Plumbing Permits: Balancing Quality and Affordability


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Aug 26, 2023
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I found an interesting discussion on Reddit and wanted to share it with you. There's a plumber in Illinois who mainly works on fixing things in people's homes. In this area, you need permits for almost all plumbing jobs, even for simple things like changing water heaters, garbage disposals, toilets, and kitchen faucets.

The plumber is worried about the extra time and money it takes to get permits for each job, especially because he does a lot of jobs every day. He is not sure if the city can handle checking all the extra work. The Reddit post brings up a good point about how these permit rules affect prices and competition among plumbing companies.

The plumber is concerned about the price increase for his service because of the permit rules. What do you think about this situation? Should permits be enforced more strictly, or should there be a more practical way of doing things?
United States
I think it really comes down to the location this person is in. Especially in the realm of service plumbing, or in a residential setting in this case. It can be confusing to know if a certain job requires a permit or not. Some locations may require a permit for every type of job, including basic replacements. But in other locations it may be acceptable to replace things like toilets or tubs. But any extensive work will require a permit.

If a permit is required for most plumbing work, even small, then you have to weigh the options. Most plumbers will instead focus their attention on bigger and more serious jobs, in turn making more sense to require a permit.

Considering plumbers also have a high rate of service, as in they have many jobs a day, it's not very practical to take smaller jobs if they also require a permit. They will instead prioritize bigger jobs so the permit requirement makes more sense and they're not wasting time obtaining a permit to replace a sink or toilet for example.

The alternative is making customers pay more for small jobs, which I don't think anyone wants to do. So I imagine some plumbers may try to get more work added to make the permitting process more bearable on the plumber and the customers.

Plumbers follow the code strictly and ensure high-quality work, which means if they need to do small jobs, they will adhere to the rules and get the required permit. Customers might just have to accept these higher rates, or find another plumber to handle it for less. Or they could work to change the rules for permitting in your respective area. Check with local officials about changing the rules.

Local regulations can always be changed with people voicing their concerns. I'm sure many plumbers have raised their concerns about this problem already. It really comes down to changing the permitting rules.

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