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A Scary Attempt at Deregulation

SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,123Member
I just saw this- there has been an attempt in the state of Texas to abolish the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners as of September 1 of this year. This would mean that licenses would no longer be required for plumbing or gasfitting work, proving once again that you can't fix stupid:

https://www.contractormag.com/plumbing/plumbers-rally-texas-state-capitol-building

Their Governor has issued an executive order putting a temporary stop to this, but you can bet we haven't heard the end of it- Texas has long resisted any type of business regulation, unless it suits someone's political agenda.
All Steamed Up, Inc.
"Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
Oil & Gas Burner Service
Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc

Comments

  • ratioratio Posts: 2,052Member
    Only the lawyers would win.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,657Member
    In principle I agree with you entirely, @Steamhead . Some trades and professions -- certainly anything which deals with life safety -- do need good regulation, and high standards -- and a reasonable path (in my view including both book learning and apprenticeship) to becoming registered.

    But...

    In some States, such as my fair State of Connecticut (and California, if that's still a State...) almost anything from peanut vendors to manicurists -- to Professional Engineers -- needs a license, and the licensing process all too rarely requires adequate qualification and vetting but does require a large investment of money -- and often there is no good way for someone -- particularly in the trades -- to meet the requirements unless they happen to know someone who is already in the trade to sponsor them. The result is a cash windfall for the State -- and real restrictions on the availability of tradespersons.

    The Texas thing is a fairly predictable backlash to over regulation in other areas, and has little to do with plumbers and heating professionals.

    It's an interesting problem.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,351Member
    What Jamie says. Who regulates the regulators?
  • pecmsgpecmsg Posts: 836Member
    All these regulations have become is a Tax. Once the license is issued rarely is it followed up on.

    Regulations without enforcement is worthless.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,918Member
    Yeah, I read about that Texas thing, that looks pretty bad. I agree with most of what @Jamie Hall said. CT is unreal. Licenses for TV antennas, lawn sprinklers the list goes on page after page, big time money grab. I live in MA and will probably be letting my CT licenses expire this year.

    MA is having it's own issues. The governor wants cut the waste and adopt national codes for most of the trades and have done so in some cases (MA use to write most of their own codes).

    There is two side to this issue.

    Plumbing is certainly life safety, gas fitting, electrical, oil burners. They can all kill you in their own way
  • GroundUpGroundUp Posts: 563Member
    Wait until you hear about Minnesota, where nothing needs licenses or even permits except electrical. Certain cities will require them but as far as the state is concerned, licenses are unnecessary for the most part. Residential is almost all willy-nilly unless within city limits and even then, the homeowner can pull his own permit and it doesn't matter who did the work.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,657Member
    As I said, @GroundUp , it's an interesting problem. I have no particular problem with a homeowner doing their own work -- provided it gets inspected. But that brings the inspector into the picture, and as we all (I think!) can attest, the inspectors are a pretty variable lot. Some of them really do know what they are doing and, perhaps more important, why things are required to be the way they are, and can be really helpful. Others? Not so much. And then there are all too many who wield their power not for health and safety, but for their own ego boost (or worse, but rarely, to get work for an associate, who provides a bit of handy under the table income -- I've seen it happen).

    Getting the balance right between adequate regulation and licensing and a free for all is really hard. Too lax a regulatory framework and you can get real hazards to safety; too strict, and you get a nasty combination of under-the-radar work -- and needed work not getting done at all, together with a generalized and diffuse rebellion against anything the "guvmint" does.

    This isn't limited to just the trades -- how many people do you know who actually obey the speed limit? Same song, just a different verse.

    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Posts: 558Member
    That is strange. I would think insurance companies would have a lot to say about requiring licensing. They don't like paying claims.
  • GroundUpGroundUp Posts: 563Member
    @Jamie Hall Agreed! I'm in a very rural area here and nothing- I mean nothing is inspected except electrical. You don't need a license to perform electrical work. Some of the jobs I get on that were previously done by a local, licensed, "plumbing and heating guy" are so shoddy that it's amazing the house hasn't gone up in flames years ago. Then again there are others, unlicensed, that do a darn fine job. There isn't even a license to get, come to think of it, when talking hydronics. Any meat head can perform hydronic work with no penalty. When I started doing residential a few years ago, I went everywhere trying to get licensed and there is no such thing. A $25k mechanical contractor's bond with the state is as far as we need to go- a $100 fee. No testing, nothing. On the subject of inspectors though, yeah. Hydronics could just as well be space travel. I did all the heating in a new bank a couple years ago; a 5000 sq ft bank. Called for mechanical inspection, it does not exist. State, city, county, nobody cares. A MFing bank full of the community's money and valuables. No inspection required. This same bank also has zero sprinkler heads, no means of fire suppression whatsoever. I installed some radiant walls in a basement in downtown St Paul last year for a gentleman; called for inspection and the guy was awestruck, never heard of such a thing. Weird place we live...
  • Tim PotterTim Potter Posts: 247Member
    In the Automotive field, we have ASE certifications, They are nationwide, reasonably priced, and cover a broad area of mechanical knowledge. Just because you pass the test doesn't make you a master tech, but it least establishes a basic understanding of the subject.

    Tim
    Winter Park, CO & Lenexa, KS
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Posts: 558Member
    If I am going to pay a plumber to work in my house or for my employer, they must have insurance. Can unlicensed plumbers be insured?

  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,918Member
    @GroundUp

    If I was younger I would move to your location LOL!
  • CLambCLamb Posts: 59Member

    In the Automotive field, we have ASE certifications, They are nationwide, reasonably priced, and cover a broad area of mechanical knowledge. Just because you pass the test doesn't make you a master tech, but it least establishes a basic understanding of the subject.

    Tim

    Certification by the practitioners would be the libertarian solution. Would this work for plumbing? Is there an existing organization which could do this?
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Posts: 2,629Member
    That is strange. I would think insurance companies would have a lot to say about requiring licensing. They don't like paying claims.


    When I used to hang out with steam locomotive enthusiasts, they had to have their locomotive boilers inspected once a year by the steam boiler insurance company*. They disassembled enough that a visual inspection could be done. They then pressure tested the things. Every year. In our state, you could not do any welding to high pressure steam boilers except in a shop specifically licensed for such work. Try sending your locomotive to the shop!

    In our state: no insurance, no operate.
    _____
    * https://www.munichre.com/HSB/about-hsb/index.html
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