A grandfather clause that accompanied a new law in Westchester County, NY, expired Dec. 31, leaving hundreds of journeymen and apprentice plumbers needing to test for certification.

Without certification, the plumbers and their employers face fines and possible loss of license.

According to Scott McGuire, president of McGuire’s Mechanical Contracting, the law to “certify as qualified” was passed to protect the public from handymen pretending to be plumbers.

As of Dec. 1, just over 100 journeymen were certified. The law allowed for two ways to be certified. The first was to be grandfathered in if they met the experience requirements. The clause expired at the end of last year. The second — and now only way — to be certified is by testing with the county board.

“There are some bad things about this law,” said McGuire. “Now when we need to line up more workers for a bunch of work, we can’t take people from outside the county or state.”

McGuire said he asked for an extension, but did not hear back from the county board.

The law was passed to protect the general public from people pretending to be plumbers, according to McGuire.

“The law was a good idea,” said McGuire. “But at this point it is kind of useless.”

He said he believes a flurry of activity over the grandfather clause may still occur. McGuire is unsure of how many practicing plumbers there are in the county.

“We have a lot of independent, non-union plumbing shops in the county,” McGuire said. “A lot of these guys are not informed or don’t care.”