H. B. 4743
(By Delegate Linch)
[Introduced February 25, 2000; referred to the
Committee on Government Organization then Finance.]
A BILL to amend chapter twenty-nine of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article three-c, relating to
creating a state plumbing code; statement of purpose, intent
and scope; definitions; adopting uniform plumbing code; state
board of plumbing examiners; licensing; requirements; actions
prohibited; and penalties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter twenty-nine of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated article three-c, to read as
ARTICLE 3C. WEST VIRGINIA STATE PLUMBING CODE.
§29-3C-1. Statement of purpose; intent and scope.
(a) The Legislature hereby finds that:
(1) Improper plumbing can adversely affect the health of the
public, can damage property and the environment, can be potentially
lethal, and can cause widespread disease and an epidemic of
(2) Promulgating a code establishing minimum plumbing
standards is essential to protecting the health and safety of the
public by ensuring uniform, modern construction standards and
regulations are used and enforced throughout the state for all
(3) The public health and safety demand that plumbing be
performed by persons who have proven their knowledge of and skill
in the sciences of pneumatics and hydraulics.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature and this article:
(1) To provide minimum standards for the protection of life,
health, property and environment and for the safety and welfare of
the consumer, general public and owners and occupants of buildings
(2) To encourage standardization and economy in construction
and construction materials consistent with nationally recognized
(3) To permit to the fullest extent feasible the use of modern
technical methods, devices and improvements consistent with
reasonable requirements for the health, safety and welfare of occupants or users of buildings and structures;
(4) To assure that officials charged with the administration
and enforcement of the technical provisions of this article are
adequately trained and supervised;
(5) To provide standards of skill through licensing for those
engaged in the plumbing trades;
(6) To provide for the establishment of a state plumbing board
to ensure proper qualification and examination of plumbers and
pipefitters and proper enforcement of the state plumbing code and
applicable regulations issued thereunder.
(c) This code shall apply to the construction, alteration,
repair, maintenance or occupancy of all building in this state.
This code may not apply to work performed by an individual on his
or her own home.
As used in this article, unless the context otherwise
(a) "Apprentice plumber" means a person who is learning and
working at the business of plumbing under the direct supervision of
a master plumber or journeyman plumber and under an apprenticeship
program approved by the state board of plumbing examiners.
(b) "Contractor" means any person who for a fixed price,
commission, fee, or percentage undertakes to bid upon, or accepts,
or offers to accept, orders or contracts for performing, managing, or superintending, in whole or in part, the construction, removal
repair or improvement of any building or structure permanently
annexed to real property owned, controlled, or leased by him or
another person or any other improvements to the real property.
(c)"IAPMO" means the International Association of Plumbing
and Mechanical Officials.
(d)"Journeyman plumber" means any person, other than a
master plumber or apprentice plumber who engages in or works at the
construction, installation, alteration, extension, removal, repair,
maintenance or renovation of plumbing subject to inspection under
any law, rule or regulation.
(e) "Master plumber" means a plumber, having a regular place
of business and who, by himself or herself or journeyman plumbers
in his or her employ, performs plumbing work, subject to inspection
and in compliance of any law, rule or regulation pertaining to
(f) "Plumbing" means the work and practice, materials and
fixtures used in the construction, installation, alteration,
extension, removal, repair, maintenance or renovation of a plumbing
system; of all piping, fixtures, fixed appliances and appurtenances
in connection with any of the following: Sanitary drainage, storm
drainage facilities, special wastes, the venting system and the
public or private water-supply systems, within or adjacent to any
building, structure or conveyance; to the property line, or to any other connection with any point of public disposal or intake.
(g) "Plumbing inspector" means any person employed by a
political subdivision for the purpose of inspecting plumbing work
or installations in connection with the provisions of this article
and any applicable code or regulations, or any other health and
safety laws and ordinances. Said plumbing inspectors shall not
have any financial or advisory interests in any plumbing company,
and who has successfully fulfilled the examinations and
requirements of the board and this article.
(h) "State board of plumbing examiners" or "board" means the
board of plumbing examiners created pursuant to this article.
(i) "State plumbing code" means the UPC adopted by the state
board of plumbing examiners.
(j) "UPC" means the uniform plumbing code.
§29-3C-3. State plumbing code.
(a) After it is created and duly convened pursuant to this
article, as its first act of business, the state board of plumbing
examiners shall adopt the most recent edition of the uniform
plumbing code (UPC), as published by the international association
of plumbing and mechanical officials (IAPMO).
(b) The UPC shall serve as the plumbing code for the
construction, installation, alteration, extension, removal, repair,
maintenance or renovation for all buildings throughout the state.
(c) All political subdivisions throughout the state shall utilize the requirements of the UPC as the minimum requirement for
the installation of plumbing systems.
(d) Once adopted by the board, the UPC and any subsequent
amendments to board adopts pursuant to this article shall be known
as the "state plumbing code."
§29-3C-4. Creation and composition of board of plumbing examiners.
(a) There is hereby established the state board of plumbing
(b) The board shall consist of seven appointed members as
Two licensed journeyman plumbers;
One licensed master plumber;
Two engaged in the construction of residential or commercial
buildings as plumbing contractors;
One engaged in the construction of residential or commercial
buildings as a general contractor; and
One appointed from the public at-large.
(c) The governor, with power of removal, shall appoint the
members of the board, subject to confirmation by the Senate, to
staggered four-year terms. The governor may remove any member of
the board for misconduct, incompetence or neglect of duty.
(d) A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum for the
transaction of all business.
§29-3C-5. Powers and duties of board.
In addition to all other powers and duties conferred or
imposed upon the board by this article, the board is authorized and
(a) Elect its own officers and prescribe their duties;
(b) Grant the licenses to duly qualified applicants for master
plumbers and journeyman plumbers, provided for in this article;
(c) Establish fees that are reasonable and necessary to defray
the cost of administering this article;
(d) Promulgate, adopt, amend, and repeal such rules and
regulations, not inconsistent with the laws of this state, as may
be necessary for the orderly conduct of its affairs and for the
administration of this article;
(e) Prescribe, amend, and repeal rules or regulations
governing the plumbing, drainage, sewerage, and plumbing
ventilation of all building in this state;
(f) Enforce the provisions of this article and any code, rules
or regulations hereunder through inspections, audits, citations,
civil penalties and any other appropriate means;
(g) Employ inspectors and charge fees for making inspections
of plumbing work covered by the article;
(h) Subpoena records and documents and compel the attendance
of witnesses pursuant to an investigation or a hearing of the
(i) Conduct hearings;
(j) Review and approve or disapprove requests for exceptions
to the state plumbing code in unique situations where a strict
interpretation of the code would result in unreasonable operational
conditions or unreasonable economic burdens as long as public
safety is not compromised;
(k) Bring a suit in any court of competent jurisdiction, to
cause the enjoinder of all persons violating this article. When
seeking an injunction, the board shall not be required to prove
that an adequate remedy at law does not exist or that substantial
or irreparable damages would result if an injunction is not
(l) The board shall, within thirty days after being duly
appointed under this article, convene for the purpose of conducting
business and adopt the current version of the UPC as published by
IAPMO. The board shall review subsequent revisions to the UPC that
may be published by IAPMO and, where appropriate and consistent
with the purposes and intents of this article, adopt amendments to
the state plumbing code;
(m) The board shall have the power to establish and administer
examinations as required for licensing under this article and to
define satisfactory performance for licensing examinations;
(n) The board shall have the power to establish minimum
requirements for apprenticeship and other training programs
required under this article. The board shall establish a procedure board approving apprenticeship training programs that meet the
minimum requirements established by the board and issue
certificates of compliance to apprenticeship training programs
meeting the board's requirements;
(o) The board shall revoke or suspend a license, probate a
license suspension or reprimand a licensee for any violations of
this article or rules or regulations of the board. Grounds for
suspension or revocation of a license due to suspected incompetence
or willful violation by a licensee may be determined through
(p) The board shall establish a procedure for reinstating any
license that has been revoked or suspended. Any person whose
license has been revoked may not apply for reinstatement of that
license before the expiration of one year from the date of the
revocation. If the board proposes to refuse a person's application
for licensure or to suspend or revoke a person's license, the
person is entitled to a hearing before the board.
§29-3C-6. General licensing requirements.
The board shall issue a license to any person who:
(a) Meets the requirements for a specific license under this
(b) Completes and swears to before a notary republic an
application for examination and licensing established by the board;
(c) Presents competent evidence, in a form acceptable to the board, demonstrating that the applicant meets the qualifications
and requirements of the license for which he or she has applied
under this article;
(d) Pays the appropriate fees established by the board; and
(e) Satisfactorily performs on the licensing examination
established and administered by the board for the license for which
he or she has applied under this article. To permit the orderly
implementation of this article, this subsection shall not apply to
any person who applies for a license by complying with all other
licensing requirements within six months of the effective date of
§29-3C-7. Plumber licenses.
(a) An applicant for a master plumber examination and license
shall have held a current and valid journeyman plumbers license
issued by the board for a period of not less than five years. To
permit the orderly implementation of this article, this subsection
shall not apply to any person who, within six months of the
effective date of this article, applies for a license by complying
with all other licensing requirements under this article and
provides competent evidence in a form acceptable to the board that
the person has sufficient knowledge, skill and experience in the
(b) An applicant for a journeyman plumber examination and
license shall have:
Performed eight thousand hours of manual labor of plumbing
under the direct on-the-job supervision of a licensed journeyman
Satisfactorily completed an apprenticeship program for
plumbing approved by the board; and
Sufficient education to read and write the answers to the
(c) An applicant for an inspector examination and license
shall have held a current master plumber license or journeyman
plumber license, for a period of not less than five years.
§29-3C-8. Expiration and renewal of license.
(a) Any license issued by the board under this article shall
be valid for a period of three years from date of issue.
(b) The board shall renew for a period of three years any
license issued under this article upon receiving from the renewal
applicant a renewal form and the appropriate renewal fee.
§29-3C-9. Conduct prohibited without a license.
(a) No person within the jurisdiction of this state shall
engage in the business or work of plumbing, pipefitting, steam
fitting, HVACR, gas fitting, medical gas fitting, or sprinkler
fitting without an appropriate license and, if applicable, a
specialized endorsement, issued pursuant to this article
authorizing him or her to engage in the specific business or work
regulated or controlled by this article or by any ordinance, bylaw, rule or regulation made hereunder.
(b) No person within the jurisdiction of this state shall
solicit, by sign, listing or any other form of advertisement, work
regulated or controlled by this article or by any ordinance, bylaw,
rule or regulation made hereunder, unless he or she has been duly
licensed by the board as provided in this article to perform that
(c) No political subdivision of this state may appoint,
authorize, or employ any person to perform inspections under this
article or the state plumbing code unless the inspector has been
duly licensed as an inspector by the board as provided in this
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, an
apprentice plumber enrolled in an apprenticeship program approved
by the board may engage in the work of plumbing when the apprentice
is under the direct, constant, on-the-job supervision of a licensed
journeyman plumber, and only to the extent that the supervising
journeyman is duly licensed by the board to perform the work.
Direct, constant, on-the-job supervision means that a licensed
journeyman plumber will supervise no more than one apprentice on
only one job at a time.
(e) Other exceptions.
(1) Nothing in this article may be construed to require any
individual to hold a license to perform plumbing work on his or her own property or residence.
(2) Nothing in this article may be construed to require
employees of the federal government who perform plumbing on federal
property to hold a license to perform plumbing, pipefitting, gas
fitting or sprinkler fitting work on the property.
(3) Nothing in this article may be construed to require
employees of the state or any political subdivision thereof to hold
a license to perform plumbing, pipefitting, gas fitting or
sprinkler fitting work within the state.
§29-3C-10. Other prohibited acts.
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this article for any
(a) Obtain a license through error or fraud;
(b) Present or attempt to use the license or certificate of
(c) Impersonate another or using an expired or revoked
(d) Give false or forged evidence of any kind to the board or
any member thereof in an application for the issuance or renewal of
a license under this article;
(e) Willfully, negligently or arbitrarily violate the rules of
the board or municipal rules or ordinances regulating plumbing;
(f) Knowingly make a substantial misrepresentation of services
to be provided or which have been provided; or
(g) Knowingly make any false promise regarding a person's
licensing status with intent to influence, persuade or induce an
individual to contract for services regulated or controlled under
(h) It shall be a violation of this article to employ another
or to otherwise conspire with another to violate any terms of this
article or any rule or regulation adopted under this article.
§29-3C-11. Actions required; duty to display license.
(a) All persons issued a license under the terms of this
article shall comply with the provisions of this article, the state
plumbing code and any applicable rules or regulations.
(b) The license of a journeyman plumber shall be exhibited
whenever required by an inspector licensed under this article.
(c) The license of a master plumber shall at all times be
displayed conspicuously within his or her place of business. Any
sign, listing or advertisement of a master plumber, a master gas
fitter, a journeyman plumber shall contain his or her designation
and license number.
(a) Any person who violates any provision of this article, the
state plumbing code, or any applicable rule, regulation, permit or
other order of the board is subject to a civil penalty of not less
than fifty dollars or more than one thousand dollars per day for
each act or violation.
(b) Any person who knowingly or willfully violates this
article, the state plumbing code or any applicable rule or
regulation adopted pursuant to this article, is guilty of a
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create a state plumbing
code and to create a board of plumbing examiners to license
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.