disposal system” shall mean any
system supplying or serving 15 or more customers, each family, tenement, store
or other establishment being considered a single customer. “Department”
means the department of public safety.
(2) A “master
shall mean means any person , licensed under this
chapter , that as a business , installs plumbing and specialty
systems , hires or employs. A master plumber may employ a person
or persons to do plumbing or specialty work , or supervises journey.
A master plumber shall supervise journeyman plumbers, or apprentice
plumbers, or specialists in completion of their work. A master
plumber shall display his or her Vermont
plumbing license number in any advertising.
(3) A “journeyman
shall mean means any person licensed under this chapter
who installs plumbing and water treatment or heating specialties under
the direction of a master plumber. A journeyman plumber may supervise an
apprentice or a specialist employed by a master plumber and under the
master plumber’s direction. A journeyman plumber shall not act as a master
shall mean means any person, employed by a
master plumber or and under the direction of a master plumber or
a journeyman plumber, who is engaged in learning and assisting in the
installation of plumbing and water treatment or heating specialties
under an apprenticeship program properly registered with the Vermont
apprenticeship council. An apprentice plumber shall be supervised on the job
by either a master or a journeyman plumber.
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(7) “State plumbing inspector” means a master plumber or duly qualified employee of the department designated by the commissioner to enforce the rules and regulations pursuant to this chapter.
inspector” means a plumbing inspector authorized to conduct municipal
inspections pursuant to section 2174 of this
means any person pursuant to section 2192 of this title licensed
this chapter who performs to perform work only in connection
with water treatment and heating specialties, or both , or performs.
A specialist may perform that work as a principal business or an auxiliary
to a principal business for the person’s own account as designated on the
person’s license. A specialist shall display his or her Vermont specialist
license number in any advertising.
(10) “Commissioner” means the commissioner of public safety who, in addition to other authority and powers, has the powers of the state plumbing inspector and may perform inspections when necessary.
body” means the selectboard, the alderboard, city council or board of trustees
of a municipality or an incorporated village
“Municipality” means a city, town, incorporated village, gore, fire district, or other municipal entity.
(12) “Work notice” means the notice required to be filed under this chapter by a licensee or owner pursuant to subdivision 2198(1)(A) prior to commencement of work.
Sec. 2. 26 V.S.A. § 2173 is amended to read:
§ 2173. RULES ADOPTED BY THE BOARD
(a) The plumber’s examining board may, pursuant to the provisions of
3 V.S.A. chapter 25
(Administrative Procedure Act), make and revise such plumbing rules as
necessary for protection of the public health and safety. The rules
be in effect in every city, village, and town having a public water
system or public sewerage system and apply to all premises connected to
the systems and all public buildings containing plumbing or water treatment and
heating specialties whether they are connected to a public water or sewerage
system in Vermont, the useful occupancy of which requires a water supply
or a wastewater system, or both. The local municipal board
of health and the commissioner of public safety shall each have
authority to enforce these rules. The rules shall be limited to minimum
performance standards reasonably necessary for the protection of the public
against accepted health and safety hazards with regard to both
plumbing and specialty work. The board may, if it finds it practicable to
do so, adopt the provisions of a nationally recognized plumbing code,
heating, and mechanical codes.
commissioner, with the approval of the board, shall make rules and adopt
procedures and priorities for inspections and enforcement.
All installations shall be regulated by this chapter and the rules of
the board shall be and inspected by a state plumbing inspector. The
commissioner may set priorities Priorities shall be based on
consideration of health and safety risks to persons and property, type
and size of the building, and the complexity and size of the installation
commissioner or any state plumbing inspector designated by the commissioner
shall have the authority to enter any premises in which an installation
to the rules of the board is being or has been installed, replaced or repaired
for the purpose of performing inspections necessary to carry out inspection
responsibilities under this subchapter. If the owner or occupant of the
premises refuses entry, the commissioner may apply to any superior court to
issue an order enforcing the right of entry.
(d) The department shall maintain a minimum of at least one state plumbing inspector at each of the department’s regional offices or a minimum of four state plumbing inspectors if the number of regional offices is decreased to fewer than four. A chief plumbing inspector may be designated by the commissioner.
Sec. 3. 26 V.S.A. § 2174 is amended to read:
§ 2174. MUNICIPAL RULES AND REGULATIONS; MUNICIPAL
legislative body A municipality may establish inspection procedures
and appoint trained, qualified master plumbers to conduct municipal
inspections. If the board determines that the inspection procedures, training,
and qualifications of the municipal plumbing inspectors are sufficient, the
commissioner may assign the responsibility to inspect plumbing and specialty
installations within the municipality to the municipality. Municipal
inspection standards shall be, at a minimum, equal to state standards.
Municipal standards may exceed state standards with approval of the board. An
assignment of responsibility under this subsection shall not affect the
authority of the board or the commissioner under this subchapter.
procedures, including the issuance of work notices, shall be the same as for
state plumbing inspections. A municipal inspector
shall have the authority
to may enter a premises to carry out inspection responsibilities in
accordance with the rules and procedures established by the board. The legislative
body municipality may also establish reasonable fees for inspections
which shall be in lieu of fees charged by the state.
after inspection of the plumbing installation, a violation of the rules of
the board or the inspection procedures of the municipality is found, a
municipal inspector may:
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(2) Invalidate the municipal work permit.
disciplinary procedures under section
2178 of this chapter 2175(b) of
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commissioner or the board may revoke an assignment of responsibility to a
municipality granted under this section if the commissioner or the board
determines that the training or qualifications of the municipal inspectors or
the inspection procedure adopted by the
legislative body municipality
Sec. 4. 26 V.S.A. § 2175 is amended to read:
§ 2175. WORK NOTICE; FEES; ENFORCEMENT; APPEALS;
in installations subject to the rules of the board shall not commence until a
work notice has been received and validated by the department
safety. The following schedule of work notice fees shall be paid to the
commissioner or a designated representative prior to the validation of a work
all plumbing and specialty work
, identified as a priority for
inspection and review under section 2173(b) of this title governed by a
departmental work notice, the fee shall be:
(A) $7.00 for each plumbing fixture described as a washing machine, dishwasher, grease trap, oil interceptor, sand interceptor, sewage ejector pump, water closet, urinal, bidet, disposal, drinking fountain, water cooler, lavatory, bathtub, shower, sink, hose bib, floor, drain or similar device that uses potable water or drains into a drainage or venting system. The total shall not be less than $20.00.
for each plumbing or specialty fixture described as a water heater,
hydronic heating unit, domestic hot water coil
or, water meter,
purifier, softener, or other water treatment device or domestic fire
sprinkler system. (2) For
all plumbing work, not identified as a priority for inspection and review under
section 2173(b) of this title, the fee shall be: (A) $20.00
for all plumbing work. (B) $10.00
for all plumbing work involving a water heater, hydronic heating unit, domestic
hot water coil or water treatment device. (3)(2) At
the discretion of the commissioner, whenever an owner or, licensed
plumber, or licensed specialist requests for the owner’s or licensed
plumber’s benefit that an inspection be made outside the normal working
hours, all fees payable by the owner under this section shall be paid in
an amount twice that indicated under this section.
commissioner or designee state plumbing inspector finds a
violation of the rules adopted under this chapter by an individual who is
licensed or exempt under this chapter, the commissioner or designee state
plumbing inspector may:
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commissioner may after notice and an opportunity for hearing, assess an
administrative penalty of not more than
$1,000.00 $3,000.00 per
violation against a person, licensed or unlicensed, licensee or
exemptee who violates this chapter , or any order lawfully issued
under this chapter. Penalties assessed shall be related to the severity of the
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(f) If a state plumbing inspector finds a violation of this chapter by an unlicensed or nonexempt individual, the state plumbing inspector may:
(1) Order the violator to cease all plumbing and specialty work at the premises.
(2) Order any public water and sewerage company or any private water provider, as appropriate, not to connect or to disconnect water or sewer service, or both, to all or a portion of the premises until the violation is corrected.
(3) Order any company that supplies fuel to the premises to disconnect the fuel supply until the violation has been corrected.
(4) Issue the violator an administrative citation.
(5) Pursue any combination of the remedies provided under this subsection.
(g) Violation of any rule adopted under this subchapter shall be prima facie evidence of negligence in any civil action for damages which results from the violation.
Sec. 5. 26 V.S.A. § 2181(a) and (c)(3) and (4) are amended to read:
§ 2181. PLUMBER’S EXAMINING BOARD; MEMBERSHIP; POWERS
plumber’s examining board, within the department
of public safety, hereinafter
called “board,” shall consist of five seven members, one of
whom shall be the commissioner of public safety or designee and one of
whom shall represent be the commissioner of health or designee. The
remaining three five members shall be appointed by the governor
with the advice and consent of the senate. One of the appointive Three
of the appointed members shall be a master plumber master
plumbers, one shall be a journey journeyman plumber, and one
shall be a public member not associated with the plumbing or heating trades. The
board shall elect a chair at the first meeting of each calendar year. No board
member shall be chair for more than two consecutive years, but may be chair
after one year of not being chair. A new chair shall be elected if a chair is
unable to serve the remainder of the one-year term.
by a licensee of the rules of the department of health, the department
public safety, or the board.
(4) Failure to comply with a written notice issued under sections 2173, 2174 or 2175 of this title.
Sec. 6. 26 V.S.A. § 2182(a) is amended to read:
of the board shall be appointed for four year terms.
Two of the appointed
members shall initially be appointed for terms of two years beginning July 1 of
the year of appointment.
Sec. 7. 26 V.S.A. § 2183 is amended to read:
§ 2183. FEES; BOOKS AND RECORDS
fees for examinations, licenses, and renewals shall be forwarded to the
of public safety. The board shall have free and unrestricted
access to all books, notes, records, transcriptions, recordings, and other
related data within the care of the department of public safety.
Sec. 8. 26 V.S.A. § 2195 is
amended to read:
§ 2195. EXPIRATION AND RENEWAL;
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a licensee fails to renew his or her license prior to expiration, the licensee
may reinstate the license within 90 days of its expiration by paying the
reinstatement fee of
$15.00 $25.00 in addition to the renewal
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1, 1996 , applicants Applicants for
license renewal shall provide to the board evidence of completion of eight
hours of continued training or instruction, approved by the board, within the
previous 24-month period.
Sec. 9. 26 V.S.A. § 2192a(b), (c), (d), and (e) are amended to read:
(b) Specialty fields include the following:
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(2) Heating System Specialist: Installation, replacement, and repair of residential, industrial, or commercial hydronic space heating systems, including radiant, solar, and other types of hydronic system design. Any work on steam systems shall be limited to steam systems with operating pressure not to exceed 15 PSIG. Heating system specialists shall be allowed to perform the duties of a water heater specialist.
(3) Water Treatment Specialist: Installation, replacement, and repair of residential, industrial, or commercial potable water treatment, boiler water treatment, and filtration equipment.
(c) A person duly licensed as a specialist under this section may perform specialty work, either as an employee or as an independent contractor only in connection with the specialty field designated in this section and on the person’s license. A specialty business may hire or employ only people licensed in the specialty of the business.
(d) A specialist may perform a supply connection to an existing water supply for test and related system operation, but at no time shall any specialist perform any plumbing or heating work that is not specified or permitted under the specialist’s license, or advertise as doing that work.
classes shall be provided by the department
of labor and industry or
Sec. 10. 26 V.S.A. § 2197 is
amended to read:
§ 2197. PENALTY
person who installs, any plumbing or specialty installation or who advertises
as such, except as provided in section 2198 of this title, without first having
obtained an appropriate license under this chapter or who employs a person to
perform any plumbing work for which the employee is not licensed or procures
any license wrongfully or by fraud, shall be fined not more than
$3,000.00 for each offense.
Sec. 11. 26 V.S.A. § 2198 is
amended to read:
EXCEPTIONS EXEMPTIONS; LICENSE NOT REQUIRED (a) All
plumbing and specialty work performed in Vermont shall
be performed by persons licensed under this chapter except that a license shall
not be required for the following types of work:
(1) Any plumbing and specialty work performed by an owner or the owner’s regular employees in the owner-occupied freestanding single family dwelling or in outbuildings accessory to the owner-occupied, single family dwelling. In the interests of health and safety, owners shall:
(A) Obtain a work notice and pay fees pursuant to subsection 2175(a) of this title.
(B) Not violate the rules adopted under this chapter.
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person who performs miscellaneous jobs of manual labor on the person’s own
property in the course of which plumbing repairs
or alterations are made,
provided that the work conforms to the rules adopted under this chapter.
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Sec. 12. 26 V.S.A. § 2199 is amended to read:
§ 2199. INSPECTIONS
commissioner of public safety or designee may inspect premises subject to the
rules adopted under section 2173 of this title All
premises in Vermont that contain plumbing and specialty work are subject to
inspection by the commissioner or designee.
The Vermont General Assembly
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