The Vermont Licensed Plumbers Association (VLPA)
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The Vermont Licensed Plumbers Association (VLPA)

A Message from Our Director

Dear Reader,

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting our site. I hope you find the information you are looking for on vlpa.org. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me directly.

Regards,
Brad Talbot

Front row left to right:   Brad Talbot, Dave Nolan, Mike Giroux, Ed Butler, Ed Bryce,
Ray Spaulding
Back row left to right:   Herb Heath, Larry Lindelof, John Madden

A Brief History of The VLPA

Back in 1991, a group of licensed plumbers got together over an issue that caused them deep concern. The issue was the removal of ‘gas piping’ from the purview of the plumbing code. This was accomplished by the State of Vermont without input from Vermont plumbers. Guess what? The plumbers were hot! A core group developed from those 1991 meetings and in 1992, they formed the ‘Vermont Licensed Plumbers Association, Incorporated’. Using the acronym, VLPA, the group got Vermont Domestic non-profit status and elected directors and officers.

They immediately began to review state plumbing rules, codes, and statutes. In the 1992-94 legislative biennium, VLPA sponsored a plumbing bill, H.443. With the help of lobbyists from Vermont Resolution Associates and many generous donations, H.443 was adopted and signed by then Governor Howard Dean. Among other changes, H.443 mandated the establishment of the first plumbing continuing education requirements for any New England State. Since then, all the other New England states have followed suit.

Following up on a promise made (to the now defunct Vermont Department of Labor and Industry in 1994), the VLPA held its first full-day continuing education seminar at Vermont Technical College (VTC) in January 1995. From those humble beginnings, the VLPA has expanded its curriculum to also include both Gas installer and VT Fuel Oil installer CEU hours. Additionally, in 1996, the VLPA began to present half-day seminars using the Vermont Interactive Technologies (VIT) system. These CEU programs continue today.

Aside from CEU classes, during the 1990’s and up to the present, the VLPA continued pressing to have the plumbing rules cover all residences in Vermont. Several other bills were sponsored during that time, but change comes slow and no progress was made. One notable exception to the lack of progress was the ‘reinterpretation’ of Vermont’s plumbing statute section § 2198 by the Vermont Attorney General’s (AG) office. In 2000, the Department of Labor and Industry agreed to have the AG’s office render an opinion on 2198. The VLPA claimed that the language was inclusive because it states, “All plumbing and specialty work performed in Vermont shall be performed by persons licensed under this chapter….” On the other hand, the Department was claiming that ‘all’ didn’t mean all individuals who worked on residences not covered by the rules of the Board. The AG ruled that since the exemptions under 2198 were approved by the legislature, the Department couldn’t establish their own exemptions without Legislative approval. Therefore, ‘all’ did indeed mean that all plumbing in Vermont, regardless of where it was performed, had to be performed by licensed individuals (with the 2198 exceptions noted).

Although it was a victory for the residents of Vermont, it had a hollow heart, since there is no enforcement. To this day, individuals who perform plumbing and heating in residences not covered by the rules have to be licensed, but no work notice or inspection is required! The reality is, that in these residences, anyone can perform the work with impunity from State oversight. Many homeowners have paid and continue to pay a steep price due to this unfortunate fact.

Finally, in 2006, the Vermont Licensed Plumbers Association, Inc.’s board of directors and officers deliberated over the 15 years of work they had performed. With the exception of one individual, the directors and officers had remained the same for the full time. A campaign was mounted to fill upcoming vacant seats due to pending retirements. Unfortunately, no replacements came forward. Facing the fact that a quorum would be impossible to maintain, the board weighed its options and unanimously voted to dissolve the corporation and turn the operations over to Brad. With a promise to the board, Brad agreed to direct the association and continue its work.

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