In 2020, the Legislature passed significant changes to plumbing laws (SB 6170). Changes to Chapter 18.106 RCW went into effect July 1, 2021. This page addresses many of the frequently asked questions about the new laws.

Plumbing Licensing Requirements FAQs

    Why did the Legislature recently pass significant changes to plumbing laws?

    New changes to the plumbing laws is the result of an industry sponsored bill that addresses the following:

    • Certified plumber shortages.
    • Expands training opportunities for the plumbing industry.
    • Increased consumer protection.
    What are the requirements to get a plumbing contractor license?

    The following is required to become a licensed plumbing contractor:

    • Complete the Application for Plumbing Contractor License.
    • Obtain a Surety Bond or Assigned Savings Account $6,000.
    • Obtain a Certificate of Liability Insurance ($250,000 combined per occurrence. amount) on which L&I must be the certificate holder. A certificate of insurance must be filed each year prior to the expiration date of the policy or the registration will become automatically suspended and reinstatement fees will be assessed.
    • Complete and notarize application.
    • Pay the required application fee.
    • Have a designated plumber on staff that carries a certification with Labor & Industries.
    How do I apply to become a licensed plumbing contractor?

    To become a licensed plumbing contractor you need to have a new $6,000 bond, $250,000 general liability insurance, and have a designated plumber assigned to your business that is properly certified with Labor & Industries.

    Those interested in becoming a licensed plumbing contractor can apply by completing the plumber application listed on Labor & Industries website, getting your application notarized and submitting it with your bond and insurance documents to Labor & Industries.

    Note: Applications must be submitted by mail the first time you apply.

    Do general construction contractors, registered under RCW 18.27, who also want to be licensed plumbing contractors under RCW 18.106, need to have a separate bond and insurance for both?

    Yes, general contractors will need to have a bond for each, if operating as a general construction contractor and licensed plumbing contractor.

    Can those who plan on registering as a general construction contractor, or those who are already registered under RCW 18.27 perform plumbing work?

    No, general contractors who are bidding on projects that require plumbing work, must be a licensed plumbing contractor under Chapter 18.106 RCW to perform plumbing work, or must subcontract the work to a licensed plumbing contractor.

    When do plumbers have to wear their plumber certification ID?

    The plumber certification ID must be immediately available for examination at all times and be visibly displayed on the front of the upper body to validate competency.

    Are there times when a plumber can remove their plumber certification ID?

    The certification ID must be immediately available for examination at all times and be visibly displayed on the front of the upper body to validate competency.

    See WAC 296-400A-024 for more information pertaining to when the certificate can be worn inside protective clothing.

    Can a specialty plumbing contractor or a plumbing contractor register as a general contractor under RCW 18.27 keep the same registration number as on their new plumbing license under RCW 18.106?

    No, the registration numbers are issued under different laws with different bonds. So you will be issued a new number.

    Can specialty plumbing contractors or general construction contractors registered under 18.27 who want to switch their registration to become a licensed plumbing contractor under RCW 18.106 use their existing bond and liability insurance?

    A separate bond is required for each certification, registration, or license held. The liability insurance policy can be the same, but you will need to submit a separate certificate for each certification, registration, and license held, showing the correct license area as the policy holder. This is because a bond is a one-time payout and liability insurance is a per occurrence payout.

    When does a licensed plumbing contractor have to designate a certified plumber to Labor & Industries?

    A licensed plumbing contractor must assign a journey level plumber or specialty plumber as their designated plumber to meet the requirement of RCW 18.106.400(4). The department will require the designated plumber to be identified on the plumber contractor license application.

    What are the penalties for performing, bidding, and advertising plumbing work without being a licensed plumbing contractor?

    Not maintaining your plumbing license can result in penalties ranging from $500.00 to $5,000.

    Can general construction contractors registered under RCW 18.27 who are required to have a UBI number with the Department of Revenue use the same UBI number for their license as a plumbing contractor under RCW 18.106?

    Yes, you can use the same UBI number unless you want to change entities.

    When will the plumbing contractor license expire?

    A plumbing contractor license expires twenty-four calendar months following the day of its issuance.

    Will Labor & Industries immediately enforce the new requirements?

    As long as you maintain your current Contractor Registration during the transition period, you will be in compliance. Current active registrants will be allowed to operate under the rules with their active contractor registration until they receive their new plumber license from L&I or September 1, 2021, whichever is first.