Creation of the UPHCA Apprenticeship Academy – Published January 2023

The Utah Plumbing & Heating Contractors Association is excited to announce the creation of an online Plumbing Apprenticeship Academy starting in January 2023.  This DOPL and DOL approved apprenticeship program is designed to provide the individual student with achievement in an alternative way of learning to meet the educational requirements for being an apprentice plumber.  Some of the features to this academy are:

  • Open Enrollment – Enroll at any time.  The program is designed to a 12-month calendar curriculum. 
  • Pace of Learning – Those who have more experience or highly motivated can typically move through the curriculum at a quicker pace.
  • Convenience/Flexibility – The curriculum is all online and can be accessed at anytime and anywhere to better meet the needs of the individual’s work schedule and personal time.  There will be live webinars and in person lab experiences 6 times/year that will be required from all students.
  • Individualized Mentoring/Coaching – The program is designed for the student to be successful with individualized help, encouragement, and monitoring.  Only those individuals who are committed and have the motivation for this style of learning will be accepted into the program.  The employer will also be part of this process.  An instructor will be assigned to each student to assist, mentor, and monitor progress.
  • Statewide – This program is for individuals living anywhere in the state.  They will be required to attend 6 labs during the year at a location that might require some traveling, however.
  • On the surface the tuition seems more expensive, nevertheless when comparing the textbooks that are included and other incidental fees from other programs the potential student will find it comparable to other in classroom programs.  When you also include the advantages listed the apprentice will receive a great value in their investment in this type of program.
  • The curriculum used is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, Office of Apprenticeship, and Utah Department of Professional Licensing (DOPL).
  • Please Note: Students can transfer from other apprenticeship programs with approval.  However, there is no mechanism for transfer to a technical college apprenticeship program once enrolled in the UPHCA Academy. 

What the UPHCA has been doing in 2022? – Published January 2023

  • Working with DOPL on various issues of concern!  This is becoming more important every year! A couple of the most recent   Maintenance Exception and the Incidental Plumbing Rule (Handyman).  We have tightened up the Maintenance Exception substantially and the proposed rule change for the ‘handyman’ also tightens and defines better the issue of handyman scope of work.
  • Watching and navigating though issues the Utah State Legislature!  This is a must for the industry! Legislative overreach is always an issue and concern. The association retained a Lobbyist Firm 5 years ago to represent our industry and trade at the legislature.
  • Conference in St. George in the spring provided excellent information.  You can view any of the training seminars by going on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNeFGO0aQf0jCieuMvLxIUfPqyLI9Snrd
  • CE Classes for license renewal both live in classroom and online classes. We have the best classes in the industry at a discount for members of the UPHCA.
  • Working on additional benefits for member companies including an ‘Qualified’ Program for the industry.
  • Outreach to high school students to consider our trade.
  • Other networking activities.
  • Out of State Recruitment Program – look at our website under the tab “Moving to Utah”.
  • The UPHCA Apprenticeship Academy received approval in November 2022 to start an online school to provide more flexibility for students and employers.
  • Look at our new website, much more functional and provides great information: uphca.net
  • We have developed our ‘blog’ and a new Pipeline Podcasts https://uphca.net/about-uphca/blog/.
  • The UPHCA is the only independent Voice of the Plumbing & Mechanical Industry in the State of Utah.

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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