Alabama Plumbers & Gas Fitters Examining Board
Alabama Plumbers & Gas Fitters Examining Board Alabama Plumbers & Gas Fitters Examining Board
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TITLE 34

CHAPTER 37

PLUMBERS AND GAS FITTERS

(This is a compilation of the statutory text of the above chapter, for legal reference, annotations and amendments refer to a published text)

§ 34-37-1. Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have meanings respectively ascribed to them herein unless the context clearly requires a different meaning:

(1) Apprentice gas fitter or plumber. A person other than a master or journeyman gas fitter or plumber, who is engaged in learning and assisting in the installation of gas pipe, equipment, apparatus, and appliances, and shall work directly under the supervision of a journeyman or master gas fitter or plumber, and who has successfully fulfilled the registration requirements of the board and has been duly registered by the board as such for the current year.

(2) Board. The Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board as renamed by this chapter. The board shall examine, certify, and regulate plumbers, gas fitters, and medical gas piping fitters on a statewide basis pursuant to this chapter.

(3) Certification. The process of testing at the state level to determine the knowledge and skill of an individual with respect to plumbing and gas fitting, and the issuing of certificates to indicate that an individual has passed the examination.

(4) Gas fitting, gas systems, or gas work. The installation, repair of pipes, fixtures, fittings, appliances, or apparatus necessary for supplying natural gas for residential or commercial use from the point of delivery and all gas piping before connection to the combustion zone and including the applicable venting of flue gases to the outside atmosphere and the provisions for air for combustion and ventilation. This chapter shall not be construed to prevent any contractor certified by the Alabama Board of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors from installing, replacing, or performing service or repair on natural gas fired air heating/cooling appliances, excluding piping to them provided the installing contractor has a valid certificate issued by the Alabama Board of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors.

(5) Journeyman gas fitter. A person who engages in or works at the actual installation, repair, or replacement of gas work, who has successfully fulfilled the examination requirements of the board, has been issued a journeyman gas fitter certificate by the board, and possesses a valid and current annual certificate issued by the board. The certificate shall be available for inspection on request.

(6) Journeyman plumber. A person who engages in or works at the actual installation, repair, or replacement of plumbing systems, who has successfully fulfilled the examination requirements of the board, has been issued a journeyman plumber certificate by the board, and possesses a valid and current annual certificate issued by the board. The certificate shall be available for inspection on request.

(7) Master gas fitter. Any person engaged in or proposing to engage in the business of contracting to do, or of superintending the installation, maintenance, or repair of gas systems or gas work, either or both. The individual shall qualify to be a certified master gas fitter. If the business be a firm or corporation, at least one active employee of the firm or corporation shall be a duly registered and certified master gas fitter, actively and continuously connected with the conduct of said business. The master gas fitter shall have in his or her possession a current annual certificate issued by the board. The certificate shall be available for inspection on request.

(8) Master plumber. Any person engaged in or proposing to engage in the business of contracting to do, or of superintending the installation, maintenance, or repair of plumbing, or both. The individual shall qualify to be a certified master plumber. If the business is a firm or corporation, at least one active employee of the firm or corporation shall be a duly registered and certified master plumber, actively, continuously connected with the conduct of the business. The master plumber shall have in his or her possession a current annual certificate issued by the board. The certificate shall be available for inspection on request.

(9) Medical gas piping fitter. A master plumber or master gas fitter whose certificate bears an endorsement for installation of medical gas piping. A journeyman plumber or journeyman gas fitter whose certificate bears an endorsement for installation of medical gas piping shall be entitled to install medical gas piping under the direction of a master plumber or master gas fitter whose certificate entitles him or her to install medical gas piping. The medical gas piping fitter shall have in his or her possession a current annual certificate with endorsement issued by the board. The certificate shall be available for inspection on request.

(10) Medical gas piping. Piping used solely to transport gases used for medical purposes.

(11) Plumbing, plumbing systems, or plumbing work. The installation, repair, or replacement of pipes, fixtures, or other apparatus necessary either for supplying water or for removing liquid or waterborne waste. The term is also used to denote installed fixtures, drainage, vents, and water distribution systems.

§ 34-37-2. Board renamed; authority expanded.

The Plumbers Examining Board as created by Act No. 529 of the 1949 Regular Session of the Legislature (Acts 1949, p. 827), as amended, is renamed the Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board and the authority of the board is expanded to allow the board to examine, certify, and regulate plumbers, gas fitters, and medical gas piping fitters on a statewide basis. The board may make and enforce rules adopted in accordance with Chapter 22 of Title 41, the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.

§ 34-37-3. Appointments to board; composition.

The board members established by this chapter, shall continue to serve on the board as renamed by this chapter until the expiration of their current terms. Appointments shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate. Commencing on the effective date of the act amending this section, members shall serve until the expiration of their respective terms of office and shall vacate office on that date. The Governor shall designate the length of term for each of his appointees not to exceed four years. The board shall always be composed of the following members: One member appointed by the Governor shall be a master plumber as defined by this chapter; one member appointed by the Governor shall be a journeyman plumber as defined by this chapter; one member appointed by the Governor shall be a registered professional engineer licensed as such by the State Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors as provided in Article 2 of Chapter 11 of this title, or any subsequent act relating to the licensing of professional engineers; one member appointed by the Governor shall be a municipal or county building official; one member appointed by the Governor shall be a master gas fitter as defined in this chapter; one member appointed by the Governor shall be a journeyman gas fitter as defined in this chapter; and one member appointed by the Governor shall be appointed from the public at large. The member representing the public at large shall not be engaged or otherwise connected to the plumbing or gas industry or the installation of plumbing or gas work nor connected with any person, firm, or corporation handling or dealing in material, fixtures, or appliances connected with plumbing or gas work. The membership of the board shall be inclusive and reflect the racial, gender, geographic, urban/rural, and economic diversity of the state.

§ 34-37-4. Board; meetings; compensation; employees.

(a) The board shall meet when necessary for the proper performance of its duties, but in no case less than once a year. Meetings shall be held at places in the state as the board deems necessary. At its first meeting next following May 2, 1989, and every two years thereafter, the board shall organize itself by electing from its membership a chair, vice-chair, and a recording secretary. The board shall appoint, employ, or contract with an executive director for the board, and may appoint, employ, or contract with a deputy director, neither of whom shall be subject to the State Merit System. The executive director shall serve as treasurer of the board, but the deputy director may serve as treasurer of the board in the absence of the executive director or when otherwise directed by the board. In addition to any other duties, the deputy director may serve as a hearing officer for the board in any license proceeding pursuant to Section 34-37-12. The executive director and the deputy director shall not be a member of the board and shall not be engaged or otherwise connected with the plumbing or gas fitting industry. The board shall set the compensation of the executive director and the deputy director in accordance with regulations of the State Personnel Board. Four members of the board shall constitute a quorum for transacting business. Each member of the board shall receive as compensation for services the sum of two hundred dollars ($200) per day for each day spent in active service for the board. In addition to per diem compensation, each board member shall be reimbursed for any necessary expense incurred in performing duties as a board member. The expenses allowable to each board member shall not exceed the per diem amount of state travel expenses allowed by law, from time to time, for state employees traveling on state business. Employees of the board shall also be entitled to reimbursement for traveling expenses incurred when traveling on official board business at the rate for state employees traveling on state business. The board may employ or contract for stenographic or clerical help and compliance officers when needed, and may purchase necessary office supplies, equipment, and services.

(b) The compensation and expense provided for in this section, and all other authorized expenses, shall be payable solely from fees collected by or on behalf of the board. In no event shall any expense incurred by the board be charged against any funds of the State of Alabama other than the funds collected under this chapter.

§ 34-37-5. Deposit and disbursement of funds; bond of the executive director and deputy director.

(a) There is established a separate special revenue trust fund in the State Treasury to be known as the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board Fund. All receipts collected by the board under this chapter shall be deposited in this fund and used only to carry out this chapter. The fund shall be disbursed only by warrant of the State Comptroller upon the State Treasury upon itemized vouchers approved by the executive director of the board or, in the absence of the executive director, by the deputy director. No funds shall be withdrawn or expended except as budgeted and allotted according to Sections 41-4-80 to 41-4-96, inclusive, as amended, and only in amounts as stipulated in the general appropriation bill or other appropriation bills. Any funds unspent and unencumbered at the end of each fiscal year that exceed 25 percent of the board's budget for the previous fiscal year shall be transferred to the State General Fund.

(b) The executive director and the deputy director of the board shall, before entering upon the duties of their office, make and file with the Secretary of State an official bond in the sum of five thousand dollars ($5,000), unless covered by the state blanket bond. The appropriate premiums on the bond shall be paid out of the funds of the board, and the bond shall be executed by an approved bonding fidelity or guaranty company qualified to do business in Alabama and acceptable to the Secretary of State.

§ 34-37-6. Certification of compentency; requirement, application - Board's duties.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to purchase a business license or to do or perform, or to contract, direct, or superintend any plumbing, gas fitting, or medical gas piping within any incorporated city or town or county of this state unless the person has first received a certificate of competency, hereinafter referred to as "certificate," that is in force and effect at the time the plumbing, gas fitting, or medical gas piping is done, directed, or superintended, except as hereinafter provided.

(b) The board shall register every person who may apply for an apprentice plumber or gas fitter registration certificate upon forms provided by the board, upon first paying all prescribed fees.

(c) The board shall examine and pass upon the qualification of every person who applies for a journeyman's plumber or gas fitter certificate upon forms provided by the board. An applicant for examination for a journeyman's plumber or gas fitter certificate shall submit proof that the applicant has two years of work experience as an apprentice plumber or gas fitter or has completed an apprentice training program approved by the board. Applicants for journeyman plumber or gas fitter shall be examined, orally or in writing, upon the fundamentals of plumbing or gas fitting, the theory and practice of plumbing installation and construction or gas fitting work, and the experience and ability of the applicant in practical plumbing installation and construction or gas fitting work. If the applicant is found to possess an accurate knowledge of the theory and correct practice of plumbing installation and construction or gas fitting work, and sufficient experience and ability in plumbing installation and construction or gas fitting work to safely and competently apply that knowledge and practice, the board shall issue a certificate, upon the applicant first paying all prescribed fees. The examination shall be administered by an independent examining agency.

(d) The board shall examine and pass upon the qualifications of every person who applies for a master's plumber or gas fitter certificate upon forms provided by the board.

  1. Applicants for examination for a master plumber certificate shall submit proof to the board that the applicant has at least one year of work experience as a journeyman plumber.
  2. Applicants for examination for a master gas fitter's certificate shall submit proof to the board that the applicant has at least one year of work experience as a journeymen gas fitter.
  3. An applicant for a master's certificate shall be examined upon knowledge, training, and ability, in the planning, laying out, and supervision of plumbing installation and construction work or gas fitting work, and if found to possess those qualifications, the applicant shall be issued a master's plumber or gas fitter certificate by the board.

(e) No person shall be issued a certificate without passing the prescribed examination. A person who has passed the examination shall not be required to take the examination thereafter in order to secure a certificate in subsequent years. At least four examinations per year shall be conducted, at a time and place prescribed by the board after reasonable notice.

(f) Any master plumber, master gas fitter, journeyman plumber, or journeyman gas fitter performing medical gas piping shall provide proof to the board that he or she has successfully completed a current medical gas piping certification program approved by the board. The approval by the board shall be indicated by endorsement as a medical gas piping fitter on his or her certificate. Any journeyman performing medical gas piping shall work under the direction of a master plumber or master gas fitter whose certificate entitles him or her to install medical gas piping.

§ 34-37-7. Reexamination.

Any person who fails to pass an examination may, upon reapplication and payment of the regular examination fee, be reexamined at any subsequent examination given by the board.

§ 34-37-8. Renewals; acceptance and inspection of certificate.

(a) Any person who holds a certificate issued by the board shall be issued statewide certification upon the renewal of their existing certificate.

(b) Any certificate issued by the board shall be acceptable by any city, town, or county in the state and any existing local statute or ordinance contrary to this section is repealed, and no other competency certification or examination shall be required of plumbers, gas fitters, or medical gas piping fitters by any local governmental entity.

(c) Any current registration or annual certificate issued to any person by the board shall be in possession of the person at any time he or she engages in or proposes to engage as a master, journeyman, or apprentice plumber, gas fitter, or medical gas piping fitter, as the case may be, and upon request he or she shall make the certificate or registration available for inspection and identification by any person or persons for whom he or she engages or proposes to engage as such, and for identification by plumbing, gas, or other authorized enforcement personnel of any governmental entity, board, or agency when requested.

§ 34-37-9. Fees; reissuance fees; exceptions.

The board shall set the necessary fees to administer the requirements of this chapter and when adopted, such fee schedule shall be in lieu of any fee schedule heretofore prescribed by said board. The board shall not change the fee schedule to be effective in the middle of a calendar year.

The certificates provided for herein shall be issued by the board upon the payment of the prescribed fees. All annual certificates shall expire on December 31 of the year in which they are issued. The certificate fees herein prescribed shall be in addition to all privilege or license taxes otherwise levied. Certificates renewed after December 31 shall include the late renewal penalty established by the board.

All applicants requesting replacement of lost or stolen certificates shall be required to pay a $5.00 reissuance fee based on the regular fee schedule.

All persons serving in the armed forces will not be required to pay any back years for a renewal certificate during the calendar year he is released from active military duty. All other persons shall pay back years unless proof satisfactory to the board is furnished indicating that the individual was not employed in such years in the plumbing or gas fitting trade.

§ 34-37-10. Temporary certificate.

The board may issue a temporary revocable certificate for journeyman classification one time only to any person pending such person's examination for a certificate, if such person furnishes satisfactory proof that he holds a license or certificate to practice as a journeyman plumber or gas fitter in any state wherein plumbers and gas fitters are required to meet prescribed standards before engaging in the trade of journeyman plumber or gas fitter. Any such temporary certificate during the effective period thereof shall have the force and effect of an annual certificate; but no such temporary certificate shall be effective for a period of more than 90 days from the issuance thereof, or until the next examination, whichever is longer. Prior to receiving any such temporary certificate, the applicant therefor shall be required to pay to the board one half of the annual certificate fee provided for journeyman plumber or gas fitter, as the case may be. Additional test dates for master plumber and master gas fitter examinations may be given at the discretion of the board.

§ 34-37-11. Reciprocal agreements.

The board may establish reciprocal agreements with any other state licensing or certifying board which recognizes, as a minimum, the standards prescribed by the board, and may allow certified plumbers and gas fitters to receive a license in this state without taking examinations if such plumber or gas fitter is licensed in the reciprocating state.

§ 34-37-12. Revocation of certificates.

The board may revoke or suspend any certificate if obtained through concealment, misstatement or misrepresentation of any material fact in the application for such certificate, or for a willful violation of any law or ordinance pertaining to the business of the holder of such certificates. Before a certificate may be revoked, the holder thereof shall have notice in writing, enumerating the charges against him, and be entitled to a hearing by the board not sooner than five days from receipt of notice. The holder of such certificate shall be given an opportunity to present testimony, oral or written, and right of cross-examination and representation by counsel. All testimony shall be given under oath. The board shall have power to administer oaths, issue subpoenas, and compel the attendance of witnesses.

The decision of the board shall be based on the evidence produced at the hearing and made a part of the record thereof. The person whose certificate has been revoked shall not be permitted to apply for a license for one year from the date of revocation.

Hearings shall be conducted by a hearing officer appointed by the board. Said hearing officer may be a board member, the executive director or such other person as the board may deem fit and proper to hold such hearing. The testimony adduced at said hearing, along with all other proceedings, shall be taken down by a competent stenographer and shall be preserved as a record of the board and shall be open to the public inspection at all reasonable times. A copy of said record so adduced shall be furnished to each member of the board, and no license shall be revoked unless a majority of the board members concur with the revocation of same.

No annual certificate shall be issued to any certificate holder whose certificate shall have been revoked by the board after such hearing until one year from and after the date of such revocation unless the certificate holder whose certificate shall have been so revoked shall enter into a bond with good and sufficient surety in the penal sum of $1,000 to faithfully comply with the provisions of this chapter and of all rules and regulations and codes adopted by the board, provided, however, that such certificate holder whose certificate shall be so revoked may within five days after such revocation appeal from the board's decision or revocation to the circuit court of the county in which said certificate holder resides, does business or is employed.

§ 34-37-13. Master plumber's and gas fitter's bond.

In order to protect the public from damages arising from plumbing and gas fitting or plumbing work and gas fitting work failing to comply with the requirements of any state laws applicable thereto, or with the ordinances of any municipal corporation applicable thereto, it is hereby provided that before any person engages in the business of master plumber or master gas fitter, he shall execute and deposit with the judge of probate in the county of his principal place of business a bond in the sum of $2,000.00. Such bond shall be a cash bond of $2,000.00 or executed by a surety authorized and qualified to write surety bonds in the state of Alabama, and shall be approved by the probate judge. Such bond shall be conditioned upon all plumbing and gas fitting work done or supervised by such master plumber or master gas fitter complying with the provisions of any laws or ordinances relating to plumbing and gas fitting and applicable thereto. Action on such bond may be brought against the principal and surety thereon in the name of, and for the benefit of, any person who suffers damages as a consequence of said master plumber's or master gas fitter's work not conforming to the requirements of any laws or ordinances pertaining to plumbing and gas fitting and applicable thereto, provided, however, that the aggregate liability of the surety to all persons so damaged shall, in no event, exceed the sum of said bond.

§ 34-37-14. Wrongful use of certificate; notification of address; inactive status affidavit.

(a) No person who has obtained a certificate shall allow his name to be used by another person, either for the purpose of obtaining permits, or doing business or work under his certificate; and every person certified shall notify the board of the address of his place of business and the name under which such business is carried on, and shall give immediate notice to the board of any change in either.

(b) Before any person certified by the board engages in the business of master plumber and/or master gas fitter, he shall notify the board of the address of the place of business he or she engages in as such and the name under which such business is carried on and shall give immediate notice of any change in either. All information required by this section shall be furnished on a business certification form furnished by the board.

(c) Any certified master plumber or master gas fitter who desires to renew his annual certificate but does not intend to engage as a master shall complete an inactive status affidavit obtained from the board.

§ 34-37-15. Acts, works and conduct permitted, without license; chapter not applicable to specific natural gas utility companies.

(a) The following acts, work, and conduct may be performed by anyone, without license or certificate, provided, however, that all work and services herein named or referred to shall be subject to an inspection and approval in accordance with the terms of all state laws and applicable municipal ordinances:

  1. Plumbing work done by a property owner in or about a building owned or occupied by him or her.
  2. Plumbing or gas fitting work done by anyone who is regularly employed or acting as a maintenance man acting under the supervision of a maintenance engineer or maintenance engineer incidental to and in connection with the business in which he is employed and engaged, provided said plumbing or gas fitting work is done on the premises of said employer, and who does not engage in the occupation of a plumber or gas fitter for the general public.
  3. Maintenance and reinstallation work done upon the premises or equipment of a railroad, other businesses or industry, by an employee thereof who does not engage in the occupation of a plumber or gas fitter for the general public.
  4. Plumbing or gas fitting work done by persons engaged by any public utility company in the laying, maintenance and operation of its service mains or lines and the installation, alteration, adjustment, repair, removal, and renovation of all types of appurtenances, equipment, and appliances, provided such plumbing work does not necessitate tying into waste or sewer lines on the outlet side of a trap or alter gas piping on consumer side of meter.
  5. Appliances or fixture installations and service work done in connecting appliances or fixtures to existing piping installations.
  6. Any person may install washing machines to existing piping installation or waste lines, provided such plumbing work does not necessitate tying into waste or sewer lines on the outlet side of the trap.

(b) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any natural gas utility company having fewer than 350 employees that is regulated by the Alabama Public Service Commission.

§ 34-37-16. Restrictions.

(a) No person shall use nor allow their certificate to enable anyone other than the certificate holder and his employees directly supervised by the certificate holder to perform plumbing or gas fitting. Local officials may require the certificate holder to be present if any problems develop on the work.

(b) No certificate issued by the board can be sold or transferred. Any certificate which is misused may be revoked by the board.

§ 34-37-17. Violation; penalty.

It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any provision of this chapter regulating plumbers, gas fitters, or medical gas piping fitters. Any person convicted of such violation shall be punished as prescribed for a Class B misdemeanor.

§ 34-37-18. Repealer.

All laws or parts of laws which conflict with this act are hereby repealed and Act No. 529, H. 977, 1949 Regular Session (Acts 1949, p. 827), is hereby specifically repealed.


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