West Virginia Code
The provisions of this article are intended to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public as well as public and private property by assuring the competence of those who perform plumbing through licensure by the Commissioner of Labor.
As used in this article:
(a) "License" means a valid and current license issued by the Commissioner of Labor in accordance with the provisions of this article.
(b) "Journeyman plumber" means a person qualified by at least eight thousand hours of plumbing or related experience and who is competent to instruct and supervise the work of a plumber in training.
(c) "Master plumber" means a person with at least twelve thousand hours of plumbing work experience and who is competent to design plumbing systems, and to instruct and supervise the plumbing work of journeyman plumbers, and plumbers in training.
(d) "Plumber in training" means a person with interest in and an aptitude for performing plumbing work but who alone is not capable of performing plumbing work, and who has fewer than eight thousand hours of plumbing experience.
(e) "Plumbing" means the practice, materials and fixtures utilized within a building in the installation, extension and alteration of all piping, fixtures, water treatment devices, plumbing appliances and appurtenances, in connection with sanitary drainage or storm drainage facilities; the plumbing venting systems; medical gas systems; fuel oil and gas piping for residential, commercial and institutional facilities; backflow preventers; and public or private water supply systems, as defined by the state building code.
(f) "Single family dwelling" means a building which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a single residence for one or more persons.
(a) On and after January 1, 2009, a person performing or offering to perform plumbing work in this state shall have a license issued by the Commissioner of Labor, in accordance with the provisions of this article.
(b) A person licensed under this article must carry a copy of the license on any job in which plumbing work is being performed.
(c) This article does not apply to:
(1) A person who personally performs plumbing work on a single family dwelling owned or leased by that person or by a member of that person's immediate family;
(2) A person who performs plumbing at any manufacturing plant or other industrial establishment as an employee of the person, firm or corporation operating the plant or establishment;
(3) A person who performs plumbing work while employed by an employer who engages in the business of selling appliances at retail, so long as such plumbing work is performed incidental to the installation or repair of appliances sold by the employer;
(4) A person who, while employed by a public utility or its affiliate, performs plumbing in connection with the furnishing of public utility service;
(5) A person who performs plumbing work while engaging in the business of installing, altering or repairing water distribution or drainage lines outside the foundation walls of a building, public or private sewage treatment or water treatment systems including all associated structures or buildings, sewers or underground utility services;
(6) A person who performs plumbing work while engaged in the installation, extension, dismantling, adjustment, repair, servicing or alteration of a heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, air-veyor system, air exhaust system or air handling system;
(7) A person who performs plumbing work at a coal mine that is being actively mined or where coal is being processed; or
(8) A person who performs plumbing work at manufacturing, industrial and natural gas facilities.
Any person who has served as a member of the United States armed forces, National Guard, or reserve, and who has successfully completed the course of instruction required to qualify him or her for rating as a plumber, utilities worker, or other equivalent rating in his or her particular branch of the armed forces, and whose service in the armed forces was under honorable conditions, may submit to the West Virginia Commissioner of Labor a photostatic copy of the certificate issued to him or her certifying successful completion of such course of instruction, a photostatic copy of his or her discharge from the armed forces, an application for a certification as a plumber, and the prescribed license fee.
If the certificate and discharge, as evidenced by the photostatic copies thereof, and the application and prescribed license fee are in order, and if the veteran meets all of the requirements of this article, the veteran shall be permitted to take the same examination or examinations as are required under this article for applicants who do not apply for a license under the provisions of this article: Provided, That the veteran may be required to attend additional training courses prior to taking the examination if more than 30 years have passed from his or her successful completion of the course of instruction and date of application. If the veteran passes the examination or examinations, he or she shall be licensed as a plumber and shall thereafter be subject to all of the provisions of this article. If the veteran does not pass the examination or examinations, any provisions of this article relating to reexaminations shall apply to the veteran the same as they apply to a person who does not apply for a license under the provisions of this article.
The Commissioner of Labor shall propose rules for legislative approval, in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this article, which shall provide:
(1) Standards and procedures for issuing and renewing licenses, including classifications of licenses as defined in this article, applications, examinations and qualifications;
(2) Provisions for the granting of licenses without examination, to applicants who present satisfactory evidence of having the expertise required to perform work at the level of the classifications defined in this article and who apply for licensure on or before July 1, 2009: Provided, That if a license issued under the authority of this subsection subsequently lapses, the applicant is subject to all licensure requirements, including the examination;
(3) Reciprocity provisions;
(4) Procedures for investigating complaints and revoking or suspending licenses, including appeal procedures;
(5) Fees for testing, issuance and renewal of licenses, and other costs necessary to administer the provisions of this article;
(6) Enforcement procedures; and
(7) Any other rules necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article.
The Commissioner of Labor and his or her Deputy Commissioner or any compliance officer of the Division of Labor as authorized by the Commissioner of Labor is authorized to enforce the provisions of this article, and may, at reasonable hours, enter any building or premises where plumbing work is performed and issue cease and desist orders for noncompliance.
(a) The Commissioner of Labor may deny a license to any applicant who fails to comply with the rules established by the Commissioner of Labor, or who lacks the necessary qualifications: Provided, That the commissioner shall apply §21-1-6 of this code to determine if the prior criminal conviction bears a rational nexus to the license being sought.
(b) The Commissioner of Labor may, upon complaint or upon his or her own inquiry, and after notice to the licensee, suspend or revoke a licensee’s license if:
(1) The license was granted upon an application or documents supporting the application which materially misstated the terms of the applicant’s qualifications or experience;
(2) The licensee subscribed or vouched for a material misstatement in his or her application for licensure;
(3) The licensee incompetently or unsafely performs plumbing work; or
(4) The licensee violated any statute of this state, any legislative rule or any ordinance of any municipality or county of this state which protects the consumer or public against unfair, unsafe, unlawful, or improper business practices.
(a) On and after January 1, 2009, a person performing or offering to perform plumbing work without a license issued by the Commissioner of Labor, is subject to a cease and desist order.
(b) Any person continuing to engage in plumbing work after the issuance of a cease and desist order is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, is subject to the following penalties:
(1) For the first offense, a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000;
(2) For the second offense, a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2,000, or confinement in jail for not more than six months, or both;
(3) For the third and subsequent offenses, a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000, and confinement in jail for not less than thirty days nor more than one year.
(c) A separate offense means each day, after official notice is given, that a person performs plumbing work that is unlawful or is not in compliance with the provisions of this article.
(d) The Commissioner of Labor may institute proceedings in the circuit court of the county where the alleged violation of the provisions of this article occurred or are occurring to enjoin any violation of any provision of this article. A circuit court by injunction may compel compliance with the provisions of this article, with the lawful orders of the Commissioner of Labor and with any final decision of the Commissioner of Labor. The Commissioner of Labor shall be represented in all such proceedings by the Attorney General or his or her assistants.
(e) Any person adversely affected by an action of the Commissioner of Labor may appeal the action pursuant to the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
On and after January 1, 2009, a political subdivision of this state may not require, as a condition precedent to the performance of plumbing work in the political subdivision, a person who holds a valid and current license issued under the provisions of this article, to have any other license or other evidence of competence as a plumber.
All fees paid pursuant to this article shall be paid to the Commissioner of Labor and deposited in a special revenue account in the State Treasury to be known as the Plumbing Work Fund and expended for the implementation and enforcement of this article. Through June 30, 2019, amounts collected which are found from time to time to exceed funds needed for the purposes set forth in this article may be utilized by the commissioner as needed to meet the division’s funding obligations: Provided, That beginning July 1, 2019, amounts collected may not be utilized by the commissioner as needed to meet the division’s funding obligations.