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. 

The Plumbing Industry, it seems, have a few unethical companies who are receiving ‘referral fees’ from some restoration companies.  Below are comments from a respected restoration company who is also a ‘Qualified’ member of the UPHCA sharing their insights.

Plumber referral fees are now possibly up to $1500 with certain restoration companies that give referral fees.  The average mitigation job is approximately $3000 and these restoration companies are putting their referral fee amounts into the estimate for clients.   These restoration companies are “fluffing” their estimates to cover the cost of the referral fees they are giving out.  This can be costly to homeowners and insurance companies.  The homeowners and insurance companies end up paying for the “fluff”, causing a snowball effect for anyone involved in the insurance industry, including the homeowners.  

There have been several instances where the homeowners could have avoided putting in a claim with the true cost of the services under their deductible, but the “fluff” in the estimate pushed that homeowner to have to put in a claim, due to them not being able to cover the full amount of the mitigation and/or repair costs.  There are also instances where a homeowner has a high deductible or there is no insurance coverage on the type of damage that occurred.  Even on these type of claims, the referral monies are still hidden in the estimate.  Homeowners have to pay out-of-pocket for the services in these cases, which could very well cause a hardship for the homeowner.  Homeowners could also have issues with renewal of their home insurance policy, because there may have been claims put in that didn’t necessarily have to be a claim.  There have been many claims that could have cost less than the homeowners’ deductible, but due to the referral fees, the cost of the mitigation or repairs became more than their deductible.  This causes the problem of the homeowner having possible issues on renewing their insurance due to the amount of claims being put in under that insured’s home.

Insurance companies also incur these costs, because mitigation can be an emergency service. Adjusters (especially remote) don’t have the time or oversight to be able to protect homeowners or their respective insurance carriers from the restoration companies “fluff” due to the nature of emergency claims.  

Overall, homeowners and insurance companies are the affected people that have to suffer the consequences of referral fees. Everyone else suffers too, in which these practices can make insurance companies increase premiums for all insureds.