Essential skills for success as a plumber
Plumbers use essential skills to complete trade-related tasks. Use this fact sheet to:
- learn how essential skills are used on the job;
- find out the skills you need to succeed in your trade; and
- help prepare yourself for your career.
- Read brochures from suppliers to find information on materials.
- Read health and safety notices.
- Read and follow product installation procedures.
- Read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to obtain information about hazardous products.
- Read manuals to install, repair and maintain plumbing systems.
- Read trade text books to understand the science related to plumbing, such as the properties of water, metals and alloys.
- Read the Canadian Plumbing Code to follow the regulations on plumbing systems.
- Read notes in daily log books to track work in progress.
- Read assembly drawings to install fixtures and appliances.
- Interpret diagrams in the Canadian Plumbing Code to ensure that the capacity of a building's venting systems complies with regulatory requirements.
- Interpret schematics to trace the circuit for gas flow when planning for the installation of piping.
- Interpret drawings to find municipal connections or water sources and to plan the routing of pipe when installing water services.
- Interpret blueprints to find the locations of piping and catch basins for drainage systems.
- Measure to locate and mark positions for pipe connections.
- Compare pressure gauge readings and manufacturers' standards when installing gas pipes underground.
- Schedule daily activities to complete assigned tasks.
- Estimate the time and quantity of materials needed to complete a project.
- Adjust schedules to coordinate work with other tradespersons.
- Make calculations using formulae, such as determining the total fall on a drain line.
- Prepare invoices based on hourly labour rates, cost of materials and taxes.
- Make calculations using trigonometric constants based on the angle of elbows.
- Write short notes about repairs in progress and tasks to be completed.
- Write a list of materials required for a job.
- Maintain a daily log book to record hours worked, tasks completed and problems encountered.
- Complete incident reports to record an accident in the workplace.
- Talk to suppliers about the availability of parts.
- Communicate with other tradespersons on a job site to coordinate work and discuss potential problems.
- Communicate with a foreperson to receive job assignments.
- Talk to suppliers to troubleshoot system problems.
- Talk to customers who may be agitated or concerned.
Working with others
- Coordinate with other plumbers and tradespersons on a job site to determine the order in which various work tasks should be completed.
- Participate in discussions about work processes or product improvement.
- Demonstrate how to perform tasks to other workers.
- Orient or train new employees.
- Communicate with customers, suppliers and management.
- Decide on priorities for service calls, repairs and scheduled work.
- Contact mechanical engineers, suppliers and manufacturers to clarify installation instructions.
- Identify and solve problems, such as correcting repairs done by inexperienced homeowners.
- Determine the most cost-effective way to use materials and supplies.
- Find and interpret specific clauses in construction contracts or service agreements.
- Decide how to install large and heavy plumbing systems with the available personnel and equipment.
- Resolve a backflow problem with a sewer.
- Work with other tradespersons on a job site to plan work schedules.
- Use word processing software, for example, to write letters to customers.
- Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining equipment.
- Keep up-to-date with changes to the Canadian Plumbing Code.
- Take technical courses to learn about new products, procedures and equipment.
- Increase skills and knowledge on the job.
- Attend health and safety training.
- Read trade magazines to stay current.
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