A plumber and a plumbing contractor are often seen as a distinction without a difference by the general public with many considering them to be the same. Unlike plumbers, plumbing contractors may be hard to find and are usually referred by homeowners or general contractors. Most homeowners rely on contractors to help plan and build sophisticated plumbing projects for their home.
Plumbing contractors like journeyman plumbers and master plumbers have attended a vocational or trade school. They have at least five years of plumbing experience. But a plumbing contractor only deals with certain types of projects involving new development, remodeling and renovation. A plumber contractor is not the person you would call to unclog your sink. Their job description entails more complex projects that require long-term planning and management.
Small plumbing companies are owned by plumbers and account for 14 percent of the industry. The owner may also be a contractor. Projects for a plumbing contractor would involve a home’s water supply and septic system, waste disposal system, gas connections, water heaters, gas control valves and back flow prevention.
During a home’s planning stages, contractors act as consultants. Plumbing contractors are effective leaders, communicators and problem solvers. They meet with supervisors, homeowners and designers to discuss procedures, designs or construction complaints. They make sure that the project is in compliance with local, state and federal building codes. Commercial projects require plumbing that also complies with federal legislation specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plumbing contractors – not master plumbers – conduct final inspections during the new construction phase.