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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plumber in the City of Richmond
Single-family residents of the City of Richmond using less than six cubic feet of water monthly will be receiving a water/wastewater bill lesser than $110 per month. If you found yourself receiving a bill in far excess of this amount, then it is time to invite a qualified plumber in the city to help fix undetected leakage. Note, a household leak from a dripping faucet or broken toilet can waste over 90 gallons of water per day. However, before you settle for any plumber, it is wise to ask the following question to be sure you are hiring the best hand for the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Richmond?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Richmond?
- Do You Comply with the City of Richmond Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Richmond Code?
- What Kind Of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Richmond?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Richmond?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Richmond
The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation(DPOR) is responsible for licensing plumbers who wish to carry out any project or repairs in the City of Richmond. This department offers three types of licenses for plumbers, which are journeyman, master, and plumbing contractor licenses. Requirements for the journeyman plumber and master plumber licenses involve examinations, and plumbers that wish to take these examinations must meet certain requirements as defined by the DPOR based on the license type.
For the journeyman plumbing license, a plumber must provide any of the following:
- two years of practical experience in the trade and a certification showing the fulfilment of a two-year program from either a trade/technical school or a community college;
- four years of practical experience in the trade and 240 hours of formal vocational training in the trade;
- five years of practical experience in the trade and 160 hours of formal vocational training in the trade;
- six years of practical experience in the trade and 80 hours of formal vocational training in the trade;
- a bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline related to the trade and one year of practical experience in the trade;
- ten years of practical experience in the trade, verified by a witness who observed the candidate's work in the trade
For the master plumbing license, the plumber must have:
- at least one year of experience as a licensed Journeyman or 10 years of practical experience in plumbing, verified by a witness who observed the candidate's work.
For a plumbing contractor license, a Virginia Class A, B, or C license which determines the monetary value of contracts/projects that may be performed is required along with a master plumber license.
Operating without a contractor's license is a class one criminal offense in Virginia, and it attracts a fine of no more than $2,500, a jail term of no more than 12 months, or both. The statute of limitations for the crime of operating without a plumbing license, which is the time restriction for which a case may be brought against an offender, is one year.
You can confirm the licensing status of your plumber by making use of the DPOR's license lookup webpage or by calling (804) 367-8504.
The amount you will be charged for hiring a plumber is dependent on factors like the nature or complexity of the job, the cost of materials needed, and the intensity of the labor required for the job. However, obtaining and comparing estimates from various plumbers around you is a good way to you ensure that you hire a plumber whose costs fit your budget for the plumbing job.
A plumber in the City of Richmond earns an annual average wage of $50,960. Below is a breakdown of the Average hourly wages for plumbers in Richmond compared with plumbers in other parts of Virginia and other major cities in the country:
The City of Richmond implements the Richmond Plumbing Code, which is a subset of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code that sets the standard for the construction of buildings and structures. This code is implemented to ensure that these construction and plumbing activities are done in a manner that maintains the safety of the residents of the city and the conservation of water and power. As such, it covers a wide range of regulations for the construction, repair, and maintenance of fixtures, faucets and fixture fittings, water heaters, water supply and distribution, sanitary drainage, traps, interceptors, and separators.
As much as it is important to verify that your plumber is duly licensed, it is also essential to ensure that your intended plumber is conversant with, and abides by, the regulations provided in the plumbing code when carrying out fittings and repairs. To get more information on the plumbing code, you can contact the resources section of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development at (804) 371-7000.
In line with Section 30-1060 of the Richmond Code of Ordinances, plumbing works in the City of Richmond typically require a permit before they can be carried out. However, not all plumbing work requires these permits. For instance, the installation of residential kitchen cabinets and the replacement of plumbing fixtures without water supply or distribution alteration generally do not require permits.
Plumbing permits are issued by the Richmond Department of Planning and Development Review (DPDR). Application for residential permits can be made through the City of Richmond's Online Permit Portal (OPP), while commercial permits application can be done by submitting relevant plans using the city's OneDrive Portal. Application processing takes a maximum of three weeks, and permit applications are typically assessed in the order in which they are received. You can also visit the DPDR office at:Permits and Inspections Office
900 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 a.m., Mondays to Fridays
After the issuance of permits, the city's Bureau of Permits and Inspection carries out inspections throughout various stages of the project until completion. These inspections are done virtually or through a third-party inspection service, and they are carried out to ensure the safety of lives and compliance with the building code of the city. Inspection scheduling and inquiries can be made by calling the Bureau of Permits and Inspections' customer service line at (804) 664-4169 or via email.
Plumbers in the City of Richmond are generally categorized by the kind of plumbing services they offer, which can either be commercial, residential or service and repair plumbing services. Commercial plumbers are typically responsible for the installation or repair of plumbing systems in large facilities such as industrial structures, factories, and other similar structures, while residential plumbers are responsible for plumbing work within residential structures. Likewise, service and repair plumbers are responsible for the repair and maintenance of plumbing systems in both residential and commercial structures. It is important that you ascertain that the plumber you intend to hire is skilled in the area of plumbing service you require.
On average, homeowners in the City of Richmond pay about $250 - $400 for plumbing services. Note that this figure does not include the cost of materials, permits, or inspection fees. Below is a list of the estimated costs of some plumbing services in Richmond:
Every plumbing problem should be treated as an emergency, no matter how insignificant it may appear. In many cases, these seemingly insignificant problems are usually a warning of worse problems to come. Burst pipes, blocked drains, running toilets, and water hammers are just a few of the usual issues that can lead to an emergency. In the United States, over 10 percent of homes have household leaks that waste 90 gallons of water or more per day. With residents of Richmond city paying $1.31 and $1.25 per cubic meter for water and sewage charges respectively, it can be very costly to overlook plumbing problems in the house. While it is good to treat every plumbing problem as a matter of urgency, it can be a pain in the neck to get an inexperienced or unlicensed hand to handle these situations. As such, it is shrewd to ensure that your plumber is both licensed and skilled to work on the problem at hand. You can find high-quality and trusted plumbers professionals around you by looking up third-party websites like Better Business Bureau and Yelp.
Plumbing is a hazardous occupation, and working at heights or in confined spaces typically increases the chances of an on-the-job accident happening. Other common hazards a plumber may face include: asbestos poisoning, repetitive movement injury, eye injury, hearing loss, and extreme temperature injuries. This is why it is very risky to both the client and the hired plumber when the plumber is not insured. As a result, you should ensure that the plumber you intend to hire is appropriately insured in order to protect yourself in the event of unforeseen events. This insurance can help cover the cost of treatment for plumbers who were injured while working.
The City of Richmond makes provision for two insurance types for plumbers. These are the general liability insurance, which covers the plumber in the event of an injury or property damage, and the workers' compensation insurance, which is required for any plumber who employs more than two workers, including subcontractors. This particular type of insurance covers medical bills and lost wages when a worker is injured on the job. Note that, even though general liability insurance is not required for plumbers, it is prudent to ensure that the plumber you wish to engage is fully covered. You should always request proof of this insurance and authenticate it with the appropriate insurance provider.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Richmond
In June 2021, a local man reportedly scammed a Richmond couple out of thousands of dollars under the guise of being a licensed contractor. The scammer was subsequently charged with felony construction fraud, obtaining money under false pretenses, and misdemeanor working without a contractor's license by the Dinwiddie Sheriff's Office.
There are different signs of possible plumbing scams in Richmond. Some of these signs include:
- Requests for only cash payment or full upfront payment
- Undue pressure to make quick decisions
- Reduced price offers for projects with claims that materials from previous jobs will be used
- Insistence on verbal contracts or refusal to put plumbing costs in writing
- Providing quotations on the spot without inspecting the work area
- Contract changes, especially cost increments, in the middle of a job
- Lack of identification or credentials
Outlined below are some tips to follow when hiring plumbers in the City of Richmond to avoid plumbing scams:
- Hire only licensed plumbers.
- Validate the contractor's license status and check for complaints against them through the Virginia Board for Contractors' license lookup portal or by calling (804) 367-8511.
- Request references from the plumber in question and also review the plumber's past work.
- Get and compare written estimates from at least three plumbers.
- Don't just go after the lowest bid, request an explanation of the plumber's price.
- Ensure you have a detailed and signed contract agreement document that includes the duration of work, cost implication for materials, terms, or promises.
- Don't just go after the lowest bid, request an explanation for the low price.
- Don't pay cash or pay in full until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
- Keep all paperwork.
In the event that you fall victim to a plumbing scam, you can file a complaint with the Virginia Attorney General's Office online. You can also seek further assistance by calling this office's consumer protection hotline at (804)-786-2042.