How Can You Tell If Your Plumber Is Licensed?
Things you need to know about choosing a plumber or plumbing company:
Is my (your) plumber actually licensed?
How to tell if my (your) plumber is actually licensed to do business in the state of Alabama?
Well, no problem, this is actually really easy to figure out!
In Alabama, to legally be licensed to do any type of plumbing or gas fitting (gas / propane system) work, a person must be approved and licensed by the State of Alabama – Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board.
You should know there are a few types of plumbing licenses in Alabama:
- Plumber’s License (Required for Working on Plumbing Systems)
- Gas Fitter’s License (Required for Working on Gas / Propane Systems)
- Medical Gas License (Required for Working on Medical Gas Systems)
These licenses are broken down into different classification ratings designating the knowledge and experience level of the individual(s) — this also tells what the individual is allowed to do under law. (The actual law is attached to the bottom of this page).
The different classification levels are: (In Summary)
- APPRENTICE: Apprentices are basically plumber’s helpers. When someone starts a career in plumbing they start as an Apprentice Plumber. Apprentices must be directly supervised by a Journeyman Plumber or a Master Plumber at all times. They can not work alone! They must be employed by an actual plumbing company. They remain an Apprentice Plumber for a certain number of years before becoming eligible to advance to the next level of Journeyman Plumber.
- JOURNEYMAN: Journeymen Plumbers have considerably more experience than apprentices (3+ years). Journeymen Plumbers are allowed to work alone at jobs and make their own decisions. Journeymen work under the direct supervision of a Master Plumber. After the required amount of time and experience Journeymen are allowed to test for the Master Plumber’s license, if they pass, they are eligible to become Master Plumbers. NOTE: Journeymen Plumbers can not operate their own businesses, they must work under employee of an actual plumbing company. Many of the local plumbing service companies are being run by Journeymen (this is illegal) – unfortunately the average customers do not know this, do not know to ask, and often these guys don’t get caught until they make a major mistake or rip someone off!
- MASTER PLUMBER: Master Plumbers can engage in any legal plumbing work or job they wish once they pass the Master Plumbers test. A Master Plumber can run their own plumbing company as the principal of that company.
Note: The Gas Certification (Gas Fitter’s License) is different from the Plumbing License designation. A person must also have a Gas Fitter’s License to legally work on Gas Systems. Gas Fitter’s also follow the Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master’s Designation listed above.
Note: Medical Gas Certification is separate from the Plumbing and Gas Certifications. In order to legally work on Medical Gas Systems (Hospital, Dentist Offices, Etc…) a person must have this designation.
*The above information is a simple summary of the terms and definitions, if you need further clarification, read the actual articles or call the plumbing board.
The actual full legal definition / description as written by by the state is attached to the bottom of this page in PDF form! (If you have any questions read it)!
If your “Plumber / Plumbing Contractor” can not be verified by one of the methods below, then they are most likely (NOT) legally licensed as a plumber or gas fitter in Alabama!!!!
If someone is lying to you and posing as a licensed plumber (and they are not) – Immediately call the local plumbing board, the local plumbing enforcement agent, and / or law enforcement.
It is ILLEGAL to perform plumbing work without a license in Alabama!!!! This is for good reason — these unlicensed guys screw stuff up big-time (all day, every day, it’s ridiculous). Their work is generally bad, often verging on horrible. They often take people’s money and don’t start or correctly finish jobs. Sometimes they get busted by the local authorities and don’t show back up to finish out jobs, leaving the customer hanging, high-and-dry, with an incomplete job, money gone, and still having to pay someone else to come and finish their incomplete work up. These guys generally don’t have any type of commercial insurance, general liability, bonds, workers compensation, etc…that would normally protect a customer if a problem arises.
If someone is pretending to be a licensed plumber (fraudulently) they most likely DO NOT have your best interest in mind!!!!
There are a few of ways to verify with the board who is and is not actually a licensed plumber:
1.) Call the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Board:
2.) Call the local enforcement agent:
(205) 441-8520 (David Hill)
3.) Email the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Board:
4.) Fax the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Board:
5.) Mail the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Board:
11 West Oxmoor Road, Suite 104
Birmingham, AL 35209
6.) Go on their website and search for a plumber / gas fitter:
http://pgfb.state.al.us or click the link below: