New Plumbing Licensing Requirements
In 2020, the Legislature passed significant changes to plumbing laws (SB-6170). This page highlights a few of the changes, including the creation of a new plumbing contractor license. Plumbing and related industries worked together to propose the changes to address certified plumber shortages, expand plumber training opportunities, and increase consumer protection.
How to apply
The plumbing contractor application is now live. To register with L&I as a licensed plumbing contractor, you must:
- Obtain a Surety Bond or Assigned Savings Account $6,000.
- Obtain a Certificate of Liability Insurance.
- Complete and notarize application.
- Pay the required application fee.
- Have a designated plumber on staff that carries a certification with Labor & Industries.
Phase 2 rules are being finalized to implement the changes to Chapter 18.106 RCW, which took effect July 1, 2021. Learn more about the rules. Additional phase 3 rule making will begin soon focused on some outstanding items and the phase out of the construction contractor plumbing specialty.
Check back often for updates, or stay informed about the new requirements by signing up for our email distribution list below. Review the new licensing requirements FAQs.
Beginning July 1, 2021, the “specialty plumbing” registration was no longer valid, and general contractors could no longer perform work with a certified plumber. All plumbing contract work must be performed by a new Licensed Plumbing Contractor under Chapter 18.106 RCW.
- Licensed plumbing contractors can choose to also be registered as general contractors under Chapter 18.27 RCW, to perform non-plumbing works such as installing cabinets, tile, etc.
- Plumbing contractors must designate to L&I, a certified plumber as the “dedicated plumber” for their company. This could be an owner/partner or a full-time employee.
While waiting to receive their new license, applicants should maintain their existing registration to remain in good standing with permitting and compliance authorities.
As of July 1, 2021, general contractors who are offering, advertising, and/or bidding on projects that require plumbing work, must subcontract that work to a licensed plumbing contractor.
- General contractors can choose to also be licensed as plumbing contractors under Chapter 18.106 RCW to perform contract plumbing work.
While waiting to receive their new plumbing contractor license, applicants should maintain their existing registration to remain in good standing with permitting and compliance authorities.
Residential Service Plumbers
Residential Service Plumber is a new category in the plumbing program. These plumbers can perform service work on an existing “single family dwelling and/or duplex.”
- On existing structures, a residential service plumber can service, repair, or replace previously existing fixtures, piping, and fittings that are outside the interior wall or above the floor, often, but not necessarily in a like-in-kind manner.
- This new plumbing type requires 2 years or more (at least 4,000 hours) working as a plumber trainee under the supervision of a journey level, residential specialty, or residential service certified plumber.