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Check for proper licensing first.

When you have a plumbing project that may require excavation work that needs immediate, high-quality service, be sure to check your service provider’s licensing before you hire them to do the job. Proper licensing is crucial whether you are managing the repair and replacement of water, sewer or fire service lines.

Time and time again, RK Service technicians receive calls from property owners who hired a provider to perform work on their property without proper licensing and now need to hire a properly licensed company to complete the job. Though the service provider likely offered to complete the job for a lower price, hiring a company to complete a plumbing project, including excavation work, without proper licensing is extremely risky for the property owner.

Why proper plumbing and excavation licensing is essential.

For example, did you know that fire and water lines are tied to the same mainline? When working on a fire or water line, your service provider must flush and chlorinate the line to properly complete the repair or replacement. If lines are not properly flushed, water lines can become contaminated, affecting the quality and safety of the drinking water for your tenants and potentially other buildings that utilize the same city water line.

These requirements are essential for public health and safety. Unfortunately, many plumbing companies may lack proper licensing or are unaware of license requirements.

What happens if you hire an unlicensed contractor to work on your project?

Though they may offer you a better price for the job, never hire an unlicensed company to do your plumbing work. Here are the top reasons why:

  • If the provider is caught operating without the proper licensing, they may lose their rights to obtain the necessary licensure, incur a large fine, and be forced to cease to perform the mitigation work they were hired to complete, ultimately leaving you with a mess and an unfinished project.
  • As a property or business owner, you could receive a lien on your property due to hiring a company that does not have proper licensing. At the end of the day, the property owner is responsible for the quality of work. For example, the City of Denver can fine the property owner if the street is not properly completed at the end of the project.

What type of licensing should my service provider have?

Many property owners are unaware the company they hired cannot perform certain services. As a property owner, ensure you understand what types of licensing your service provider needs to complete the work they are hired to perform.

Here is a simple guide to types of licenses that may be used in conjunction with plumbing work. Depending on the project’s location and the type of work to be performed, ensure your provider has the proper license to complete the job.

Types of licenses

  • Right-of-Way (ROW) Licenses:  Various locations may have different regulations. However, ROW licenses are generally required if performing work in the public right-of-way or on other public property for the jurisdiction licensed in. In addition, there are several sub-categories under ROW, such as Cement Sidewalk Contractor, Sewer Contractor, Excavation Contractor, Paving Contractor, Special Contractor, and Structural Contractor.
  • Drainlayer License:  This license is required for a Sewer Contractor if the company does not employ a Master Plumber. This license is typically used for drain laying, replacement/repair of sewer lines, storm lines and drainage channels. 
  • Fire Suppression Systems Contractor – Underground: Underground fire line is the start of any fire protection system as it supplies water to the fire sprinkler systems protecting your facility. A customer may need an excavation service to repair, replace and install an underground fire line.
  • Utility Contractor License: A license that incorporates the use of tapping and is performed without shutting down the primary utility line, commonly referred to as a wet tap. The license is used to complete work on a sewer connection or where a building’s sanitary sewer system connects to a city or municipality sewer system. This classification of work is performed by a licensed plumber or utility contractor, and local ordinances must be checked to confirm the correct license.
  • Water Service License: This license is used to install or repair service lines and appurtenances from the main up to and including downstream valves. When a water main bursts or breaks and impacts the city water line system, a water service license is required to make repairs.

Research first, then hire.

Hiring a company with proper licensing helps reduce costs in the long run and reduces the time of displacement and discomfort for tenants as the job will be completed the first time properly. Spending more time researching and confirming proper licensing is always worth the effort. To ensure the company hired is licensed and can pull the proper permits for your job, call the city first to verify their licensing status.

If you have a water crisis that requires remediation, repair and installation services, RK Service is fully licensed and ready to work on any job, big or small. For information on RK Service and our emergency 24/7 response time, visit