Plumbing regulations could be down the drain

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Plumbers across the state are concerned about the potential end of their regulating board. This comes after lawmakers failed to pass a bill extending the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners.

If the board is abolished after September 1, so are any requirements for someone to call themselves a plumber, but as of now–Governor Greg Abbott is telling plumbers to hold tight.

Local plumbers are worried the potential loss of the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners will affect business, but also public health and, of course, their customers.

“Plumbers protect the health and safety of everybody around you. It’s not just clogged pipes, stopped toilets, and stuff like that. It’s also the gas that runs into your house, the water. You want clean water to drink, you want to be able to cook with gas. You want to know that it’s all been installed safely and up to code regulation,” said General Manager of New Construction of Frank’s Repair Plumbing, Frank Willburn.

Governor Greg Abbott sent out a reassuring tweet Tuesday. It reads:

TEXAS PLUMBERS: We’ve got this. The Legislature has given the Governor many tools in my toolbox to extend the State Board of Plumbing Examiners for two years without needing to call a special session. We will let you know very soon.  Don’t worry.

Kenneth Willburn of Frank’s Repair Plumbing said if the board is abolished in September, cities will likely be overwhelmed by the new responsibilities of regulating plumbers and technicians–causing chaos in the meantime.

“The homeowners need to know they need to hire somebody that is licensed and qualified so they can have a peace of mind. Insurance companies will not pay for work done by an unlicensed contractor if something were to go wrong, so homeowners’ insurance rates will go up if there’s no licensing because there will be no way to qualify a technician or a plumber,” said Willburn.

He said it is important to know–unlicensed plumbers and contractors are not required to carry liability insurance–placing a massive burden on customers when mistakes are made.

Several plumbers we have spoken with today told us they will march with other Texas plumbers in Austin on June 14 to hopefully have their concerns heard and resolved at the capitol.

We will continue to follow this story–including how Gov. Abbott follows through on his assurance to extend the board for two more years.

The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners is responsible for licensing plumbers and enforcing the state plumbing code.

Gov. Abbott has not given specifics on his plan for extending the agency’s life without calling a special session.

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