West Valley City, UT, September 30, 2023—The Utah Plumbing and Heating Contractor’s Association (UPHCA) is pleased to announce the launch of the UPHCA Academy, an educational foundation established to further the plumbing trade in Utah. The Academy ribbon cutting ceremony and open house will be held on Thursday, November 9th at 2824 S. Redwood Road in West Valley City at 9:00 a.m. 

“The UPHCA Academy’s goal is to educate and train individuals in the trades, transforming individual’s into a journeyman or master plumber, without the high cost of a university or college degree”. Says David Hill Executive Director of the Academy “The trades are an often overlooked path. Yet with the current housing and plumbing shortages in Utah, plumbing is a field that is already paying nearly four times the current minimum wage.”

The National Kitchen and Bath Association estimates that nearly 60,000 plumbers retire each year, with only 30,000 new apprentices entering the field. Adds Dave, “The plumbing shortage hits home in Utah, with a frightening high median age right now in the field. This shortage is what prompted the UPHCA to establish the Academy.” 

Since the announcement of the upcoming opening of the Academy in January, nearly 100 students have already enrolled from all over the State of Utah eager to improve their skill sets and become journeymen plumbers. Training will be online, day or night, with labs and hands-on training onsite at the Academy. As an added benefit, students will learn while working and having a career to be proud of.

“We’re excited about training the next generation of plumbers who will earn licenses and develop lifelong skills that will provide a great standard of living” says Eric Child, President of the UPHCA. We’re equally excited about helping as many people as we can to learn skills and join the workforce as skilled tradespeople—from ex-military to refugees and those looking for a real career change.”

Members of the community and industry are invited to the event on Thursday, November 9th. The ribbon cutting begins at 9:00 a.m., followed by the open house. Lunch will be served from 11:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. Please RSVP at contact@uphcaacademy.org or on the UPHCA Facebook page on the Events Tab. For more information, call 801-307-5500.

About the UPHCA

The UPHCA is the largest and only independent subcontractor association that represents the plumbing and HVAC industry in the State of Utah, lobbying before the state legislature and governmental regulatory agencies on behalf of the plumbing industry. The UPHCA association offers responsible stewardship of the industry it represents and excellent benefits to member companies. The UPHCA rolls out exciting initiatives to help member companies be more profitable and successful as a business entity. In addition, the association has an ongoing focus of Continuing Educational Training and Outreach, Legislative/Lobbying and Safety in the Workplace. 

During the last legislative session, the Governor asked the legislature to create a new agency under the Department of Commerce.  The agency that was created is the Office of Professional License Review (OPLR).

Purpose of OPLR by Statue:

(1) conduct a sunrise review of any applications to establish a new regulated occupation.

(2) conduct a review of each regulated occupation at least once every 10 years.

(3) review and respond to any legislator inquiry regarding a proposed or existing regulated Occupation.

(4) report to the Business and Labor Interim Committee annually.

Here are the Executive Agencies that will be Review

  • Agriculture and Food (e.g., livestock dealer) • [TBD]
  • Commerce (e.g., various: physician, social worker, electrician)
  • Environmental Quality (e.g., wastewater works operator)
  • Education (e.g., school counselor)
  • Financial Institutions (e.g., mortgage loan originator)
  • Health & Human Services (e.g., EMT, certified crisis worker)
  • Insurance (e.g., bail bonds)
  • Natural Resources (e.g., blasting)
  • Labor Commission (e.g., mine foreman)
  • Tax Commission (e.g., Motor Vehicle Dealer)
  • Workforce Services (e.g., ASL interpreters)

(Notice who is excluded, Real Estate and Attorney’s).

This will be OPLR’s Criteria:

Mandated by SB 16, the periodic review ‘shall consider the following criteria’ (paraphrased):

  • Harm to the public
  • Harm to health, safety or financial welfare
  • Present, recognizable, significant harm
  • Severity, probability, and permanence
  • Economic effects of regulation
  • Supply of practitioners
  • Barriers (to service, to entry)
  • Costs to existing practitioners
  • Mobility of practitioners and reciprocity with other jurisdictions
  • Ability to obtain payments for healthcare providers (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid)
  • Benchmarking other jurisdictions
  • Solutions
  • Effect of regulation on the harm (does the regulation protect against or diminish harm?)
  • Alternative pathways for obtaining a license
  • Costs to the state to regulate
  • Expertise and resources of the agency to regulate
  • Scope of regulation (clearly distinguishable from other regulated occupations; potential for narrow regulation)
  • Less burdensome alternatives
  • Any other criteria the office adopts

Items in bold are areas that can be interpreted by those not involved in the industry to question why plumbing requires a license or what the qualifications and experience is required for the trade.

The Plumbing Licensing Board held their meeting on Wednesday, September 7th and DOPL sprung on the board 2 recommendations to approve that came from a meeting they had with OPLR.  The first is to eliminate the Practical Exam.  DOPL stated that Utah was the only State that had a practical exam (that isn’t correct).  DOPL then proposed to allow the practical test to be part of the curriculum for the apprenticeship programs.  In other words, the schools and not the state would be responsible for the practical.  Second one was to create a Master License Exam on Laws & Rules specifically relating to Utah regulations affecting the trade.

Both recommendations were on a fast track for approval, and this concerned me.  They wanted the licensing board to recommend approval to the Construction Services Committee without any input from the industry other than the licensing board. The licensing board tabled both for now until they have further discussions.

This is an example of why we need input from our members.  We are watching more closely what OPLR might consider.  Please send your comments to office@uphca.net.

Finally, the question I pose to you.  Who would be looking out for the plumbing trade if it wasn’t the UPHCA?  Just this issue is well worth your membership and support!

Locally Owned Companies Provides Better Service – Published August 2022

We as a consumer like locally grown, fresh vegetables and fruit.  They taste better and we know where it they are coming from plus; we like to support our local businesses!  The plumbing service industry in Utah and throughout the country is experiencing a rapid change.  More and more locally owned and operated plumbing service companies are being bought as investments by large portfolio holding companies from out of state.  Some of these large investment groups have purchased several locally owned plumbing service companies without really identifying who they are owned by since they have kept the original business name.  This can present a challenge to the consumer.  For example, a homeowner needs to replace a water heater.  They call a couple of service companies to get a quote.  The individual doesn’t know that companies owned by the same national investment company use the same rates across all their companies they own.  In other words, you’re getting the same quote from different companies.  Is this good for the public and industry?  UPHCA doesn’t think so.  It’s fine for companies to be bought out, nonetheless it seems unfair to the public when plumbing companies are owned by the same corporation and not disclose who they are part of.

UPHCA Members are locally owned and operated and are required to sign a ‘Code of Integrity’ to ensure the public is treated well and ethically.  Support locally owned companies, they care for the local market and their customers!

Master License Change – Published July 2022

A change to the Master License occurred on July 1, 2022.  No longer is there a Master Journeyman or Residential Master Journeyman Test.  In the past anyone seeking a Master License was required to pass a business and law exam, however due to changes to the contractor license requirements the Plumbing Licensing Board and the Construction Services Commission felt that the purpose of the Master Test and the requirements to obtain a Plumbing Contractor License were essentially the same.  With this change the following are the requirements for obtaining a Master Journeyman License:

REQUIREMENTS – Before proceeding, the following requirements must be met:

4,000 hours of supervisory experience as a journeyman plumber
4,000 of work experience as a journeyman plumber.
Pass the Utah Plumber Theory* and Practical* exams.
*These exams are not required if they were previously passed to get the Utah Journeyman classification.

-OR-

Associates of Applied Science degree or a similar degree from an institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
2,000 hours of supervisory experience as a licensed Journeyman Plumber
Pass the Utah Plumber Theory* and Practical* exams.
*These exams are not required if they were previously passed to get the Utah Journeyman classification.

Residential Master Plumbing License:

REQUIREMENTS – Before proceeding, the following requirements must be met:

4,000 hours of supervisory experience as a licensed Residential Journeyman Plumber.
4,000 hours of work experience as a licensed Residential Journeyman Plumber
Pass the Utah Residential Plumber Theory* and Practical* exams.
*These exams are not required if they were previously passed to get the Utah Residential Journeyman classification..

-OR-

Hold at least an Associate of Applied Science degree or similar degree, from a CHEA accredited institution.
2,000 hours of supervisor experience as a licensed Residential Journeyman Plumber.
Pass the Utah Residential Plumber Theory* and Practical* exams.
*These exams are not required if they were previously passed to get the Utah Residential Journeyman classification.

All experience hours must be documented by your employer.

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