Licensed plumbers : why are they important?

The importance of water conservation is a familiar message that most Singaporeans are well-acquainted with. Indeed, in a water-scarce country such as ours, the need to know how to manage water resources efficiently cannot be emphasised at a more appropriate time than the present, given the ongoing dispute regarding the 1961 and 1962 water agreements with Malaysia.
In a related effort, the government has since stepped up measures to protect our water resources: since 6th February 2018, sanitary plumbers – those working with used water pipes – are required to be licensed by the Public Utilities Board (PUB), in addition to water-service plumbers (who deal with drinking water). As mentioned by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore’s infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex, and so there is an urgent need for proper installation of systems to prevent cross-contamination between potable and non-potable water.

What is the difference in job scope for licensed and unlicensed plumbers?

As of 1 April 2018, unlicensed plumbers in Singapore may only carry out simple plumbing works, for example, clearing chokes, replacing taps and shower heads, and installing sinks, bathtubs, and the like. Simple tasks like these can be easily handled by an unlicensed plumber. However, without a license, the plumber will not be able to afford a national guarantee of safety. Therefore, there is clearly an incentive for plumbers to apply for a license. A license enables plumbers to undertake more complex tasks such as handling sewerage and drainage work, installations and repair of water pipes, handling water storage tanks, and more. Clearly, obtaining a license is more beneficial for plumbers, since it allows them to earn more business!
Indeed, Singapore legislation also prohibits consumers from hiring unlicensed plumbers for more complex tasks – they could be fined up to SGD10,000, and jailed up to 12 months.

How do I qualify to become a licensed PUB plumber?

It is relatively simple for unlicensed plumbers to become licensed in Singapore. PUB holds two main intakes of applications every year – in June and in December – for those who meet the minimum qualifications and requirements. This includes (1) relevant education in plumbing provided by a local education institution, and (2) relevant experience in the industry.

The precise pre-requisites are:

  • A Builder Certificate or Advanced Builder Certificate in Plumbing & Pipefitting or Trade Diploma in Plumbing Technology issued by the BCA Academy, or
  • Nitec Certificate in Facility Technology issued by ITE; or
  • A Diploma or Degree in Civil, Building, Environmental or Mechanical Engineering disciplines with at least a Builder Certificate in Plumbing & Pipefitting (Practical);
    as well as
  • Proof of a minimum of 2 years relevant post-qualification experience or concurrent experience, under a licensed plumber’s supervision.
If you have fulfilled the above requirements, then you may apply online for a license at PUB. It is as simple as that! Once qualified, a licensed plumber will receive a PUB license card, which serves as an easy means of identification.
What are the risks of hiring an unlicensed plumber instead of a licensed plumber?
We always tend to take work on by ourselves to save costs, thinking, “what’s the worst that could happen?” Singaporeans, especially, tend to think in this way to save as much costs as possible.

Choose between a licensed and an unlicensed plumber

One of the most important difference between an unlicensed plumber and a licensed one is the amount of training and experience each has. Although not all unlicensed plumbers lack training, or are inexperienced, licensed plumbers are always equipped with the knowledge and expertise of removal, repair, and replacement works. This is because, as mentioned earlier, relevant work experience is a basic requirement before PUB confers a license. Therefore, in hiring a licensed plumber, there is no need to worry about whether he is sufficiently experienced and able to complete the plumbing works – by virtue of the license granted, he is more than capable of delivering proper plumbing services.
The next crucial difference lies in the quality of work delivered: it should be no surprise that PUB enforces stringent standards of quality for plumbing works, and therefore quality assurance is guaranteed if you engage a licensed plumber. On the other hand, if you hire an unlicensed plumber, the quality of work delivered may not be consistent, or may even be poor. Plumbing works, for instance, changing a shower head, repairing a broken water valve, or installing a toilet seat may seem deceptively simple, but if handled by an inexperienced plumber, could result in severe water leakages around your home and even behind the walls of your household. Water can easily seep through gaps in concrete walls, and cause damage to the infrastructure of your house.
Kitchen sink tap with water flowing
Failed plumbing works may cause disastrous permanent damage to your household, especially to walls and ceilings.(Image credit: houseinforme.blogspot.com)
In such cases of failed plumbing works, the costs of remedying the situation could be even greater than if the task was left to a licensed plumber from the beginning. Therefore, it is wiser to rely on professional, reliable, and licensed plumbers to carry out the works for you.
iimafix provides quality plumbing services. Contact us at 8798 8911 or 6252 2884 to discuss your needs, or for a free non-obligatory on-site survey!
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