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Plumbing Contractors License

Have most likely never poured and scraped a babbit bearing-
I have. That doesn't mean that I am a more qualified mechanic than they are. And it wouldn't necessarily make them a more qualified mechanic if they had. Because it's an obsolete, (almost extinct) technology. In their line of work, the ONLY reason to know that skill would be in the interest of TRADITION and NOSTALGIA. Two things that I personally APPRECIATE to a large degree but don't impose upon others as a mark of legitimacy. Kevin
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Comments

  • LD Edelman
    LD Edelman Member Posts: 2
    Plumbing Contractors License

    I have been self employeed for 30+ years in the Heating-Cooling,Plumbing and Electrical Contracting business small town USA.I have recently decided to get a Plumbing Contractors Licenes. When I tried to apply to take the exam I was told I did not meet the requirements. I was then told since I had never worked under or for any licenesed plumbers the only way I could qualify was to take the four year apprenticeship program. This would be hard to do and continue to run my business. HELP Is there any alternate way to accomplish this that any one out there can tell me about?
  • Kevin O. Pulver
    Kevin O. Pulver Member Posts: 380
    L.D.

    I approached the officials, and told them my sad story, which was similiar to yours but with lots less experience.
    I showed them photos of the installs I had done, gave them a regular resume of the training seminars, short schools, and other educational opportunities I availed myself of, and a list of the things I had done in the interest of safety such as buying a combustion analyzer. They let me take the test, and later let me take the master test.
    They don't have to, but will possibly work with you if you humbly approach them. After all, it's in THEIR interest to have an eye on you and be sure you qualify since you're already out there "under the radar" doing the work anyway. You're just making yourself accountable to them which SHOULD incur trust on their part. Kevin
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    I agree with Kevin

    I have always felt you get more with Honey than Vinegar. Not to say you took the wrong approach LD, you probable did, but give it another try. Use Kevins approach. You may get some one on a better day.

    It would be in the interest of the Board to have you licensed. It would also benifit the trade at large.

    Hopefully, maybe there is someone here who can help. Where are you located.

    Scott

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  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
    If you are in Va.

    Send me an e-mail. Agree with the above comments as well.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,911
    I am on a Board of Plumbing Examiners

    And, we have to be selective...everyone wants THAT license. Every G.C. would LOVE to cut out the middle man - they do half our work anyway. That being said, if you can show W-2s AND can show them a command of the code and practical skills you MAY get some mercy. Whatever you do don't come off with the attitude like: "look, if you don't grant me the license I am going to do it anyway. Be VERY humble. Good Luck, Mad Dog

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  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 489
    compromising trade licensing

    I've been dispensing assorted medicines,and treating cuts, scrapes, and bruises for my family and friends for the past 40 years...... now I want to be a Doctor, what board do I appeal to?
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
    LD

    I agre with the others,plus get the "requirements" the liscening board wants and possibly along with a humble lawyer the two of you can show the board that you are qualified and can show it!What state?
  • Ted_9
    Ted_9 Member Posts: 1,718
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,911
    Now THAT would be a mistake

    Show up with a lawyer and you WILL get their backs up. Besides, I know only one humble lawyer and he makes no money. Give it a shot as I desribed and if you don't have any luck, chalk it up as a wrong career choice Mnay years ago. Mad Dog

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  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,911
    Excellent analogy

    and so true. I have been reading ALOT of history books for many years, where do I sign up for a Doctorate in History? Mad Dog

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  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    Hey

    Can I work for a drug store ???

    Hey I grew up in the seventies ...

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  • jackchips_2
    jackchips_2 Member Posts: 1,338
    Rumor has it

    Scott, that you never "stored" one drug except in your body.

    :-))))

    I agree with the honey over vinegar statement but we have rules and regulations for a reason. Will we be rewarding flaunting them by granting a test? Must be a middle ground somewhere.

    Jack
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    All kidding aside

    I have heard of guys applying to the board to accept lic. from another state. I think some case by case viewing is acceptable

    Scott

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  • jackchips_2
    jackchips_2 Member Posts: 1,338
    No questiong, Scott.

    Having also followed the boards proceedings for a long time there are more requests denied than granted and it's usually because they don't come near meeting the State's minimum standards.

    Everyone has the right to appeal and present their case. They then deserve a profesional response (yes or no) and they and those of us who went through the process deserve to hear why the decision was made.

    Serious enough? LOL

    Jack
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    I agree Jack

    I am a strong proponent of our codes and they are ome of the best in the country. Allthought I will say I have questioned some of the more recent changes.

    If an applicant has worked on another state for years and can show knowledge of our codes I think they should be allowed to take the test. Someone who is a Master Plumber and worked for ten years should be alllowed to take the test but not be Grandfathered In.

    Scott

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  • Supply House Rick
    Supply House Rick Member Posts: 1,404
    Hey Scott

    In the 70's I thought my name was "here try this" I think it's an Native American name for: What was I talking about? Uh, never mind...

    Rick
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,202
    Mad Dog....

    ... is right on the money.

    Every town is different of course, but he's saying EXACTLY as it is here in the Town of Hempstead which is a very tough license.

    It seems everyone who has ever sweat pipe thinks he is a plumber, and every carpenter with a pick-up wants to do his own work. The Plumbing Board has a tough job. They must protect the interests of the plumbers who invested thousands of dollars training for the craft as well as protect the public health.

    In this area, the test is VERY difficult. Forget about taking it without a course and weeks of practical practice. Lead wipes, flow calculations -- it's all in there.

    Other areas are not as difficult.

    But they all share one thing in common. You are at the mercy of the examining board. Few people successfully fight city hall with a lawyer unless they have LOTS of money.

    Become their friend, find out the precise requirements to the letter and meet them. Be a likable guy and they may accept those W-2's from your brother who is a plumber.

    Follow what Mad Dog says. I know. Lots of folks get breaks like you are seeking. But they only get them by being professional, knowlegable and nice.

    Long Beach Ed
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,911
    Amen - Ed

    I know a guy who tried it the other way...for years. He finally came to his senses and they let him sit for the test - and he passed. The wasted years hitting the brick wall........ Mad Dog

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  • Brian_19
    Brian_19 Member Posts: 115
    Testing

    I can't imagine any plumbing board denying someone the right to take the test. What I am reading has to be about as dumb as you can get. Who are you guys to tell me I have no right to take a test. If the test is as hard as you say it is then you have nothing to worry about. The inexperienced people will not pass, but at least they had the chance to try. I would be furious if someone on the board told me I can't take the test, especially if they are in business for themselves (conflict of interest). I also would never ss kiss the board like lot of you say.
    Very simple gentlemen pay a fee to take the test. Take the test and see what happens.
    Also why would anyone include wiping lead joints in test.
  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790
    Exams

    It takes quite a bit to sit for the Principles and Practice exam also.

    Why go through high school? Why not just go to college if you can pass the SAT?

    Why go to college? Why not just take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and skip all those annoying classes?

    Why get 4 years of experience under licensed engineers? If you can pass the PE, you know engineering. Right?

    The same thing goes for plumbing. There is quite a bit more to it than test taking.

    A test cannot test everything. Just because you can pass a test does not mean you are qualified to practice whatever subject the test covers. This is for everyone's safety.
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405


    In NH , an apprentance is registered in a program with the United States Department of Labor.

    They call for 8,000 hours in the field ( four years ), every hour documented ,and under the supervision of a licensed plumber on the job . He can't left on a job site working by himself....

    It calls for 144 hours of class room study every year for four years... and OSHA Constuction training before he can even take the test.....

    And after he is licensed , he has to go to class EVERY YEAR before he can renew his license....

    The main reason for licensing plumbers is to protect the health of the public.

    Would you feel comfortable with a doctor that didn't go through any of the licensing requirements , but could pass the test....

    Dave in NH
  • Ross_7
    Ross_7 Member Posts: 577
    licensing

    How does it work on the East Coast and various other states? Do you folks have to a have a state license( as a Journeyman Plumber, as we do in Michigan), do you also have to have for instance a city/and or county license? For instance, does the city of New York, act as a sperate entity, if you are doing business in the jurisdiction of the city limits. Please forgive my ignorance. Just asking questions. Thanks in advance!
    Ross
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    inspections

    In NH or VT , Licensing is by the state , but local juridiction may have amendments or codes that are more stringent that the State code...........

    The house I am doing now, cost be over a Million Dollars ( the house not the plumbing ) and will be inspected and tested every step of the way by the City and maybe the state.....

    The next house , in a near by town will be around Three Million , and there will be no inspections.......
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    n.y.c.

    in n.y.c. ,if you cannot document the time , you won't be getting a lic. even if you slide under the radar and take & pass the tests, they will nail you on the final interview. best you can do is get a loser with a lic. for a silent partner. they are out there.a lot of guys can pass a test but cannot succeed in the business world.
  • Ross_7
    Ross_7 Member Posts: 577
    Slightly Different

    Here in MI, We are licensed through the state, but depending on the county, we either have state inspectors, or we have county inspectors, also depending on the facility. Like the Michigan Nat'l Guard, M-DOT, and NMU fall under state inspections even though they are in Marquette County. Detroit may be different, not sure.
  • Kevin O. Pulver
    Kevin O. Pulver Member Posts: 380
    You have a good point Mike

    But look at the other side of the coin. In rural areas, things aren't always so regimented, documented, or "parliamented" but that doesn't mean it's not done right. Things are often done wrong in the city by licensed contractors. I believe the term is "code-violations".
    A license doesn't guarantee ethics, responsibility, or honesty. I just makes you accountable (somewhat)and proves you had enough knowledge to do it right.
    The two guys I worked with had more years of experience than you and I probably have years of life. One learned the trade 65 some odd years ago from his grandfather as a child, learned more in the Army in WWII,
    and learned after that at a Chicago trade school before working for utility and then for a licensed contractor. He let his license lapse because he didn't need it to work in our rural area.
    He's a plumber, electrician, machinist, farmer, and steam fitter. He hand builds scale model steam traction engines, and pays to have them inspected even though they're exempt.
    And any and all work I've done with him counts as nothing according to the book. "The letter of the law killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." The code officials have a tough, important, and thankless job to do, and they don't owe me nor L.D anything. But a little common sense, discretion, and proper use of the spirit of the law sure is applicable sometimes. Nearby code requires 100 P.S.I hydrostatic testing of radiant tubing. I told the inspector I wouldn't do it, because I had not control over when the building was closed in and ready for the boiler. That tubing might be frozen solid by then. If it will hold 60 P.S.I. air, it will hold 12 P.S.I. water. The inspector agreed with me. Because he could actually think and wasn't a legalist. Respectfully, Kevin
  • mikea23
    mikea23 Member Posts: 224


    Ny License requrments stink every town city and county have there own.
    I have taken 2 tests past them bolth and still dont have a license in all towns by me.
    Mad Dog is correct some people find them very hard. The lead wipe is in my opinion moronic. How can you ask somone to perform a task that hasnt bin used in the field in 20 years.
    How can I have a license in the county but a town in that county will not honar it. I think thats not only wrong but definetly against the law any town that is in the juristiction of a county must obide by there laws and regs they can require a aditional license fee but they cant require aditional testing.The medical and legal field faught for this about 40 years ago and won.That is when most states requred a state wide exam but for some reason no plumber or electrician has had the moxy to fight it in NY. I think the reason nobody fights it is that most companys stay in small areas and when they have a job accros town they simply call a friend and have him take the permits out.I have done it a few times bolth for my company and helping other companys in the towns I have a license in. some guys will hate me for doing that but in my opinion if he is qualified has INSURANCE and is a reputible company with a valid License in a neighboring town why not.
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    n.y.c. plbr. lic.

    the lead wiping was actually a very good requirement. it kept out the riff-raff. any one i know , myself included ,who has mastered wiping is very proud of that accomplishment. it is a good feeling to know you are capable of doing something most people can't do. . it also kept out the million or so architects & engineers who would love to have a plumbers license but never could mainly due to the practical test. most any competent plumber should be capable of earning a licence. it takes desire, if you don't have one , it sounds like sour grapes.
  • Maine Doug_52
    Maine Doug_52 Member Posts: 71
    i find it

    ironic that there is so much required for licensing plumbers to protect the health of the public but:

    we then permit billions of tons of unregulated waste and contaminants to be pumped into the atmosphere and waters. so in much of the licensed installs of regulated potable water supplies, the flush dumps the poop back into the ground or river with minimal or no treatment. the water fountain in a chemical plant will probably deliver drinkable water but the plant output will go to love canal. a bit strange this system.
    sorry for the lack of capital letters, i have only one arm/hand functioning.
  • Kevin O. Pulver
    Kevin O. Pulver Member Posts: 380
    I would say TRADITION

    is almost the only reason to include lead wiping. It's the same reason barbers have shaving with straight razors included in their state boards. That's not necessarily bad, but not necessarily practical either. Truck drivers don't have to prove proficiency with a team of mules anymore do they? Kevin
  • Kevin O. Pulver
    Kevin O. Pulver Member Posts: 380


    Andrew says, "A test cannot test everything. Just because you can pass a test does not mean you are qualified to practice whatever subject the test covers." Exactly Andrew.
    Therefore, the licensing machine is not infallible. Room has to be made for guys like L.D. at the discretion of the board. And there are a few high school students for whom high school is largely wasted. They would do better in college. Some who think outside the box have college level courses for them instead of rigidly adhering to the normal curriculum. Kevin





  • Brian_19
    Brian_19 Member Posts: 115
    Lead wipe

    Wiping a lead joint to pass a test is about the most stupid thing I have ever heard of.
    Wiping a lead joint is indeed an art. My grandfather was very good at it in his day.
    I on the other hand never have wiped a joint. I never had the desired to wipe a lead joint. I never had a reason to wipe a joint because it simply does not exist anymore and it never will.
    Maybe you should have people cut a hole in a 12" concrete wall with a hammer and chisle.
  • Kevin O. Pulver
    Kevin O. Pulver Member Posts: 380
    That's hilarious Brian

    "Cut a hole in a 12" concrete wall with a hammer and chisel." Now THERE is some good tradition for ya!
    Oh but wiping the lead joint makes people "feel good because most people can't do it." So if I could wipe a lead joint while balancing a chair on my head, I guess I could feel more talented than them... hmmm... I can see it now, "Barnum and Bailey's high-wire plumbing school."
    Kevin
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    sour grape guys

    yep, sour grapes. oh well. some guys just don't get it. never will. end of conversation.
  • Kevin O. Pulver
    Kevin O. Pulver Member Posts: 380
    No sour grapes here Bob

    If you read the thread carefully, I got mine.
    Sour grapes is the guy who had to wipe lead to get his and wishes everyone else did too. I'll bet you hate Pex tubing since it saves time also. If so, I can empathize somewhat, but as Dan writes so eloquently, the world changes. Not always for the better I agree, but the sour guy is the one who isn't changing with it.
    Kevin
  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790
    yes

    I agree completely, Kevin. If someone has documentation to prove their experience, and the board finds it acceptable, that person should have the opportunity to take the test.

    What I do not agree with is that passing the test means someone is qualified to practice. In my opinion, licensing tests are mostly a formality. It's the experience gained while preparing for the licensing test that is the true test.
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,202
    Lead wiping

    New York City has eliminated the lead wipr from their practical test because of pollution concerns. They still have some very difficult projects on their exam that require several months of preparation and several thousand dollars in materials.

    The adjoining Town of Hempstead still requires that you make a lead wipe, and I don't think they permit you to roll the pipe around. You have to splash the lead.

    Now in these parts, we are still required to make lead pans for showers, so the lead stuff has a practical use. We also do repairs to old cast iron which requires at least some lead experience. I can't think of any other way of flashing a vent pipe on a spanish tile roof other than fabricating it from lead, something we do quite often.

    Is it silly? Maybe. But remember, this is a Master Plumber's license. Nothing wrong with requiring a demonstration of excellence before handing you a license that will earn you millions of dollars in your lifetime. Or before trusting you to design the the mechanical system in a New York City High School.

    Long Beach Ed
  • Kevin O. Pulver
    Kevin O. Pulver Member Posts: 380
    Obsolete technology

    I'm one of those guys who actually LIKES to learn all the old ways Ed. I have made rope, butter,shoes, tanned hides and furs, (no soap yet) forge welded, shod a horse with handmade shoes, poured babbit bearings, I restore antique engines from the 'teens and show them at steam/threshing shows in the summer. Have you ever started a fire with friction using a bow and spindle? It takes a lot of practice, and a lot of technique, but has little practical value except for very rare occasions. I think it's neat that people can still wipe a lead joint, but they may not be a better plumber than the guy who will never have the chance nor the need to do it. Kevin
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    lic. plbr.

    glad to hear that you actually hold a plumbers license ,Kevin. and what city issues your license?
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,202
    Understood, Ken...

    ... I think the intention here is for the plumber to learn a part of the craft that he does need to know (working with lead) as well as teach some appreciation for The Trade. Of course there is the intent of keeping the carpenters out of the plumbing tests. In grading your lead work, the examiner can also tell if you are a slob. Just look at some of the copper photographed on this site!

    I'm sure if it was a required skill for your license, you would have buckled up, spent the grand on the crap and learned to wipe lead joints. It's their game, their rules. I'd stand on my head at the test if they wanted me to do that.

    As I mentioned, we are still required to make shower pans out of lead as the plastic tends to mildew and cause rot and bacterial growth and are illegal here. We also find lead in old wooden tanks. Lead drain pipes as well as supply pipes are, yes, still legal here and it is possible that we can be employed to repair one I suppose.

    The corporation gooseneck supply pipe coming into my house is 1-1/4" lead pipe. Wow. Now I can repair it, branch off it and replace the leaky 95-year-old valve on it.

    Afterall, we are "Master" plumbers. If the Master couldn't do it, who would?

    LB Ed
This discussion has been closed.