Plumbing problems like leaking faucets and pipes, as well as running toilets, cause you to consume more water in your house, invariably resulting in higher water bills. Residents of Buffalo currently pay a water rate of $22.83 per 22,000 cubic feet, with this price rising as the amount of water used increases. It is advisable to resolve these plumbing difficulties as soon as possible, as this not only saves you money in water bills but it also forestalls possible water damage to your property. While it's natural to depend on recommendations from family and friends when looking for a reputable plumber in your area, getting satisfactory answers to the following questions is a smart method to guarantee that you get the best plumber for the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Buffalo?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Buffalo?
- Do You Comply with the City of Buffalo Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Buffalo Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Buffalo?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Buffalo?
All plumbing projects in Buffalo must be handled by a plumber with the appropriate plumbing license. Failure to obtain a license before offering plumbing services is prohibited, and offending plumbers can be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment for not more than 60 days, or a combination of fines and imprisonment. The Buffalo Permit and Inspection Service is charged with the regulation of plumbers in the city, and it typically provides a 7 days grace period for any unlicensed plumber to desist from acting without a license.
The Buffalo Permit and Inspection Service administers Journeyman and Master Plumber licenses to qualified candidates. A minimum of 8000 hours of experience working under a Master Plumber is required to apply for a Journeyman license. On the other hand, the required qualification for a Master Plumber license application is a minimum of 6000 hours as a Journeyman Plumber. Before applying for a Journeyman or Master Plumber license, candidates must register with the city's Examining Board of Plumbers and proceed to procure a certificate of competency issued by this board. Once the interested plumber has obtained the certificate of competency, the next step is to apply for the applicable plumbing license by downloading the appropriate application form. The completed form and the certificate of competency should be presented to the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services office using the address below:
- Permit & Inspection Services
- 65 Niagara Square
- Room 324
- Buffalo, NY 14202
You can direct queries concerning plumber licensing and certificates of competency by contacting the City Of Buffalo Department of Permit and Inspections at (716) 851-5067. You can also verify that your intended plumber has been duly licensed by accessing the City of Buffalo's list of licensed contractors webpage and looking up the plumber's profile. If your plumber's profile appears on this page, then your plumber has a valid license.
Getting and comparing price estimates from different plumbers near you not only helps you determine whether a plumber's pricing is outrageous or appropriate, it also can go a long way in saving you money. Nevertheless, it is important to also note that the cost of plumbers in Buffalo is determined by various factors, including the nature of your plumbing project, the cost of materials, and the type of license that the plumber holds. For example, a plumber with a master plumbing license would likely charge more than a plumber with a Journeyman license for the same service, as they generally have a higher level of proficiency.
Plumber in Buffalo earns an annual average wage of $67,200. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in the City of Buffalo compared with plumbers in other parts of New York State and other major cities in the country:Buffalo Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$32New York City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$34.50Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.04Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.71Chicago Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$44.20Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22.66Washington D.C. Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$27.93
Source: U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics
Do You Comply with the City of Buffalo Building Code for Plumbing?
Hiring a plumber who is not only properly licensed but also knowledgeable about the city's plumbing code helps to guarantee that your plumbing project is done according to required standards. Doing this also protects you from potential code violations and any penalties that may result from these violations. The Plumbing Code of New York State (PCNYS), which the city of Buffalo uses, is a set of regulations designed to govern the installation, alteration, repair, relocation, additions, replacement, use, and maintenance of plumbing systems. Such plumbing systems include fixtures, faucets, and fittings, subsurface drainage piping, water supply and distribution, and fire sprinklers.
The code also provides the minimum standard requirements for plumbing projects and protects the health, property, and public welfare of Buffalo residents. Plumbing code-related queries can be directed to the Plumbing Inspections Office of the Buffalo Department of Permit and Inspection Services at (716) 851-5067.
Generally, a plumbing permit is required for any plumbing work that involves the replacement, removal, or rearrangement of plumbing systems in the City of Buffalo. However, according to Section 105 of the Plumbing Code of New York State, certain types of maintenance tasks are excluded from the need for a permit if completed by a licensed plumber. This exempted work includes repairing urinal flush valve systems, as well as fixing leaks in drains or vent pipes. Furthermore, minor repairs to existing faucets, supply tubes, and fixtures do not require a permit. It is important to obtain the required permits for any plumbing project before commencing the work since failing to do so might result in fines and other penalties.
Buffalo plumbing permits are issued by the Commissioner of Permit & Inspection Services. Master plumbers and homeowners can apply for a plumbing permit by downloading a plumbing permit application form and mailing the completed form to the Commissioner of Permit & Inspection Services at the following address:
- Permit & Inspection Services
- 65 Niagara Square
- Room 324
- Buffalo, NY 14202
Note that for a plumbing permit to be issued for a new plumbing project or alteration, stipulated permit fees must be paid.
Furthermore, all plumbing work for which a permit is required is subject to inspection by the city's Plumbing Inspections Office. These inspections are performed to ensure that the plumbing work is done according to the minimum standards prescribed by the Plumbing Code of New York State. Inspection requests can be made to the Plumbing Inspections Office by calling (716) 851-5067. You can contact the Plumbing Inspections Office of the Department of Permit and Inspection Services at (716) 851-5067 to direct inspection-related queries or to get further assistance on the city's plumbing work inspection process.
Plumbers in Buffalo often provide a wide range of services, ranging from repairing or replacing broken piping and fixtures in existing buildings and structures to installing pipe and plumbing systems in new construction. These plumbing services are generally classified into four types, namely leak detection and repair, drain cleaning services, installations and replacements, and inspection and maintenance. Hence, it is beneficial to always confirm that the plumber you intend to hire is skilled enough to handle the work at hand.
Additionally, understanding what sort of plumbing work you require will assist you in locating the appropriate plumber. For example, while a Journeyman plumber may be able to fix vent pipe leaks and unclog drain stoppages, more major work such as piping system installs and repairs are best left to Master Plumbers.
Some common cost estimates for plumbing services in Buffalo include:Residential Plumbing Contractors$65.86 - $74.72 (per hour)Commercial Plumbing Contractors$88.14 - $94.84 (per hour)Plumbing for Remodel or Home Addition$3,927.80 - $5,077.40 (fixed fee)Toilet Installation or Replacement$138.19 - $148.49 (fixed fee)Clearing Drain Clog or Blockage$112.09 - $137.23 (fixed fee)Water Main Installation or Repair$28.74 - $47.90 (per linear foot)Well Pump Installation$684.97 - $813.34 (fixed fee)Water Softener Installation$929.27 - $1,246.73 (fixed fee)Septic System Installation$6,620.74 - $7,866.14 (fixed fee)Septic Tank Cleaning or Pumping$245.26 - $288.37 (fixed fee)Sewer Line Cleaning$156.15 - $238.54 (fixed fee)Sump Pump Installation$766.40 - $1,101.70 (fixed fee)
Plumbing issues that are ignored for an extended period can lead to the loss of over 10,000 gallons of water each year. These plumbing issues include problems like clogged toilets, burst pipes, and faulty sump pumps. With the residents of Buffalo currently paying over $22.83 per 22,000 cubic feet as water charges, it is beneficial to fix these plumbing issues as soon as possible.
While it may be tempting to contact any plumber near you to fix an emergency plumbing issue, it is always in your best interest to make sure that the plumber is duly licensed and skilled enough to perform the job. It is also advisable to utilize the services of a qualified plumber that is familiar with the city plumbing code. You can use third-party websites such as Better Business Bureau or Yelp to locate these types of plumbers near you. Additionally, you should verify that any plumber you hire is duly licensed by looking up the plumber details in the City of Buffalo's list of licensed contractors webpage.
Home improvement contractors working in Buffalo are typically required to have current and valid general liability insurance with a minimum coverage of $50,000 and provide proof of this insurance when applying for a license. However, Journeyman or Master Plumbers are not required to obtain insurance before a license or permit is issued. Nevertheless, it is beneficial to ensure that your intended plumber has valid general liability insurance. Hiring an insured plumber protects you and your plumber against the costs of property damage or injuries that may occur as a result of the plumbing project. As such, you should always request proof of insurance from your intended plumber and verify it by contacting the relevant insurance provider.
If you have further inquiries regarding the insurance policy and requirements for Buffalo plumbers, you can contact the Plumbing Inspections Office of the Buffalo Department of Permit and Inspection Services at (716) 851-5067.
Before hiring a contractor to work on any of your home improvement projects, including plumbing-related jobs, it is important to conduct due diligence on the contractor to avoid falling victim to contractor scams. These scammers usually pose as licensed contractors, but in reality, they utilize a false, expired, or stolen plumbing license. Other fraud strategies used by these fraudulent contractors include requesting large advance deposits, offering ridiculously discounted bids and quotes, making unsolicited proposals, insisting on cash payments, and avoiding written contracts or brushing off the importance of these contracts. For example, in August 2021, Erie County fell victim to a phishing scam after it discovered that its Department of Works had paid $108,000 to an individual posing as a legitimate contractor. To this end, it is advisable to take precautions while planning your plumbing project to protect yourself from home improvement scammers. You can accomplish this by following the measures outlined below:
- Always make sure that your intended plumber's details exist on the City of Buffalo's Licensed Contractors Search webpage.
- Always ask for references from the plumber you're considering. If the plumber cannot offer you at least three references, you should look for another plumber in your area.
- Use a payment method that can be traced at all times. Examples include checks, credit cards, and debit cards.
- To prevent being a victim of a phishing scam, always verify that the bank account information supplied for payment is maintained by the contractor.
- Always insist on a formal contract for any home improvement project, and make certain that it is properly reviewed and signed.
- Irrelevant queries, such as personal questions, should be avoided.
- Always obtain a complete inventory of the materials required and compare prices at your local home improvement store.
if you believe that you have been solicited by a fraudulent plumber or have been a victim of a plumbing scam in Buffalo, you can file a complaint with the Buffalo Department of Permit and Inspection Services' Plumbing Inspections Office by calling (716) 851-5067. Alternatively, you can contact the Buffalo Police Department at the following address:
- Buffalo Police Headquarters
- 68 Court Street
- Buffalo NY, 14202
- Phone: (716) 851-4444