Plumbers lay out, test and maintain pipes, fixtures, metal roofing, fittings, gas meters and regulators.  They install equipment such as boilers, pumps, heating and cooling systems, natural gas appliances, water tanks and solar water heating systems.  Plumbers may perform tasks including:

  • preparing and/or studying drawings and specifications;
  • finding and marking position for connections, then cutting holes through walls and floors to accommodate pipes, measuring pipes and marking cutting or bending lines;
  • cutting, threading and bending pipes, assembling and installing piping, valves and fittings, joining pipe sections and securing pipes;
  • installing plumbing fixtures; and
  • maintaining and repairing plumbing systems.

The term ‘plumber’ is often used in a general sense to cover a wide range of work including water supply and sanitary systems, drainage, gasfitting, LP gas, roof plumbing, sprinkler systems, irrigation systems and associated work in heating and ventilation systems.  Some categories of work such as gasfitting and LP gas are specialist areas and a plumber must be specifically licensed to operate in these fields.  In other cases a plumber may be licensed to perform a limited range of services.

Mechanical Services contractors are large employers of plumbers, employing approximately three times as many plumbing employees on commercial sites as general plumbing contractors. Plumbers working in the Mechanical Services sector are involved in the installation and environmental management of air conditioning units/technology and can progress to design, site supervision and project management roles.  Subject to licensing restrictions, plumbers may perform all of these tasks or specialise in one area.

Drainers install, maintain and repair pipes in storm water or sanitation systems and drains, and install septic tanks, holding wells, sullage pits and absorption tracks.

Gasfitters install, maintain, test and repair gas lines, meters, regulators, units and appliances. 

Heating and ventilation plumbers install and service heating and cooling systems. 

Roofing plumbers install and fix roofs, flashings, gutters and downpipes. 

Sprinkler fitters install and maintain fire protection systems.

Irrigation installers plan, design and install large watering systems for projects such as golf courses and parks.

Personal Requirements

  • able to work with hands
  • able to work at heights and in various weather conditions
  • physically fit

Education and Training

At present, entry to this occupation is via an apprenticeship or contract of training.

  • Certificate II in Building and Construction – Fitout and Finish (Plumbing)
  • Apprenticeship in Plumbing and Gasfitting
  • Plumbing, Gasfitting and Draining Registration and Licence Course
  • Certificate IV in Plumbing – Services Design
  • Certificate IV in Plumbing – Services Supervision

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