The Illinois General Assembly has "declared" that individuals who plan, inspect, install, alter, extend, repair and maintain plumbing systems shall be individuals of proven skill. Plumbers must demonstrate their competence to an official examining board prior to being issued a license. A plumbing code is valueless if its provisions are not observed and enforced.
The issuance of a license by either the State of Illinois or the City of Chicago means that its holder is qualified both theoretically and practically and that their technical knowledge is sufficient to maintain the standards of the code. In order to qualify for licensing, the applicant must:
- Have been employed as an Illinois licensed apprentice plumber under proper supervision for at least 4 years preceding the date of application.
- Submit evidence that he or she has successfully completed an approved course of instruction in plumbing.
- Note that in Illinois, plumbers affiliated with unions serve a five-year apprenticeship—one year longer than required by state law. These individuals spend more than 1,200 hours in the classroom over this time period.
In order to maintain a plumbing license in Illinois, the completion of at least 4 hours of approved continuing education courses is required each year.
Is licensing intended to prevent anyone but a plumber from doing sanitation work? No, licensing prohibits the untrained, irresponsible, incapable person from endangering the health of your family, neighbors, and community.
The state requires that, like a doctor, nurse, dentist or pharmacist, anyone whose work affects the public health and safety shall have adequate knowledge and training. No one wants a "quack doctor" to treat his or her family or a "soda clerk" to fill his or her prescriptions. For precisely the same reasons, one does not want a "handyman" to do work which can adversely affect the health of family, employees or neighbors in his or her home, office or factory.
Done improperly, this work would probably need to be rectified at the time the property changed hands, which means paying twice for the same work.
Both State of Illinois and City of Chicago licenses contain a picture of the licensed individual. City of Chicago licenses begin with PL or BC and have four or five digits after the letters. Licenses beginning with SL are not valid for plumbing work. To verify City of Chicago licenses call (312) 744-3895. State of Illinois licenses begin with 058 for plumbers and 056 for apprentices, followed by 6 digits. To verify State of Illinois licenses call (217) 524-0791.