Plumbing & Fuel Gas Inspections

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Inspection Staff

 *Inspectors are assigned to four different depot offices. They are in their offices between 6:45 - 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 - 3:00 p.m. 

Gaithersburg/Seneca Depot
(301) 206-7365

The Gaithersburg Depot staff perform plumbing and gasfitting inspections in Northern and Central Montgomery County
Senior Plumbing Inspector: Tom Spurrier

Lyttonsville Depot
(301) 206-7340

The Lyttonsville Depot staff perform plumbing and gasfitting inspections in Central and South Montgomery County
Senior Plumbing Inspector: Jim Mohr

Temple Hills Depot
(301) 206-7302

The Temple Hills Depot staff perform plumbing and gasfitting inspections in Central and Southern Prince George's County
Senior Plumbing Inspector: Joe Gavin

Anacostia Depot
(301)206-4363
The Anacostia Depot staff perform plumbing and gasfitting inspections in Central and Northern Prince George's County
Senior Plumbing Inspector: Cliff Carey
Inspection Services Unit Coordinator                           Edward Iames   (301) 206-8616

Detailed Inspection Service Unit Contact Information

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Homeowner Information

WSSC Plumbing and Gasfitting Regulations (Code) require that a WSSC licensed plumber/gasfitter perform most major plumbing projects within Prince George's or Montgomery Counties. This requirement is in place to protect you the homeowner. The WSSC works to ensure that installations meet minimum Code requirements for safety, durability, and longevity. Examples of work that must be performed by a WSSC licensee are: construction of a new home; water/sewer service line repairs and replacements; interior re-pipes; all gas work such as furnace replacements and gas water heater replacements. Section 106.11 of Code for Plumbing Work by Homeowners. The best way to find a reputable plumber is by word-of-mouth. Once you have selected a plumber, he/she should provide you with their WSSC license number. To verify their license status, you may call WSSC's Licensing Office, at (301) 206-8588. A few words of advice:

ALWAYS INQUIRE BEFORE YOU HIRE
GET A CONTRACT IN WRITING OR YOU MAY BE FIGHTING
MAKE THEM FINISH HALF-WAY BEFORE YOU PAY

To schedule a WSSC inspection for work performed under a short-form permit, you will need to obtain the short-form permit from the plumber, and follow the instructions on the back of the short-form permit.

 
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Plumbing Work by Homeowners

106.11 Work by Homeowners. Homeowners may perform the following plumbing work in their own residential unit as provided in this Section.

106.11.1 Work Not Requiring Permits. A homeowner may perform classes of plumbing work that do not require a permit as set forth in Section 106.2.

106.11.2 Work Allowed Under a Homeowner Permit. A homeowner may perform most classes of work normally performed by a plumber, except those items set forth in Section 106.11.5, provided that the conditions for a homeowner permit have been satisfied in accordance with Sections 106.11.3 and 106.11.4.

106.11.3 Conditions for a Homeowner Permit.

106.11.3.1 Building Type. The premises shall be a Group R-3 occupancy (single family detached house or an attached row style house).

106.11.3.2 Separate Services. Building water and building sewer services shall be provided by separate Commission service connections, i.e. not shared with or serving any other property, or shall be provided by private well and/or septic systems.

106.11.3.3 Ownership. The applicant shall provide proof, such as property records, that the applicant is the bona fide owner of the premises. The applicant shall sign an affidavit indicating that they are the bona fide owner and occupant of the premises and that the premises are not being built or remodeled for sale or for rent. The affidavit shall state that all work shall be performed by the applicant in strict compliance with this Code and approved drawings including All inspections, tests, re-inspections when required due to failed inspections, re-inspection fees, and other administrative requirements normally required of licensed plumbers.

106.11.4 Additional Applicant Requirements

106.11.4.1 Codebook. Depending on type of work to be performed, the applicant shall be required to purchase a copy of the WSSC Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code and/or the applicable model code.

106.11.4.2 Written Test. The applicant shall be required to pass a written test appropriate to the proposed plumbing work. The test shall include questions about general trade knowledge of plumbing and basic code requirements. The test shall be open-book, shall have a time limit, and shall be administered by the Commission or its exam consultant. The applicant shall be permitted to re-take the written test one time, if it is failed.

106.11.4.3 Drawings. The applicant shall submit floor plans and/or riser diagrams for approval, as directed by the Code Official, and shall install the work in accordance with this approval. 

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Work Not Allowed

106.11.5 Work Not Allowed.

The following work shall not be performed by homeowners:

  • Below grade piping deeper than 4 feet, including repair of water or sewer services deeper than 4 feet, or piping that crosses other utilities.
  • Connection to a Commission water or sewer service connection: This work shall be performed by a WSSC-licensed Master Plumber. 
  • Installation and testing of testable backflow devices.
  • Gasfitting installations, including the installation or replacement of a gas-fired water heater or appliance.
  • Work on public property, Commission-owned structures or appurtenances.

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Where Permits Not Required

106.2 Exempt Work. The following work shall be exempt from the requirement for a permit. Exemption from the permit requirement of this Code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in violation of the provisions of this Code or any other laws.

106.2.1 Repairing Leaks. The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe, provided that if any concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and an inspection made as provided in this Code, subject to the provisions set forth in Section 106.2.2.

106.2.2 Ten-Percent Rule, General. Within the building envelope including below grade, if less than 10-percent (nominal) of the existing piping for a system, sub-system, or fixture group is replaced, a permit and inspection shall not be required. This shall not preclude the licensee from obtaining permits and inspections for such work if so desired.

106.2.2.1 Other than Group R-3 Occupancies. The intent of the 10-percent rule exclusions in Section 106.2.2 shall be applicable to minor repairs and replacement piping only. In buildings other than Group R-3 occupancies, a permit and inspection shall be required for more extensive work if more than 10-percent (nominal) of a floor level, wing, or area is involved, even though the floor level, wing, or area defines less than 10-percent (nominal) of the total building plumbing.

106.2.2.2 Repairs Below Grade. Repairs to outdoor piping below grade shall not be exempt work and shall require a permit and inspection. Examples of repair work requiring a permit shall include, but shall not limited to: Building sewer, building water service, grinder pump replacement, and site utility water and sewer piping.

106.2.2.3 Repairs to Gas Piping. Repairs to gas piping shall not be exempt work and shall require a permit and inspection.

106.2.3 Plumbing Maintenance. The clearing of stoppages in fixture branches; the repairing of incidental leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures; or the removal and reinstallation of existing or new plumbing fixtures, residential type plumbing appliances, non-testable backflow devices, and plumbing appurtenances; provided that such repairs do not involve or require the replacement of concealed piping, or the rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.

106.2.4 Gas Appliance Maintenance. Replacement, repair, or adjustment of gas controls, burners, or minor components; luminous and portable appliances; to the extent that such replacement shall not alter the condition of previous approval or render such equipment unsafe.

106.2.8Special Exception, Federal Property. Pursuant to federal regulation or written agreement, where property is owned by the federal government and where buildings are being erected or improved, plumbing, fuel gas and/or site utility systems shall not require WSSC permits or inspections. See WSSC code language under this section for complete information.

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Required Permits

106.1.1 General. Any owner, authorized agent or contractor who desires to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any plumbing, site utility, or fuel gas system, the installation of which is regulated by this Code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the Commission and obtain the required permit for the work. All work identified in this Code, except for "Exempt Work" set forth in Section 106.2, shall be installed under a Long Form or Short Form Plumbing/Gasfitting permit, or under a Site-Utility permit.

106.1.2 Required Inspections. It shall be the licensee's responsibility to ensure that all work is inspected and approved in accordance with Section 107 of this Code.

106.8 Required Permits: A Long Form permit shall be required for all new plumbing and fuel gas work requiring one or more inspections, including major alterations or additions and design retrofit work; and for any plumbing work requiring the establishment of a new WSSC customer account.

106.8.1 Expiration: A Long Form permit shall expire and shall become null and void if the work authorized by the permit is not commenced within 30-months from the date of issuance of the permit, or if the work authorized by the permit is suspended or abandoned for a period of 30-months at any time after the work is commenced. Before the originally permitted work can be recommenced, a new permit shall first be obtained and the new permit fee shall be one-half the amount required for a new permit for the work, at current rates; and at the full amount for any additions to the permit since the original application.

106.8.2 Commission Sub-Meter Permit Application: The applicant shall be responsible for providing accurate account information including name, address; and main water meter ID and serial number.

106.9 Short Form Permit: A Short Form permit shall be allowed for the replacement, repair, or alteration of existing plumbing and fuel gas systems, fixtures, or appliances requiring only one inspection.

106.9.1 Limitations: A Short Form permit for a singular inspection shall be limited to 3 items, fixtures, or appliances. Private meters and fees for future gas appliances shall be considered as items. Gas appliances shall be limited to 450,000 Btuh each. Only one address or one occupancy unit shall be listed on each permit. Only one inspection shall be performed for each permit.

106.9.2 Re-Inspection Fee: A Short Form shall also be used as a method of collecting payment as a "re-inspection fee" as cited in Sections 107.2.1.8 and 107.3.4. Subsequent inspection requests shall not be honored until the re-inspection fee has been paid.

106.9.3 Activation: A Short Form permit shall be activated through the scheduling of the inspection upon completion of the work.

106.9.4 Expiration: A Short Form permit shall expire if not activated 4-months from the date of purchase, without benefit of refund.

106.10.1 Licensee Request: The licensee may be released from completing work that has been authorized under a permit by submitting a written request to the permitting services unit.

106.10.2 Owner Request: Transfer of a permit prompted by a property owner shall require a written request by the owner to the Commission. The request shall include the owner's name, property address, and owner's phone number. The Commission shall notify the original licensee of the transfer. 

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Miscellaneous Forms and Documents

Plumbing

Gasfitting

For questions concerning these requirements, you may call (301) 206-8886, or e-mail us.

If your WSSC licensed Master Plumber repairs or replaces your on-property service line (water line), and you plan to request a cancellation of the excess water/sewer charges due to the leakage, you must provide WSSC's Correspondence Services Unit with a plumber's invoice describing the type, location, and the repair date of the leak; and a signed copy of the WSSC issued Short Form (postcard) permit that reflects that the repair/replacement has been approved by a WSSC Plumbing Inspector. This adjustment of charges is granted for properties with outside meters only when the leak occurs after the meter. The service line must be repaired and proper documentation provided to WSSC within 15 days of the discovery of the leak to qualify for an adjustment of charges.

Although the WSSC does not mediate in contract disputes between a plumber and a homeowner, the Licensing Office will file formal written complaints in a licensee's folder. If warranted, the Inspections Unit will also conduct an investigation into the complaint and take appropriate enforcement action against the licensee for violations of Code. To file a formal written complaint against a plumber, write to:

Mr. Tom Buckley or Licensing
WSSC
Regulatory Services Group
14501 Sweitzer Lane - 11th Floor
Laurel, MD 20707

Include all relevant information pertaining to your complaint: Written summary of complaint/events, copies of contracts, invoices, correspondence; include the licensee's name and license number, and include the name(s) of other company representatives you dealt with.
 

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Special Note To Homeowners

  • The WSSC is the inspection agency for gasfitting and plumbing work in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties. This permit and inspection is for your protection and is required by Code. In accordance with Code, your plumber/gasfitter is required to provide a warranty from the date of final inspection approval as follows: One year inside buildings or above grade; and three years below grade. 
  • In general, the plumber/gasfitter does not have to be present during the inspection. However, inspection staff must be escorted by the homeowner or the homeowner's representative for inside and backyard inspections. Inspectors will not enter yards or homes where dogs/animals are unattended. 
  • On May 1st of 2007 WSSC adopted the International Plumbing and Fuel Gas Codes. Subsequently residential permits issued after that date require a testable backflow assembly for the fire sprinkler system. The assembly was tested at installation and a WSSC test tag with the date it was tested was attached. By code this backflow assembly must be tested annually. Also permits issued for sub-meters with backflow preventers for lawn irrigation systems require an annually test. It is recommended that this assembly is tested in the spring before operating the irrigation system. All testable backflow preventers must be tested annually to insure the safety of the potable drinking water in your home. For further information or assistance please contact the Cross Connection Control office at 301-206-8601

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