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KSL News was not entirely correct with the information in a report released today!  Let’s review what the proposed changes are.

First, it was through the lobbying efforts of the UPHCA in the 2019 Legislative Session that adverted many potential changes the legislature was considering that would have had drastic consequences to the plumbing trade.  Through our efforts the law was changed to allow the State Plumbing Licensing Board to recommend changes to the Construction Services Commission through the rule making process rather than having the legislature make changes through state statue.  This is significant because it allows more through thought process by those who serve on the Plumbing Licensing Board to consider changes who are all professional plumbers who hold a master or journeyman license.  In other words the destiny of the plumbing trade is through plumbing professionals and not state legislatures that don’t understand the industry!  With this in mind the State Plumbing Licensing Board has been thoughtful in considering certain changes that can help the industry and maintain the profession and trade and the public safety.

The proposed changes that are currently going through the
rule making process.

“PLUMBER LICENSING ACT RULE” AMENDMENTS:   In response to 2019, H.B.187 and H.B. 226, this filing is recommended by the Plumbers Licensing Board and the Construction Services Commission to clarify current requirements and conform the rule to current practices in the industry. Additionally, this filing removes certain requirements that the Board and the Commission have found to be outdated and unnecessarily arduous.
Section R156-55c-102:

  • Clarifies the definition of “immediate supervision” with respect to residential plumbing work. Now requires the supervising plumber to be available to provide direction and oversight when not physically present on the same project or job site.

Section R156-55c-302a:

  • Increases the accepted hours of work experience to be credited for each 12 month period from 2,000 to 3,000 hours.

Section R156-55c-302b:

  • Extends the 25-day waiting period after a failed exam to a 30-day waiting period, to alleviate confusion and create parity among the standards for all contractor professions; and
  • Deletes the requirement that an applicant pass all exams within a one-year period (the one-year “rolling clock” requirement).

Section R156-55c-302c:

  • This new section creates opportunities for “expedited licensure” and the appropriate placement of the apprentice plumber seeking education in an approved program.

R156-55c-302c. Qualifications – Expedited Licensure.
In accordance with Subsections 58-1-203(2) and 58-1-301(3), the requirements for expedited licensure pursuant to Subsections 58-55-302(3)(c)(iii) and 58-55-302(3)(d)(iii) are as follows:
(1) A licensed apprentice plumber may take the approved competency exams, in sequence beginning with 1A and continuing through 4B, to either satisfy the education requirement, or determine placement in a planned program of training approved by the Division.
(2) Division pre-approval is not required to sit for any competency exam.
(3) The applicant may register directly with the Division’s approved exam provider to sit for a competency exam.
(4) The applicant may attempt each competency exam one time.
(5) Admission to the subsequent competency exam is permitted after obtaining a minimum score of 70%.
(6) Placement in a planned program of training is determined when the applicant scores below 70% on the corresponding competency exam.
(7) Upon completion of all qualifying competency exams, the applicant may sit for the Utah journeyman or residential journeyman plumber exams.

Section R156-55c-303:

  • Requires all licensees renew their license in an online form approved by the Division, except as permitted by the Division in writing.

Section R156-55c-304:

  • Redefines OSHA training as Core CE (previously OSHA training was defined as Professional CE).

Section R156-55c-401:

  • Pursuant to Subsection 58-55-302(3), clarifies that an apprentice beginning in the fourth and succeeding years of an apprenticeship shall work under immediate supervision in accordance with Subsection R156-55c-102(1).
  • Clarifies the number of apprentice plumbers a licensed supervisor may have on:
  • Non-residential projects (increases to 3:1); and
  • Residential projects (increases to 3:1).

Section R156-55b-501:

Includes as unprofessional conduct, (“ignorantia legis neminem excusat”) failing as a licensee to be knowledgeable of the plumber licensing laws and rules.

Explanation:

  • Note that all these changes have not been implemented however it is in the final steps of the rule making process.
  • There are no changes to the amount of hours of experience an apprentice must have.  An apprentice must still have 8,000 hours of documented experience before they can become a journeyman.  They must still pass the written and practical exams, no changes have been proposed to the testing requirements.
  • Expedited licensure will be allowed through being able to test out of 1a – 4a through competency tests passing rate of 70%.  The competency test will be administrated by the State and the test bank questions that will be used are being developed by the UPHCA in consultation with all the apprenticeship school programs.  In other words someone who has been raised around the plumbing industry has the potential to take less schooling if they are successful in testing out of semesters, however they can only test once per semester and the experience hours required did not change.
  • Ratio’s would change for both residential and commercial projects from 2 to 1 as it is currently to 3 to 1.

These proposed changes are not perfect and not everyone in the industry agrees with, nevertheless, that being said it is a great compromise and will go a long way to help the industry meet the needs of manpower while also maintaining the profession without direct legislative actions!

Throughout this process the UPHCA has been keeping our members updated and informed.  We would encourage every owner to make your trades people aware of what is proposed rather than through the news media or others not understanding the total picture of what is happening.  Rumors are not good for the industry!