Steamfitters and pipefitters lay out, assemble, fabricate, maintain, troubleshoot and repair piping systems carrying water, steam, chemicals and fuel in heating, cooling, lubricating and other process piping systems. Sprinkler system installers fabricate, install, test, maintain and repair water, foam, carbon dioxide and dry chemical sprinkler systems in buildings for fire protection purposes. Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers are employed in maintenance departments of factories, plants and similar establishments, by pipefitting and sprinkler system contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Main duties 
Steamfitters and pipefitters perform some or all of the following duties: 

  • Read and interpret drawings, blueprints and specifications to determine layout requirements
  • Cut openings for pipe in walls, floors and ceilings using hand or power tools or machines
  • Select type and size of pipe required
  • Measure, cut, thread and bend pipe to required shape using hand and power tools
  • Weld, braze, cement, solder and thread joints to join pipes and fabricate sections of piping system
  • Install supports, valves, piping and control systems
  • Test system for leaks using testing equipment
  • Clean and maintain pipe units and fittings and flush system
  • Remove and replace worn components and reactivate system
  • May prepare cost estimates for clients.
  • Sprinkler system installers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Read and interpret drawings, specifications and fire codes to determine layout requirements
  • Install clamps, brackets and hangers to support piping system and sprinkler and fire protection equipment, using hand and power tools
  • Select, measure, cut, ream and thread pipe, install sprinkler heads and mount prepared pipe in supports
  • Join pipes and piping sections using soldering and welding equipment
  • Connect piping system to water mains, supply tanks, pumps, compressors and control equipment
  • Installs valves, alarms and associated equipment
  • Test system for leaks using air or liquid pressure equipment
  • Service and repair sprinkler system
  • May prepare cost estimates for clients. Employment requirements
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a four- to five-year apprenticeship program or
  • A combination of over five years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses in steamfitting, pipefitting or sprinkler system installation is usually required to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Interprovincial trade certification (Red Seal) is also available to qualified steamfitterspipefitters and sprinkler system installers.

Additional information 

  • Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.
  • Red Seal trade certification allows for interprovincial mobility.