What kind of work can be done without a licensed plumber?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by PM5K, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. PM5K

    PM5K Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    I'm in Texas and just curious about what kind of work can be done, if any, without a licensed plumber onsite by a journeyman?

    Can he say give an estimate?

    Can he get all of the parts and tools, then wait for the licensed plumber?

    Can he do all of the work then have the licensed plumber verify everything was done correctly?

    This isn't for any work to be done, just trying to understand how the industry, and licensing works in general.

    EDIT: Thinking about it I'd guess there are some things a journeyman can do without a licensed plumber, say replacing a fixture, but what would be the protocol for something like a water heater where maybe a licensed plumber would be necessary?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2012
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Normally a journeyman plumber is a licensed plumber. You may be thinking of an apprentice plumber.
    Some places call them master plumbers.
    Here in Washington State, there is a residential license and a commercial license for a journeyman plumber.

    An estimate can be given by anyone. That's sales. I know plenty of places that hire salesmen to keep the plumbers busy with work. Your rough in crews normally have a journeyman on site all the time, making sure the layout is correct.
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  4. bluebinky

    bluebinky Member

    Aug 31, 2011
    Software Engineer
    Santa Clara, CA
    I assume you are talking about situations where a license is required -- like for-hire work.

    Many places allow you to do a lot of work yourself on your own residence without any license at all, etc. Here in Santa Clara, I can ask my (unlicensed) brother to come over and change the water heater with me, as long I pull a permit.

    Sometimes, in some places (like at my other place back in Texas), a permit may not even be required. Some form of building codes always apply, though.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It is usually a local issue. Here, as long as the work does not require a permit, and the TOTAL price of the entire job including other trades is less than $700.00, it can go under the "handyman exemption" and not need a license. However, there are MANY plumbers advertising "unlicensed plumber" but also advertising water heater replacements and repiping, for example, which not only exceed the maximum price but also require permits. But, because stopping them would take time and money, the Registrar of Contractors prefers to hassle the licensed plumbers.
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