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TITLE 22EXAMINING BOARDS
PART 17TEXAS STATE BOARD OF PLUMBING EXAMINERS
CHAPTER 367ENFORCEMENT
RULE §367.14Processing Complaints

(a) The Director of Enforcement will review a complaint submitted in accordance with §367.13 of this title (relating to Filing Complaints) to determine whether the Board has jurisdiction.

(b) If it is determined that a complaint is within the Board's jurisdiction the Director of Enforcement will:

  (1) assign a complaint number;

  (2) assign an investigation priority number; and

  (3) appoint a Field Representative to investigate the complaint.

(c) If it is determined that a complaint is not within the Board's jurisdiction, the Director of Enforcement will notify the complainant of that determination, in writing.

(d) The investigation priority number for purposes of subsection (b)(2) of this section will range from Priority 1 to Priority 3, with a lower number indicating a more serious violation deserving of investigation before investigation of matters with a higher number, determined as follows:

  (1) Priority 1 - Complaints alleging bodily injury or the imminent threat of harm to the public's health, safety or economic welfare, or the environment. The following matters will be classified as Priority 1:

    (A) Combustible fuel gases. Complaints alleging or involving combustible fuel gases, such as improperly installed fuel gas lines, fuel-gas-fired appliances or water heaters, gas leaks, explosions, or unlicensed, unsupervised or unpermitted plumbing work involving combustible fuel gas which has not otherwise been subjected to and passed an inspection by a Plumbing Inspector;

    (B) Medical gas. Complaints alleging or involving improperly installed, or unpermitted medical gas plumbing, or unlicensed, unsupervised or un-credentialed individuals installing medical gas plumbing which has not otherwise been subjected to and passed an inspection by a Plumbing Inspector;

    (C) Contamination of potable water; illness or disease. Complaints alleging or involving cross-connections or other incursions of sewage or substances of unknown origin into the potable water supply. Complaints alleging or involving illness or disease attributable to a plumbing system or suspected of being transmitted by a plumbing system;

    (D) Uninhabitable primary residence or business. Complaints alleging or describing the ongoing substantial impairment of the enjoyable use of a building used as a primary residence or the facility of a business and used for its day-to-day operations, due to the plumbing system, and arising from the alleged violation;

    (E) Major environmental spills. Complaints alleging substantial release of effluent from a plumbing system and contamination or threatened contamination of a freshwater body; and

    (F) Habitual offender. Complaints alleging a violation by a person having a recent history of past violations and for whom expedient injunctive relief may be required to obtain compliance.

  (2) Priority 2 - Complaints which allege the occurrence of economic damages, but not bodily injury, and that do not allege an ongoing condition which poses an imminent threat of harm to the public's health, safety or economic welfare, or the environment. The following matters in particular will be classified as Priority 2:

    (A) Harmful condition resolved. Complaints alleging a harmful condition of a plumbing system that, at one time, may have posed the threat of bodily injury or economic harm, and may have actually caused economic harm, but has since been resolved, typically by the alleged offender, or a subsequent plumber who remedied the potentially harmful condition;

    (B) Economic injury only, with no ongoing threat of harm. Complaints alleging economic harm, but not bodily injury, and for which the nature of the violation never posed the threat of such bodily injury; and, which no longer poses an imminent threat of further economic harm. For example, evading responsibility to a client (thereby requiring the consumer to obtain replacement services), misrepresentation of services provided, general dissatisfaction with workmanship but not affecting the function of the plumbing system, improper billing practices, or the improper retention of money or materials;

    (C) Unlicensed work inspected by a Plumbing Inspector. Complaints alleging unlicensed plumbing work for which a plumbing permit is nevertheless obtained and passes an inspection by a Plumbing Inspector, indicating the plumbing system is reasonably safe for use;

    (D) Unsupervised work by a registrant, without inspection. Complaints alleging plumbing work performed by a Plumber's Apprentice that was performed without the requisite level of supervision, and has not otherwise been subjected to and passed an inspection by a Plumbing Inspector;

    (E) Failure to obtain plumbing permit by a licensee. Complaints alleging work performed by a licensee fit to perform the work but for which a plumbing permit was not obtained as required by the local authority having jurisdiction, and a plumbing inspection never conducted to ensure compliance with applicable plumbing codes; and

    (F) Requests from local authorities or for interagency assistance. Complaints made by, or requests for assistance from, a local authority having jurisdiction such as a Plumbing Inspector or building official on behalf of a municipality or utility district, a Fire Marshall, or another representative of a governmental unit.

  (3) Priority 3 - Complaints not classified as Priority 1 or Priority 2 will be classified as Priority 3. The following matters in particular will be classified as Priority 3:

    (A) Unsupervised work by a registrant, with inspection. Complaints alleging work performed by a Plumber's Apprentice that was performed without requisite supervision, but was subjected to and passed an inspection by a Plumbing Inspector;

    (B) Late permit by a licensee. Complaints alleging work performed by a licensee who failed to timely obtain a permit, but which was thereafter permitted and inspected by a Plumbing Inspector;

    (C) No proof of violation. Complaints alleging a violation within the Board's jurisdiction but that fail to allege a factual basis for the alleged violation or otherwise indicate an inability to obtain credible evidence to support the alleged violation; and

    (D) Class B Violations. Any matter alleging only a violation which is classified as a Class B violation for purposes of the Board's penalty schedule, adopted by Board Rule §367.17 of this title.

  (4) A complaint alleging multiple violations will be assigned the lowest applicable investigation priority number.

  (5) The Director of Enforcement may conduct an initial investigation of the complaint for purposes of determining the appropriate investigation priority number, prior to appointing a Field Representative to formally investigate the matter.

  (6) The Director of Enforcement may re-classify the complaint and assign a different investigation priority number at any time within their sole discretion, when investigation of the complaint indicates it should be reassigned, either as a higher priority, or a lower priority, in accordance with the criteria set forth in subsection (d) of this section.


Source Note: The provisions of this §367.14 adopted to be effective August 29, 2018, 43 TexReg 5531; amended to be effective June 9, 2019, 44 TexReg 2716

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