What is a Licensed Plumber (LP) in Singapore?

In Singapore, a licensed plumber (LP) is an individual authorized by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) to carry out water service and sanitary plumbing works. The licensing ensures that plumbing works adhere to the standards set by the PUB, safeguarding the quality of potable water and ensuring proper sanitation.

Overview

In Singapore, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) oversees the licensing and regulation of plumbers as authorised by the Public Utilites Act 2001 to ensure the safety and quality of water supply and sanitation systems.

This article delves into the specifics of what it means to be a licensed plumber in Singapore, the scope of their work, the licensing requirements, and the recent revisions to these requirements.

By adhering to the guidelines set by the PUB, Singapore maintains its commitment to sustainable and safe water management, ensuring that plumbing services align with the nation's high standards.

Plumbing Works in Accordance to the Public Utilities Act 2001

  1. Carrying Out Plumbing Work:

    • The Act stipulates that no person shall execute any water service or sanitary plumbing work unless they are licensed as a water service plumber or a sanitary plumber. However, individuals can carry out such work under the direct supervision of a licensed plumber.
  2. Engaging Plumbers:

    • For any water service or sanitary plumbing work, it is imperative to engage a licensed plumber. While the actual work can be done by someone else, it must be under the direct oversight of a licensed professional to ensure adherence to the standards set by the Board.
  3. Plumber's Duties:

    • Licensed plumbers have a duty to adhere to the provisions of the Act and any regulations made under it. They must ensure that their work, or the work done under their supervision, is competent and aligns with the standards set by the Board. Any deviation or contravention can lead to penalties, including the revocation or suspension of their license.
  4. Authority's Role:

    • The Board, under the Act, has the power to give directions to licensed plumbers regarding the execution of any water service or sanitary plumbing work. This ensures that all plumbing work aligns with the standards and regulations set forth by the Board.
    • The Board plays a pivotal role in ensuring the quality and standards of plumbing work. They are responsible for issuing licenses to individuals deemed competent to carry out water service or sanitary plumbing work.
    • The Board also has the authority to revoke or suspend the license of any plumber who contravenes the Act's provisions or if the plumber is deemed to have carried out work incompetently.

The Public Utilities Act 2001 was enacted to reconstitute the Public Utilities Board in Singapore and address matters connected therewith. This legislation governs various aspects of public utilities, including the regulation of water supply, the licensing and duties of plumbers, and the protection and management of the coastal zone.

The Act ensures that standards are maintained in the provision and management of public utilities, safeguarding the interests of consumers and the environment.

To read the rest of the act, download a copy of the Public Utilities Act 2001 (2020 Revised Edition). This file incorporates all amendments up to and including 1 December 2021.

How to Check for a Valid Plumber License

To verify the validity of a plumber's license in Singapore, individuals and businesses can enter a plumber's full name, surname, or license number into the official licensed plumber search tool provided by the Public Utilities Board (PUB).

The tool allows users to search for verify that the plumber they are engaging is authorized to carry out water service and sanitary plumbing works.

Scope of Work for Licensed Plumbers

In Singapore, licensed plumbers are authorized to undertake a broad spectrum of water service and sanitary works. Their responsibilities include:

  1. Water Service Works:
    • Tap and Mixer Adjustments: Replacing or removing taps or mixers.
    • Accessory Adjustments: Handling accessories connected to taps, such as shower hoses, connecting hoses for appliances, and flexible hoses.
    • Pipe and Cistern Adjustments: Managing pipes between stop valves and water heaters, and replacing parts of flushing cisterns.
  2. Sanitary Works:
    • Fixture and Fitting Adjustments: Installing or replacing washbasins, sinks, bathtubs, shower trays, urinals, and related fixtures.
    • Blockage Clearances: Clearing blockages and chokes in floor traps, water closets, or sanitary appliances.
    • Sewage and Sullage Maintenance: Addressing issues related to the conveyance of sewage or sullage water.

By understanding the scope of work that licensed plumbers can undertake, individuals and businesses can ensure that they are compliant with Singapore's regulations and that their plumbing systems are maintained to the highest standards.

Licensing Requirements

To become a licensed plumber in Singapore, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  1. Educational Qualifications:
    • Possess a Builder Certificate/Advanced Builder Certificate in Plumbing & Pipe Fitting or Trade Diploma in Plumbing Technology issued by the BCA Academy or Nitec Certificate in Facility Technology issued by ITE.
    • Alternatively, hold a Diploma or Degree in Civil, Building, Environmental, or Mechanical Engineering disciplines with at least a Builder Certificate in Plumbing & Pipe Fitting (Practical).
  2. Experience:
    • Have at least 2 years of relevant post-qualification experience.
    • Provide proof of working under a licensed plumber's supervision during this period.
  3. Relevant certificates.
    • Documentation of relevant plumbing works experience with the name and signature of a PUB Licensed Plumber.
  4. Mentorship and Assessment:
    • Upon acceptance of the application, the individual must attend a mandatory 40-hour mentorship program conducted by the Singapore Plumbing Society.
    • After completing the mentorship, the individual must sit for a written and oral assessment. A license will be issued upon passing these assessments.

Revisions to the Licensing Requirements

In an effort to continually uphold the standards of plumbing works in Singapore, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) introduced significant revisions to the licensing of plumbers. These changes were implemented from 1 April 2018.

Timeline: Current (Before 1 Apr 2018)

  • Water Service Plumbing Works: Can only be executed by PUB Licensed Water Service Plumbers (LWSPs). There was no change in this regard.
  • Sanitary Plumbing Works: A license was not required for these works.

Timeline: Effective Date (From 1 Apr 2018 – 30 Sep 2018)

  • Water Service Plumbing Works: Works can only be executed by PUB Licensed Plumbers (LPs) and PUB LWSPs. There was no change for the LWSPs.
  • Sanitary Plumbing Works: Works can only be carried out by PUB Licensed Plumbers (LPs) or SPS-registered sanitary plumbers.

Non-SPS registered, freelance plumbers had the following restrictions:

  • They could work under the direction of LPs.
  • They could work under the direction of current LWSPs or SPS-registered plumbers, but only until 30 Sep 2018.

Timeline: After Transition Period (From 1 Oct 2018 onwards)

  • Water Service Plumbing Works & Sanitary Plumbing Works: All plumbing works can only be executed by LPs.

Plumbers without a license can only work under the direction of LPs.

Why these revisions were made

These revisions underscore PUB's commitment to ensuring that water service and sanitary plumbing works are carried out by qualified individuals, thereby guaranteeing the safety and quality of Singapore's water supply and sanitation systems.

Following the implementation of these changes, the distinction between PUB Licensed Water Service Plumbers and SPS-Registered Sanitary Plumbers was eliminated, consolidating both into a single category: Licensed Plumbers.

For a detailed overview of the specific changes and their implications, interested parties can refer to the official press release provided by PUB. This document offers insights into the rationale behind the revisions and provides guidance on the updated requirements for obtaining a plumber's license.

Conclusion

The Public Utilities Board (PUB) has set forth clear guidelines and licensing requirements in accordance to the Public Utilities Act 2001 to ensure that only qualified individuals undertake critical plumbing tasks. This not only guarantees the safety and quality of water but also ensures the longevity and efficiency of the plumbing infrastructure.

As consumers, understanding these regulations and the scope of work of licensed plumbers is crucial. It empowers individuals and businesses to make informed decisions, ensuring that the plumbing services they engage align with the nation's high standards. In a nation dedicated to preserving the integrity of such a precious resource, such stringent measures reinforce Singapore's commitment to sustainable and safe water management.

Written by
Zames is the co-founder of Repairs.sg and a skilled technician with seven years of hands-on experience serving thousands of customers in the field. He holds a builder certificate in plumbing and pipefitting and an air-conditioner installer's license. He is concurrently enrolled in the Licensed Electrician Preparatory Course at Singapore Polytechnic, attending classes in the evenings to pursue his electrician's license while co-managing the operations of Repairs.sg during the day.