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Title 26: Professions and Occupations

Chapter 039: PLUMBERS AND PLUMBING

  • Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
  • § 2171. Purpose

    The purpose of this chapter is to protect and improve the general health and welfare of the people of the State of Vermont in the fields of environmental sanitation, water treatment, domestic supply, and hydronically related hot water heating, by authorizing and enforcing rules and regulations for properly designed, acceptably installed, and adequately maintained plumbing, water treatment, and hydronically related water heating systems and by licensing qualified plumbers and qualified heating and water treatment specialists. (1959, No. 215, § 1, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 2172. Definitions

    The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall be construed as follows:

    (1) "Public water system" or "public sewerage disposal system" means any system supplying or serving 15 or more customers, each family, tenement, store, or other establishment being considered a single customer.

    (2) "Master plumber" means any person, licensed under this chapter, that, as a business, installs plumbing systems, hires or employs a person or persons to do plumbing work, or supervises journey plumbers or apprentice plumbers in completion of their work.

    (3) "Journeyman plumber" means any person licensed under this chapter who installs plumbing and water treatment or heating specialties under the direction of a master plumber. A journeyman plumber may supervise an apprentice employed by a master plumber and under the master plumber's direction. A journeyman plumber shall not act as a master plumber.

    (4) "Apprentice plumber" means any person, employed by a master plumber or under the direction of a master plumber or a journeyman plumber, who is engaged in learning and assisting in the installation of plumbing and water treatment or heating specialties under an apprenticeship program properly registered with the Vermont Apprenticeship Council. An apprentice plumber shall be supervised on the job by either a master or a journeyman plumber.

    (5) "Plumbing" is the art of installing pipes, fixtures, and other apparatus for bringing in the water supply and removing liquid and water carried wastes and drainage venting systems within or on any building or structure.

    (6) "Board" means the Plumber's Examining Board created under this chapter.

    (7) "State plumbing inspector" means a master plumber or duly qualified employee of the Department designated to enforce the rules and regulations pursuant to this chapter.

    (8) "Municipal inspector" means a plumbing inspector authorized to conduct municipal inspections pursuant to this chapter.

    (9) "Specialist" means any person licensed under this chapter who performs work in connection with water treatment and heating, or both, or performs that work as a principal business or an auxiliary to a principal business for the person's own account as designated on the person's license.

    (10) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Public Safety.

    (11) "Legislative body" means the selectboard, the alderboard, city council, or board of trustees of a municipality or an incorporated village.

    (12) "Work notice" means the notice required to be filed under this chapter by a licensee prior to commencement of work. (1959, No. 215, § 2, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2005, No. 8, § 10, eff. April 25, 2005.)

  • § 2173. Rules adopted by the Board

    (a) The Plumber's Examining Board may, pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, make and revise such plumbing rules as necessary for protection of the public health, except that no rule of the Board may require the installation or maintenance of a water heater at a minimum temperature. To the extent that a rule of the Board conflicts with this subsection or with 18 V.S.A. chapter 40, that rule shall be invalid and unenforceable. The rules shall be in effect in every city, village, and town having a public water system or public sewerage system and apply to all premises connected to the systems and all public buildings containing plumbing or water treatment and heating specialties whether they are connected to a public water or sewerage system. The local board of health and the Commissioner of Public Safety shall each have authority to enforce these rules. The rules shall be limited to minimum performance standards reasonably necessary for the protection of the public against accepted health hazards and shall be consistent with any minimum efficiency standards for plumbing fixtures adopted under 9 V.S.A. chapter 74. The Board may, if it finds it practicable to do so, adopt the provisions of a nationally recognized plumbing code and as needed shall adopt a Vermont-specific amendment to the adopted code to ensure that it is consistent with any minimum efficiency standards for plumbing fixtures adopted under 9 V.S.A. chapter 74.

    (b) The Commissioner shall make rules and adopt procedures and priorities for inspections and enforcement. Installations regulated by the Board shall be inspected by a State plumbing inspector. The Commissioner may set priorities based on consideration of health risks to persons and property, type and size of the building, and the complexity and size of the installation or job.

    (c) The Commissioner or any State plumbing inspector designated by the Commissioner shall have the authority to enter any premises in which an installation subject to the rules of the Board is being or has been installed, replaced, or repaired for the purpose of performing inspections necessary to carry out inspection responsibilities under this subchapter. If the owner or occupant of the premises refuses entry, the Commissioner may apply to any Superior Court to issue an order enforcing the right of entry. (Added 1959, No. 215, § 3, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1979, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1987, No. 268 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. June 21, 1988; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2005, No. 8, § 11, eff. April 25, 2005; 2007, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 10a; 2017, No. 127 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2017, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.)

  • § 2174. Municipal rules and regulations; municipal inspections

    (a) The legislative body may establish inspection procedures and appoint trained, qualified master plumbers to conduct municipal inspections. If the Board determines that the inspection procedures, training, and qualifications of the municipal plumbing inspectors are sufficient, the Commissioner may assign the responsibility to inspect plumbing installations within the municipality to the municipality. Municipal inspection standards shall be, at a minimum, equal to State standards. Municipal standards may exceed State standards with approval of the Board. Municipal standards shall not prohibit implementation of 18 V.S.A. chapter 40. An assignment of responsibility under this subsection shall not affect the authority of the Board or the Commissioner under this subchapter.

    (b) Inspection procedures, including the issuance of work notices, shall be the same as for State plumbing inspections. A municipal inspector shall have the authority to enter a premises to carry out inspection responsibilities in accordance with the rules and procedures established by the Board. The legislative body may also establish reasonable fees for inspections, which shall be in lieu of fees charged by the State.

    (c) If, after inspection of the plumbing installation, a violation of the rules of the Board or the inspection procedures of the municipality is found, a municipal inspector may:

    (1) Issue an order directing the plumber of record or the owner of the premises in which the violation is found to correct or remove the violation.

    (2) Invalidate the work permit.

    (3) Pursue disciplinary procedures under section 2178 of this chapter.

    (d) A person aggrieved by an action of a municipal inspector or municipality under subsection (c) of this section may appeal to the Commissioner by filing a written application for a hearing with the Commissioner within 15 days after receiving written notice of the action. A person filing an application under this subsection shall be entitled to notice and an opportunity for a hearing before the Commissioner within 45 days. Within 30 days after the hearing, the Commissioner shall issue an order amending, modifying, or affirming the action by the municipal inspector or municipality.

    (e) Municipal inspectors shall participate in training provided by the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety shall also provide continuing consultation, review, and assistance to municipal inspectors.

    (f) The Commissioner or the Board may revoke an assignment of responsibility to a municipality granted under this section if the Commissioner or the Board determines that the training or qualifications of the municipal inspectors or the inspection procedure adopted by the legislative body is insufficient. (Added 1959, No. 215, § 4, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1967, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. March 20, 1968; 1979, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1987, No. 268 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. June 21, 1988; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2005, No. 8, § 12, eff. April 25, 2005; 2017, No. 127 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)

  • § 2175. Work notice; fees; enforcement; appeals; penalties

    (a) Work in installations subject to the rules of the Board shall not commence until a work notice has been received and validated by the Department of Public Safety. The following schedule of work notice fees shall be paid to the Commissioner or a designated representative prior to the validation of a work notice.

    (1) For all plumbing work, identified as a priority for inspection and review under subsection 2173(b) of this title, the fee shall be:

    (A) $10.00 for each plumbing fixture described as a washing machine, dishwasher, grease trap, oil interceptor, sand interceptor, sewage ejector pump, water closet, urinal, bidet, disposal, drinking fountain, water cooler, lavatory, bathtub, shower, sink, hose bib, floor drain, or similar device. The total shall not be less than $50.00.

    (B) $15.00 for each plumbing fixture described as a water heater, hydronic heating unit, domestic hot water coil, or water treatment device.

    (2) For all plumbing work, not identified as a priority for inspection and review under subsection 2173(b) of this title, the fee shall be $50.00.

    (3) At the discretion of the Commissioner, whenever an owner or licensed plumber requests for the owner's or licensed plumber's benefit that an inspection be made outside the normal working hours, all fees payable by the owner under this section shall be paid in an amount twice that indicated under this section.

    (b) If the Commissioner or designee finds a violation of the rules adopted under this chapter, the Commissioner or designee may:

    (1) Order the owner of the premises in which the violation is found or the owner's agent or the person performing the work to correct or remove the violation.

    (2) Invalidate a work notice or issue a cease and desist order, or both.

    (3) Order any public water and sewerage company or to any private party furnishing water to such installation not to connect or to disconnect water service or sewer service, or both, from all or a portion of the premises until the violation is removed or corrected.

    (4) Order any company supplying fuel service to the premises to disconnect the fuel supply until the cited violation has been removed or corrected.

    (5) Issue an administrative citation.

    (6) Pursue any combination of options under this subsection.

    (c) Any person aggrieved under this chapter may request the Commissioner to reconsider the refusal or order. A request for reconsideration shall be made in writing and filed with the Commissioner within 15 days after receipt of the written order or notice of refusal. Within 30 days of receipt of the request for reconsideration, the Commissioner shall review the refusal or order and shall issue an order amending, modifying, or affirming the original refusal or order. A person aggrieved by the Commissioner's decision under this section may appeal to the Superior Court in the district in which the violation occurred. The court shall hear the matter de novo.

    (d) The Commissioner may after notice and an opportunity for hearing, assess an administrative penalty of not more than $1,000.00 per violation against a person, licensed or unlicensed, who violates this chapter, or any order lawfully issued under this chapter. Penalties assessed shall be related to the severity of the violation.

    (e) On application by the Commissioner, the Superior Court in the county in which a violation occurs may issue an order enjoining or restraining the violation. An election by the Commissioner to proceed under this subsection shall not limit or restrict the Commissioner's authority to assess an administrative penalty under subsection (d) of this section.

    (f) Violation of any rule adopted under this subchapter shall be prima facie evidence of negligence in any civil action for damages that results from the violation. (1959, No. 215, § 5, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1969, No. 84, § 1, eff. April 18, 1969; 1979, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1999, No. 49, § 146; 2005, No. 8, § 13, eff. April 25, 2005; 2009, No. 134 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. May 29, 2010.)

  • § 2176. Existing buildings

    The rules adopted under sections 2173, 2174, and 2175 of this title shall not apply to existing private dwellings and public buildings except as the plumbing systems in them may be altered in the future. (1959, No. 215, § 6, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1987, No. 268 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. June 21, 1988; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)


  • Subchapter 002: PLUMBER'S EXAMINING BOARD
  • § 2181. Plumber's Examining Board; membership; powers

    (a) A Plumber's Examining Board, within the Department of Public Safety, hereinafter called "Board," shall consist of five members, one of whom shall be the Commissioner of Public Safety or designee and one of whom shall represent the Commissioner of Health or designee. The remaining three members shall be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. One of the appointive members shall be a master plumber, one shall be a journey plumber, and one shall be a public member not associated with the plumbing or heating trades.

    (b) The Board shall have authority to examine and license master plumbers and journeyman plumbers and specialists and shall have the right to make reasonable rules.

    (c) Upon notice to the affected person and after a hearing, the Board may refuse to issue a license or may suspend or revoke a license or may take other disciplinary action against a licensee for any of the following reasons:

    (1) fraud or deceit in obtaining a license;

    (2) gross negligence, incompetency, misrepresentation, or misconduct by a licensee;

    (3) violation by a licensee of the rules of the Department of Health, the Department of Public Safety, or the Board;

    (4) failure to comply with a written notice issued under section 2173, 2174, or 2175 of this title. (1959, No. 215, § 7, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1969, No. 84, § 2, eff. April 18, 1969; 1973, No. 267 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1979, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2005, No. 8, § 14, eff. April 25, 2005.)

  • § 2182. Terms of office

    (a) Members of the Board shall be appointed for four year terms. Two of the appointed members shall initially be appointed for terms of two years beginning July 1 of the year of appointment.

    (b) A vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the initial appointment. (1959, No. 215, § 8, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 8.)

  • § 2183. Fees; books and records

    All fees for examinations, licenses, and renewals shall be forwarded to the Department of Public Safety. The Board shall have free and unrestricted access to all books, notes, records, transcriptions, recordings, and other related data within the care of the Department of Public Safety. (1959, No. 215, § 17, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 2005, No. 8, § 15, eff. April 25, 2005.)

  • § 2184. Per diem pay and expenses

    Each appointive member of the Board shall be entitled to compensation and expenses as provided in 32 V.S.A. § 1010. (1959, No. 215, § 18, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1963, No. 193, § 12, eff. June 28, 1963; 1983, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 5(b); 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 10.)

  • § 2185. Repealed. 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 19.


  • Subchapter 003: LICENSES
  • § 2191. Master plumbers

    Any person who completes an application for a master plumber's license, presents documentation of having held a valid journeyman plumber's license under this chapter for at least 12 months, or documents equivalent training and experience in or outside of this State acceptable to the Board, and pays an examination fee in an amount determined by the Board based on the costs associated with administering the examination, shall be entitled to an examination. Upon successful completion of the examination and payment of a licensing fee, the applicant shall receive a master plumber's license in the form of a wallet-sized card. The license shall be carried by the master plumber at all times while performing the licensee's trade and shall be displayed upon request. Upon request of a license holder, a license certificate, suitable for framing, shall be available for a fee. (1959, No. 215, § 9, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1969, No. 84, § 3, eff. April 18, 1969; 1971, No. 6, § 1, eff. Feb. 17, 1971; 1991, No. 234 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.)

  • § 2192. Journeyman plumbers

    Any person who completes an application for a journeyman plumber's license and documents apprenticeship in plumbing that includes both instruction and practice in work processes as verified by the Vermont Apprenticeship Council, or equivalent training and experience in or out of this State acceptable to the Board, and pays an examination fee to be determined by the Board based on the costs associated with administering the examination, shall be entitled to examination. Upon successful completion of the examination and payment of a licensing fee, the applicant shall receive a journeyman plumber's license in the form of a wallet-sized card. The license shall be carried by the journeyman at all times while performing the licensee's trade and shall be displayed upon request. Upon request of a license holder, a license certificate, suitable for framing, shall be available for a fee. (1959, No. 215, § 10, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1969, No. 84, § 4, eff. April 18, 1969; 1971, No. 6, § 2, eff. Feb. 17, 1971; amended 1991, No. 234 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 12.)

  • § 2192a. Limited licensure; specialists

    (a) Any person who completes an application for a specialist's license and documents successful completion of instruction, training, and experience in or out of the State acceptable to the Board and pays an examination fee to be determined by the Board based on the costs associated with administering the examination, shall be entitled to an examination. Upon successful completion of the examination and payment of a license fee, the applicant shall receive a specialist license in the form of a wallet-sized card. The license shall be carried by the licensee at all times while performing the licensee's specialty and shall be displayed upon request. Upon request by the license holder, a specialist license suitable for framing shall be available for a fee. A specialist license shall indicate each specialty for which the licensee has been approved. A specialist license does not take the place of any other license required by law.

    (b) Specialty fields include the following:

    (1) Water Heater Specialist: Installation, replacement, and repair of any residential, industrial, or commercial domestic hot water supply tanks.

    (2) Heating System Specialist: Installation, replacement, and repair of residential, industrial, or commercial hydronic space heating systems, including radiant, solar, and other types of hydronic system design. Any work on steam systems shall be limited to steam systems with operating pressure not to exceed 15 PSIG.

    (3) Water Treatment Specialist: Installation, replacement, and repair of residential, industrial, or commercial potable water treatment and filtration equipment.

    (c) A person duly licensed as a specialist under this section may perform specialty work, either as an employee or as an independent contractor only in connection with the specialty field designated on the person's license. A specialty business may hire or employ only people licensed in the specialty of the business.

    (d) A specialist may perform a supply connection to an existing water supply for test and related system operation, but at no time shall any specialist perform any plumbing or heating work that is not specified or permitted under the specialist's license.

    (e) Specialty classes shall be provided by the Department of Labor or others.

    (f) The Commissioner shall adopt rules regarding work notices, inspection procedures, and priorities for each specialty. (Added 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; amended 2005, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 5, 2006.)

  • § 2193. Applications and examinations; fees

    (a) Each applicant for license shall present to the executive office of the Board on blanks furnished by the Board, a written application for examination and license containing such information as the Board may require, accompanied by the fee required. Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502(a), if the examination is conducted by an outside testing service, the required examination fee may be paid directly to the testing service. Examinations shall be in whole or in part in writing and shall include the theoretical and practical nature of plumbing or specialties, or both, and knowledge of State laws and Department of Health and Environmental Conservation regulations and such other regulations as the Board may determine necessary to satisfactorily determine the qualifications of the applicant. Examinations shall be relevant to the instructional material taught in classes, codes used, and new developments and procedures within the trade.

    (b) Any applicant who fails an examination may, upon payment of the examination fee, retake the examination.

    (c) License and renewal fees are as follows:

    (1) Master plumber license                                         $ 120.00

    (2) Journeyman plumber license                                $   90.00

    (3) Specialist license                                                   $   50.00

    (4) Master renewal fee                                                $ 120.00

    (5) Journeyman renewal fee                                       $   90.00

    (6) Specialist renewal fee                                           $   50.00

    (7) License certificate                                                 $   10.00

    (d) Master and journeyman plumbers shall be exempt from paying license or renewal fees as specialists. (1959, No. 215, § 11, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1961, No. 32, § 1; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 1999, No. 49, § 147; 2009, No. 134 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. May 29, 2010.)

  • § 2194. Examinations not required; temporary licenses

    (a)(1) Appropriate licenses without examination may be issued to a person to whom a master plumber's license or a journeyman plumber's license or a specialty license or equivalent has been previously issued by another state or municipality upon the payment of the required fee if:

    (A) that state or municipality maintained a standard of requirements equivalent to those of this State; and

    (B) the applicant presents satisfactory proof to the Board that he or she is a bona fide licensee.

    (2) An applicant under this subsection shall be exempt from examination only if the applicant holds a license from a foreign state or municipality and if under the laws or regulations of the foreign state or municipality issuing the license a like exemption or reciprocal agreement, or both, is granted to licensees under the laws of this State.

    (b) Except as otherwise provided by law, a journeyman's license shall be issued without examination and upon payment of the required fee to an applicant who is a service member or veteran who:

    (1) submits a complete application and any documentation required by the Board;

    (2) has received designation by the U.S. Armed Forces as a 12K Plumber or equivalent; and

    (3) has completed a minimum of 8,000 hours and four years of active duty field work as a 12K Plumber or equivalent.

    (c) As used in this section:

    (1) "Service member" means an individual who is an active member of:

    (A) the U.S. Armed Forces;

    (B) a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces;

    (C) the U.S. Coast Guard; or

    (D) the National Guard of any state.

    (2) "Veteran" means a former service member who received an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions from active duty not more than two years prior to submitting an application for licensure. (Added 1959, No. 215, § 12, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1961, No. 32, §§ 2, 3; 1969, No. 84, § 5, eff. April 18, 1969; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2017, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)

  • § 2195. Expiration and renewal; renewal; reinstatement; continuing education

    (a) All licenses expire on the last day of a month designated by the Board. A license shall be valid for two years. The Board shall renew a valid license issued under this chapter on receipt of an application for renewal and the required fee before the expiration date of the license.

    (b) If a licensee fails to renew his or her license prior to expiration, the licensee may reinstate the license within 90 days of its expiration by paying the reinstatement fee of $15.00 in addition to the renewal fee.

    (c) If the licensee fails to renew within 90 days of the expiration of the license, the licensee shall appear before the Board to request reinstatement.

    (d) After July 1, 1996, applicants for license renewal shall provide to the Board evidence of completion of eight hours of continued training or instruction, approved by the Board, within the previous 24-month period. (1959, No. 215, § 13, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1969, No. 84, § 6, eff. April 18, 1969; 1991, No. 234 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 16.)

  • § 2196. Repealed. 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 19.

  • § 2197. Penalty

    Any person who installs any plumbing or specialty installation or who advertises as such, except as provided in section 2198 of this title, without first having obtained an appropriate license under this chapter or who employs a person to perform any plumbing work for which the employee is not licensed or procures any license wrongfully or by fraud, shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 for each offense. (1959, No. 215, § 15, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1967, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. March 20, 1968; 1969, No. 84, § 8, eff. April 18, 1969; 1979, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 17.)

  • § 2198. Exceptions; license not required

    (a) All plumbing and specialty work performed in Vermont shall be performed by persons licensed under this chapter except that a license shall not be required for the following types of work:

    (1) Any plumbing and specialty work performed by an owner or the owner's regular employees in the owner-occupied, freestanding single family dwelling or in outbuildings accessory to the owner-occupied, single family dwelling.

    (2) Installations of plumbing systems in laboratories for experimental purposes only.

    (3) A person who regularly employs a maintenance person whose duties include the maintenance of plumbing on the property of that person.

    (4) Plumbing or specialty installations performed as part of a training project of a vocational school or other educational institution. However, the installation shall be inspected if the building is to be sold as a private dwelling or public building.

    (5) A person who performs miscellaneous jobs of manual labor on the person's own property in the course of which plumbing repairs or alterations are made.

    (6) For the construction, repair, or maintenance of buildings used exclusively for agricultural purposes and animal housing located on owner-occupied farms.

    (7) Work performed by employees of any public or private water company, who in the main course of their employment install, maintain, or repair water supply pipes, meters, or control valves.

    (b) Plumbing installed or maintained by persons included in this section shall conform to State law. (1959, No. 215, § 16, eff. June 2, 1959; amended 1969, No. 84, § 9, eff. April 18, 1969; 1979, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1993, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 18.)

  • § 2199. Inspections

    The Commissioner of Public Safety or designee may inspect premises subject to the rules adopted under section 2173 of this title. (Added 1979, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; amended 1999, No. 49, § 148; 2005, No. 8, § 16, eff. April 25, 2005.)