Plumbing license required statewide

Among changes to Minnesota’s plumbing laws made by the 2007 Legislature was the requirement, effective Dec. 1, 2007, that throughout the state all persons (with few exceptions) working at the business of interior plumbing must be licensed plumbers or registered apprentices. Persons having certification as pipelayers may perform some plumbing installation outside of buildings, if properly bonded. Must unlicensed rural and small town plumbers get licensed? Yes. Beginning Dec. 1, 2007, all plumbers statewide must be licensed or registered as an apprentice. A special class of licenses was created, including the restricted journeyman plumber license and the restricted master plumber license – which limit the holders to working in cities with a population of 5,000 or less. Prior to this, no license was required to work in those areas. What is a restricted plumber’s license? Individuals are licensed as restricted journeyman and restricted master plumbers similar to existing journeyman and master plumbers. The restricted licenses allow the holder to “engage in the plumbing trade in all areas of the state except in cities and towns with a population of more than 5,000 according to the federal census. Who qualifies for a restricted license? A Restricted Master Plumbing License will be granted to an applicant who can document at least four years of practical plumbing experience and, if this experience includes any years when the applicant contracted for plumbing work, who complied with the requirement to have a $25,000 Plumbing Code Compliance Bond on file with the department during those years. A Restricted Journeyman Plumbing License will be granted to an applicant who can document at least two years of practical plumbing experience and, if this experience includes any years when the applicant contracted for plumbing work, who complied with the requirement to have a $25,000 Plumbing Code Compliance Bond on file with the department during those years. How can I get a restricted license? If you qualify for a restricted license, you must apply for either the Restricted Journeyman Plumber or Restricted Master Plumber license by submitting the following items to the department by Dec. 31, 2007: 1. A completed application form, using the form provided by the department; 2. A fee of $30; 3. If you have any employees, proof of workers’ compensation insurance or that you are exempt from the workers’ compensation insurance requirement; and 4. If you are not a plumbing contractor, a statement that you will not be contracting to perform plumbing work. If you are a plumbing contractor, evidence of public liability insurance, including products liability insurance with limits of at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per occurrence and property damage insurance with limits of at least $10,000. This insurance must go into effect no later than Dec. 1, 2007. If the department does not receive the completed application, including all of the above items, by Dec. 31, 2007, the department must deny your application.

Can I wait until Dec. 1, 2007, to submit my application for a restricted license? Not if you want to work at the business of interior plumbing during the month of December. If you are neither licensed nor registered by Dec. 1, 2007, then you cannot work at the business of interior plumbing. If you work without being licensed or registered, then you will be subject to enforcement proceedings, such as a penalty up to $10,000 per violation for working without a required license or registration. The department therefore recommends that you apply for a restricted license well in advance of Dec. 1, 2007, to allow sufficient time for your application to be processed. -more-

Does a restricted plumber’s license expire? Yes. Beginning in 2008, restricted plumber licenses expire on Dec. 31 every year like Journeyman and Master Plumber licenses. The restricted licenses may also be renewed every year at $120 for the Restricted Master Plumber’s license and $55 for the Restricted Journeyman Plumber’s license. Failure to renew a license within 12 months after the expiration date will result in permanent forfeiture of the restricted license. Is a Plumbing Code Compliance Bond still required? Yes. All plumbers including licensed restricted plumbers must comply with the bond and liability insurance requirements in Minnesota Statutes, Section 326.40. Liability insurance coverage is mandatory starting Dec. 1, 2007. How does a restricted plumber get an unrestricted plumber’s license? A licensed restricted plumber may qualify to take the Master Plumber (unrestricted) license exam once the applicant has a total of 5 years experience as a plumbing contractor with a $25,000 Plumbing Code Compliance Bond on file with the department. In order to take the Journeyman Plumber (unrestricted) license exam, a licensed restricted plumber must meet the same requirements as anyone else The licensed restricted plumber would still need to be a registered plumber’s apprentice for at least two years and meet the requirements concerning four years of practical plumbing experience. If I currently am a registered plumber’s apprentice and I want to obtain a restricted license, is there any reason for me to maintain my apprentice registration? Only if you want to have the option of taking the journeyman plumber license exam. As described above, everyone (including licensed restricted plumbers) must have four years practical plumbing experience as a registered apprentice before taking the journeyman plumber license exam (see Minnesota Rule 4715.3140). Is there a license available for anyone who has had less than two years of practical plumbing experience? No, although pipelaying outside a building can be done without a license, as described below. What options are available for those individuals who don’t qualify for a restricted plumber’s license? Individuals possessing a “pipelayer’s card” that demonstrates they have had training, and have filed and maintain a $25,000 Plumbing Code Compliance Bond with the department can install water service, sanitary sewer and storm sewer systems outside a building. This does not allow installation of plumbing inside a building, however. Individuals can become registered apprentices and work for a plumbing firm. An individual can hire a licensed plumber to be responsible for the work of the individual’s business and to supervise the work of registered apprentices. The business must also hold and register a $25,000 Plumbing Code Compliance Bond. Can a homeowner still perform plumbing in a home they occupy? Yes. Can a business owner perform plumbing on the premises of a business they own without being a licensed plumber? No. Just as is currently required in cities of 5,000 population or more, all plumbing statewide must be performed by a licensed plumber or licensed restricted plumber after Dec. 1, 2007, except that someone who owns and occupies a single family home may perform plumbing in that home.

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What about handymen, hardware store owners and business owners who only performed plumbing occasionally, but never had a Plumbing Code Compliance Bond? Can they obtain a restricted license? No, they will not be eligible since they were by law required to have the Plumbing Code Compliance Bond. Because any plumbing experience they obtained was in violation of this law, that experience cannot count toward the minimum practical plumbing experience requirement for a restricted license. Minnesota Statutes, section 326.40, requires a person contracting for plumbing work to have a Plumbing Code Compliance Bond. Since 1999, any person contracting to perform plumbing work must give bond to the state in the amount of $25,000 for all work entered into within the state. The bond is for the benefit of persons injured or suffering financial loss by reason of failure to comply with the requirements of the Plumbing Code. If an individual or business had a $25,000 Plumbing Code Compliance Bond for at least two years, but never registered it with the state, can they obtain a restricted license? No. Where can I find more information about these restricted licenses? Please call the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry at (651) 284-5067 for more information.