The Difference Between a Plumber and a Plumbing Contractor

The Difference Between a Plumber and a Plumbing Contractor

Is there a difference between plumbers and plumbing contractors? How are they different?

The terms are used interchangeably to refer to any plumbing professional, so it gets confusing.

But there is a difference in the level and degrees of work that a plumber or plumbing contractor can handle.

If you have a common plumbing problem — a clogged toilet or sink, a leaky faucet — a plumber is someone you call. He will know how to resolve everyday bathroom or kitchen problems. However, his knowledge may not be validated by the state because he may or may not have the necessary training, experience or license to be a plumbing contractor.

What Can a Plumber Do?

Plumbers are usually the ones we call on to fix a plumbing emergency. From burst pipes to overflowing toilets, they handle most residential plumbing issues. They are all minor repairs of the plumbing system. Plumbers can also install common plumbing fixtures like faucets, toilets, sinks, bath tubs, showers, shower drains, food disposers, hot water dispensers, and more. Most plumbers who have been in the trade for a few years are experienced with these common plumbing tasks around the home.

Installation or repair of common plumbing fixtures include:

• faucets
• toilets
• sinks
• bathtubs
• showers
• shower drains
• food disposals
• hot water dispensers
• water filtration

How are Plumbing Contractors Different from Plumbers?

Plumbing contractors work around the bigger picture, working on the structural aspects of a building’s plumbing. They are mostly involved with new construction, remodeling, and renovation, handling the plumbing tasks that include the water line main, sewage pipes, septic system, and more.

A commercial plumbing contractor understands different codes and permits than what is necessary for a residential plumber. And it requires different materials to fix, and a variety of installation processes that simply don’t matter in the average residential household. Commercial plumbing will take more wear and use. Plumbing pipes for facilities like high-rise apartments, offices, retail, and hospitals have to handle higher water pressure and be build to withstand hundreds of uses daily. Commercial plumbing contractors also have the experience to work in tandem with other subcontractors, which become important when meeting deadlines and deliverables for the general contractor, as well as building owners and developers.

Plumbing contractors are skilled to perform more complex tasks than your average plumber. They cover rough plumbing, finished plumbing and service and maintenance that include all of the tasks that a plumber can do. You might find a plumbing contractor working on water heaters, including gas or electric, or tankless water heater. Plumbing contractors also install gas control valves, back flow prevention, water conditioning and softening equipment, and other devices and appliances that building owners want to connected to the water system that require a professional installer. This is not a complete description of all of the tasks that a plumbing contractor can be involved in. Most plumbing contractors are also trained in handled construction and service for nearly any request.
Plumbing contractors may also be called in as consultants during the planning stages of a project, and provide crucial knowledge to make sure that a new construction or existing repair is in compliance with local, state, and federal building codes. This also covers that commercial plumbing complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA compliant).

• Create and install complex plumbing elements, especially for new construction
• Work to construct DWV (drain, waste, vent) lines including waste disposal system
• Install gas connections and flues and water heaters (including gas, electric, or tankless)
• Install gas control valves, back flow prevention, water conditioning and softening equipment, and other appliances that may be connected to the home’s water system
• Provide consultation during pre-construction – working alongside architects, construction engineers and inspectors, plumbing contractors are instrumental in making sure new construction or renovation is in compliance with local, and federal building codes (and that commercial plumbing complies with all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
• Provide final inspection of plumbing work for either new construction or renovation.
• Water main and water leak repair
• Slab leaks and gas leaks

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