Pipefitter and Plumber

The pipefitter and the plumber have very similar skills and both work “outside” on the jobsite. The main difference is that the pipefitter works on heating systems, air conditioning systems and other specialized piping. The plumber applies his skills to plumbing systems, water supply, waste disposal, drainage and similar piping systems. To qualify for either of these occupations, the applicant must pass an aptitude test and serve a five year apprenticeship period of combined on the-job and classroom training before he becomes a fully qualified journeyman.

The basic job function of both the plumber and pipefitter is as follows:

Guided by building plans or blueprints and written directions (specifications) the journeyman lays out the parts, fits and assembles them and then installs the completed assembly. Some jobs may also require maintenance and servicing of the system after installation.

More specifically the plumber or pipefitter does all the following when required:

  • Selects type of pipe and materials according to job specifications;
  • Coordinates work with other construction trades;
  • Cuts pipe using hammer, chisel, pipe cutters, hacksaw or cutting torch;
  • Threads pipe using threading machine;
  • Bends pipe by hand or with a pipebending machine;
  • Assembles variety of metal and nonmetal pipe and pipefittings;
  • Uses various methods to join one piece of pipe to another, including welding & Secures pipe to structure with clamps, brackets and hangers using hand tools;
  • Installs and maintains air conditioning and refrigeration systems;
  • Tests piping systems after installation.