Plumbing Contractor License

A City of Chicago plumbing contractor license is required to install, alter, repair, or maintain any plumbing piping, system, or appliance within the City of Chicago, except minor plumbing repairs by a person upon the person’s own property. A plumbing contractor licensed by the State of Illinois must also obtain a City of Chicago plumbing contractor license to perform plumbing work within the City of Chicago.

Plumbing contractor licenses are issued by the Board of Plumbing Examiners through the Department of Buildings.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a plumbing contractor license required?

A City of Chicago plumbing contractor license is required to install, alter, repair, or maintain any piping, fixtures, appurtenances, and appliances for a supply of water for all purposes in and about buildings, structures and public places where persons live, work, or assemble, including lawn sprinkler systems, and shall also include all piping, fixtures, appurtenances, and appliances for sanitary drainage and related ventilating system within a building, and all piping, fixtures, appurtenances, and appliances outside a building connecting the building with the source of water supply on the premises or the main in the public way, also all piping, fixtures, appurtenances, appliances, drains, and waste pipes carrying sewage from the foundation walls of a building to the building sewer (more than 5 feet beyond the foundation walls), except minor repairs by a person upon the person’s own premises.

A licensed plumbing contractor is allowed to perform all work which requires a drain layer contractor license without obtaining an additional license.

A plumbing contractor license is not required for the owner, occupant, or lessee of a single-family residence, or the owner of a single-family residence under construction for his or her occupancy, to install, alter, or repair the plumbing system of his or her residence. Such plumbing must comply with the Chicago Plumbing Code and is subject to inspection. This only allows  the owner, occupant, or lessee to perform the plumbing work themselves and does not allow an owner, occupant, or lessee to hire anyone other than a licensed plumbing contractor to perform plumbing work.

Who can perform plumbing work under a plumbing contractor license?

The plumbing contractor license authorizes plumbing work to be performed by the licensed business and employees of that business who are licensed as plumbers or apprentice plumbers by either the City of Chicago or State of Illinois.

“Employees” means individuals that the business treats as employees for purposes of unemployment insurance contributions, worker’s compensation, and income taxation. A plumbing contractor license does not authorize plumbing work to be performed by plumbers or apprentice plumbers who are paid by the licensed business as independent contractors.

If plumbers or apprentice plumbers who are employees of another business will be performing plumbing work at a job site, that business must be licensed as a City of Chicago plumbing contractor and listed on the permit.  

All employees of a plumbing contractor that are engaged in the planning, inspection, designing, or installation of plumbing systems must be plumbers or apprentice plumbers licensed by either the City of Chicago or State of Illinois.

Are there different types of plumbing contractor licenses?

No. While plumbing contractors may specialize is specific types of plumbing work, there is only one type of plumbing contractor license.

Who may obtain a plumbing contractor license?

Plumbing contractor licenses are issued to businesses, including sole proprietorships.

If a business is a sole proprietorship, the proprietor must be a plumber licensed by the City of Chicago.

If a business is a firm, association, or partnership, at least one member must be a plumber licensed by the City of Chicago.

If a business is a corporation, at least one corporate officer must be a plumber licensed by the City of Chicago.

What is required to obtain a plumbing contractor license?

Plumbing contractor license applications may only be filed by a plumber licensed by the City of Chicago and the applicant must provide proof of his or her City of Chicago plumber license.

The business to be licensed must file a $20,000.00 performance bond payable to the City of Chicago with the City Clerk before a plumbing contractor license can be issued.

How do I apply for a new plumbing contractor license?

Continental Testing Services processes plumbing contractor license applications on behalf of the Department of Buildings and Board of Plumbing Examiners.

Applications are submitted through the Continental Testing Services web site.

Applications may only be submitted by a City of Chicago licensed plumber who is the proprietor, member, or corporate officer of the business to be licensed.

How do I renew an existing plumbing contractor license?

Existing plumbing contractor licenses are renewed through the Department of Buildings web portal.

Proof that a current bond is on file must be mailed to Continental Testing Services.

How much does a plumbing contractor license cost?

License Classification Initial License Fee Renewal Fee
Plumbing Contractor $100.00 $60.00
Miscellaneous Fees

Reinstatement of lapsed (expired) license: $25.00 per lapsed year

How long is a plumbing contractor license valid?

A plumbing contractor license is valid for one year from issuance.

A plumbing contractor license is automatically inactivated if the bond on file with the City Clerk expires or is cancelled.

A plumbing contractor license is automatically inactivated if the license of the plumber associated with the contractor license expires or is suspended.

Ordinances and Rules 

Municipal Code of Chicago, Chapter 4-332: Plumbers
Municipal Code of Chicago, Chapter 4-336: Plumbing Contractors

This information is provided to help you better understand licensing requirements in the City of Chicago. It may not reflect all conditions, limitations, or exceptions that may apply to a particular situation and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. To the extent the information on this page differs from the Municipal Code of Chicago or applicable rules, the ordinance or rule controls. 

Supporting Information Facts