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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Gas Fitter(7253)

Gas fitters install, inspect, repair, and maintain gas lines and gas equipment such as meters, regulators, heating units and appliances in residential, commercial and industrial establishments. They are employed by gas utility companies and gas servicing companies.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read descriptions and explanations on work orders to find out what work needs to be done. (1)
  • Read warnings and instructions on labels, signs, tags and placards within buildings and on equipment to make decisions about special precautions, procedures and supplies that are needed for particular jobs. (2)
  • Read memos from supervisors and clients outlining work tasks and activities or requesting technical information. (2)
  • Read company bulletins and notices about new safety procedures or changes to health coverage. (2)
  • Read safety procedures before starting repair or installation jobs. Procedures can be one to five pages long and require technical knowledge to apply to specific situations. (2)
  • Read equipment or appliance manuals, installation instructions, trouble-shooting guides, sequence of operation guides and start-up sheets to gather technical information about equipment during installation, repair or maintenance procedures. These texts usually expand on or explain technical details found in corresponding tables, graphs, schematics and diagrams. (3)
  • Read appliance and equipment warranties to obtain warranty information to determine customers' bills. Some interpretation may be required as warranties are often dense with details and use legal language. (3)
  • Compare specifications and instructions for modified systems outlined on Canadian Standards Association (CSA) special application forms to the actual installed equipment specifications during installation inspections. The specifications require technical knowledge to interpret. For example, gas fitters have to ascertain that non-listed components meet specifications before approving installations. (3)
  • Interpret code specifications and requirements in the Natural Gas and Propane Code Handbook and other provincial and federal codebooks to determine if equipment or pipe installations meet code requirements The codes can be lengthy, requiring specialized knowledge to interpret and integrate for specific cases. (4)
  • Read textbooks and trade publications to stay current on developments in the field or to learn about unfamiliar procedures or new equipment. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Scan parts lists to confirm that all parts are present. (1)
  • Complete reporting forms such as work orders, regulator maintenance charts, daily timesheets, and inspection verification tags by checking off items, entering numbers and short texts. (1)
  • Refer to purchase or work orders to determine materials, supplies and equipment to pack for a job or to verify the proper materials and material amounts are present. (2)
  • Locate pipe and equipment dimensions on floor plans and equipment installation drawings. (2)
  • Scan manufacturers' specification sheets, equipment manuals and codebooks to locate technical information such as pipe sizes, component placement, operating temperatures, venting clearances and operation settings in order to complete maintenance and repair procedures. (2)
  • Locate material hazard and safety information in Material Safety Data Sheets. For example, they check for hazardous ingredients in products used in the equipment they are repairing or maintaining. (2)
  • Refer to drawings, pictures, and diagrams in equipment manuals in order to troubleshoot equipment problems and to complete repair and replacement procedures. They may integrate information from different sources if working on modified equipment. For example, they use drawings to determine requirements of installations and plan locations of equipment. (3)
  • Refer to equipment sequence of operations or start-up sheets to understand the functions and operation of equipment and baseline readings and levels. They integrate information from these documents to analyze readings and to troubleshoot the type and location of a problem. (3)
  • Scan tables in manuals for specifications such as water flow rates versus unit temperature to evaluate equipment performance. These tables and graphs display technical data which are used to complete calculations or compare equipment readings when ensuring that equipment or systems are working at maximum efficiency and meeting code requirements. (4)
  • Use schematic drawings to understand gas supply and water circulation in heating systems. They use electrical ladder diagrams to determine system operations and to troubleshoot gas appliances. (4)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write brief notes in logbooks, notebooks, layout drawings and inspection checklists such as comments in log books to keep records of equipment installations, changes and deficiencies. (1)
  • Write descriptive paragraphs on work orders. These paragraphs provide descriptions of work performed, equipment deficiencies and required remedial actions. In addition, they outline any information provided to customers and comments about the material and supplies used. Attention to detail and clarity is necessary in case these comments are used for legal purposes. (2)
  • Write brief letters to manufacturers or suppliers that describe defective components and request replacements. (2)
  • Complete one or more sections of incident or accident reports, writing several paragraphs to describe the incidents, causal factors, resulting damages, recommended corrective actions and corrective actions taken. (3)
  • Complete estimates and work proposals, writing one or more paragraphs of text to describe the required work, to justify their recommendations and to outline delivery and installation dates, guarantee information and maintenance and servicing requirements. (3)
  • May prepare user manuals for heating systems. The manuals, often ten to fifteen pages in length, may include sequence of operations and troubleshooting guidelines. Technical knowledge and the ability to synthesize and reorganize information from many sources are necessary to create accurate and useable manuals. (4)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Calculate traveling expenses by multiplying distances travelled by specified rates per kilometre. They total the dollar amounts on expense sheets before submitting for reimbursement. (2)
  • Calculate costs for job quotes or bills for internal departments and customers. They calculate labour costs using hourly rates, add amounts for supplies, apply taxes and total the quotes or bills. The total is multiplied by a percentage mark-up for subcontracted work. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Determine the labour requirements for large installation jobs. They set job task schedules for those workers they directly supervise and timelines for subcontractors. (2)
  • May determine and schedule crews who install, maintain and repair large equipment in industrial and commercial gas fitting where downtime is costly. Gas fitters arrange for the delivery of parts, rent auxiliary equipment and employ subcontractors such as crane operators and electricians. For example, a gas fitter may tightly schedule the sequence of events and tasks required to install or modify a heating system while a plant is in production or during a limited shutdown period. The gas fitter may arrange equipment shutdown with management and plan the job tasks of subordinates. (3)
  • Determine the budgets required to complete installation or replacement of large heating systems including the labour, equipment and material costs, the subcontractor and auxiliary equipment costs and profit mark-up. Large projects proposals may run to one hundred thousand dollars or more. The gas fitter may monitor the project costs to ensure the work is within budget. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Take measurements from scale drawings to calculate the overall length of pipe required for an installation job. (2)
  • Convert length and volume measurements from SI to Imperial units and vice versa for various applications. For example, volume specifications are often given in cubic metres per hour while pipe capacities and instrument readings usually appear in cubic feet per hour. (2)
  • Measure volumes of combustion air or exhaust gas going through pipes. (2)
  • Subtract the gasket and flange thickness and weld gap to calculate the cutting length of pipes. Accuracy within very small ranges is required to avoid leaks. (3)
  • Calculate the venting requirements for indoor regulators. The venting size is determined by calculating the internal area of pipes. They calculate operating parameters and consumption of electricity of electrical systems in gas appliances. (3)
  • Determine commercial and industrial customers' meter set requirements by calculating the volumes of gas used per hour. They total load capacities for all gas appliances, often converting between SI and Imperial. If the load capacity is 56 cubic metres or greater, customer requirements are calculated by inserting values into a three-step formula. (4)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare equipment readings to specifications to evaluate the operating health of equipment such as appliances or regulators. (1)
  • Compare piping system pressures over time to confirm there are no leaks. (1)
  • Calculate the average gas requirements for customers to determine whether to install alternate gas meters to maintain required gas volumes. (2)
  • Compare component emission level readings from combustion analyzers to standard levels. They adjust the combustion rates of burners until reaching the desired emission levels. (3)
  • Analyze equipment readings such as air pressure, amperage, temperature and building pressure to determine what adjustments to make to heating systems. They may change the venting air flow ratios to create positive airflows, increase or decrease natural gas flow rates or change the gas to air ratio depending on readings and equipment behaviour. (3)
  • Monitor and analyze equipment readings to troubleshoot gas-fired equipment. For example, a gas fitter may monitor the water temperatures and the current drawn by a circulating pump to fix a paper dryer that is intermittently shutting off. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate linear dimensions to calculate the overall length of pipe required for gas installations. (1)
  • Estimate daily or weekly supplies to stock in work vehicles by considering the number of scheduled jobs and work to be completed. (2)
  • Estimate the time required to complete large projects. Many variables affect time estimates including complexity of tasks, delivery time for materials and rental equipment and subcontractors availability. Downtime in plants is very costly and time estimates must be accurate. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Request follow-up assignments and receive direction from dispatchers and supervisors throughout the day. (1)
  • Explain job task requirements to apprentices and additional crew members on jobs. (1)
  • Discuss training opportunities with supervisors and managers. They outline the merits of taking training such as electronics courses or manufacturers' seminars. They may request financial support, time off, or other assistance to take the training. (2)
  • Interact with building owners, managers and supervisors to discuss equipment problems and outline work requirements. Customers may not agree with the repairs or may try to delay the repairs. They explain the legal requirements and negotiate repair processes. They follow-up with customers after jobs are completed, to outline what work was completed, to explain basic equipment operation and to answer questions. (2)
  • Negotiate short-term contracts with subcontractors and purchasing terms with suppliers. (2)
  • Participate in weekly staff meetings and monthly quality assurance meetings to discuss equipment, productivity, safety and job issues. (2)
  • Interact with suppliers, manufacturers, operating technicians, building supervisors, colleagues and co-workers to discuss detailed technical information on heating systems equipment, functions and operations. They use the information to order supplies, to troubleshoot problems, and to repair or replace equipment. The interactions may be one-time only or ongoing throughout complex installations. They integrate details and facts during very tight time constraints and often pressure to resume production. (3)
  • Interact with a contractor when inspecting an installation for approval to discuss discrepancies between a job report and the actual installation. Clear and diplomatic communication is critical to instilling an understanding of code requirements and the necessary changes before installation approval. (3)
  • Explain system analysis and building analysis theory and principles to apprentices when providing training for multi-levelled buildings. Clear and concise communication is an important part of apprenticeship training and a necessity for safe working conditions and training employees. (3)
  • Interact with a range of officials, building supervisors, and owners as the first-line response person during emergency gas leaks. They assign tasks, provide information, coordinate activities and discuss safety procedures and requirements using various communication tools such as cell phones, hand radios, dispatch radios, and hand signals. Clear, calm and directive communication is critical during emergency responses to gas leaks to keep the situation safe until repair crews repair the leaks. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Face unexpected removal and installation problems when replacing equipment. They may hire subcontractors and use auxiliary equipment to complete these problem jobs. For example, when replacing a rooftop heating systems, they may find that trees or wires are obstructing access to the rooftop. They hire and use auxiliary equipment such as cranes and subcontractors such as arborists to complete the job. (2)
  • Deal with problems of insufficient or incorrect supplies and materials sent by suppliers. They assess and arrange the delivery of the material and supplies required and then reorganize tasks to minimize lost time and meet scheduled deadlines. (2)
  • Face difficulty repairing equipment systems because parts or components are on back order or will take several days to arrive. They may temporarily replace or fix parts with different components after verifying the parts meet safety regulations and codes. For example, during extremely cold weather, a gas fitter may temporarily fix a home heating system by replacing the broken component with a used one from an older furnace. (2)
  • Deal with missing or outdated operating sheets when trying to repair equipment. The sheets provide information critical to understanding baseline-operating readings of equipment such as air and oil pressure, temperature and output. This is especially important when equipment readings do not correspond with indicated problems. They speak with operating technicians and manufacturers to gather technical information to correctly troubleshoot and locate problems. Complexity of the problems increases with the level of equipment technology. (3)
  • Encounter hostile building owners or managers who do not want to complete heating system repairs necessary to meet code requirements. Gas fitters provide information about work needed to keep systems safe and operational. They persuasively explain the reasons for the repairs. If they are unable to reach an agreement with customers about necessary system repairs, they may issue 'red tags,' which inform owners and managers that the gas supply will be cut if repairs are not completed by a certain date. (3)
  • Deal with inadequate gas supply to commercial customers' equipment causing equipment to shut down or operate ineffectively. Many businesses are under tight time constraints and urgently need to get systems operational. They work with customers to devise operating sequences and solutions to keep equipment operational until new or additional meter sets or regulators are installed. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide not to enter homes or buildings where personal health and safety may be at risk, such as locations that are guarded by large dogs or cluttered with debris and waste. (1)
  • Decide how to maintain or replace equipment or components such as regulators, couplings, fittings or appliances. They base decisions on visual observations, their knowledge of instrumentation and equipment performance and the urgency to restart systems. (2)
  • Decide tasks assignments of apprentices and junior gas fitters depending on individual abilities, knowledge, experience and attitudes. (2)
  • Decide how and where to install system components such as inlet and outlet air vents, meter sets and piping. Although established procedures exist, complicating factors such as obstacles may affect original layout plans. They decide the best way to modify layout plans to meet code requirements and maintain efficiency. (2)
  • Decide how to adjust systems to balance the wear on parts and equipment efficiency. For example, they adjust furnaces to lower the electrical current drawn and prevent overheating of motors. They use their professional knowledge to complete calculations and interpret manufacturers' specifications to inform their decisions. (2)
  • Decide whether or not to keep equipment operational after failed inspections. They base their decisions on whether the infractions or failures present safety or health hazards, what steps are being taken to fix the problems and how compliant customers or contractors have been in the past. For example, a gas fitter may only issue a 'red tag' outlining the repair requirements and completion date or he may 'red tag' and shut down the equipment until the required work is completed. Owners, managers and contractors can become angry and hostile because shutdowns can cost thousands of dollars per hour. (3)
  • May decide repair priorities when completing repairs and maintenance activities during rotational shutdowns in manufacturing plants. Gas fitters who complete maintenance and repair work in industrial settings rarely have enough time to complete all repairs and maintenance tasks at one time. The gas fitters base their decisions on which tasks are due and those that may have the largest impact on efficiency and continued operations. Technical knowledge and experience is required to make correct decisions. (3)
  • Decide whether to instruct equipment operators to restart equipment or to wait until the gas fitter arrives. They use their knowledge and experience to interpret information provided by the equipment operator such as equipment readings, behaviour, sounds and smells before shutting down to decide if adjusting and restarting equipment will damage systems or create safety hazards. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the most appropriate locations to place system control boxes such as home thermostats or shut off valves. They use their experience to decide the most efficient location for specific customers. (1)
  • Evaluate the efficiency of natural gas powered systems such as a paper dryers or building heating systems. Gas fitters identify evaluation criteria such as system purpose and functioning and compatibility of interacting parts and components. They evaluate the importance of environmental effects such as building air pressure and the location of the system and connecting parts. They collect system information by taking measurements and reviewing operating and maintenance records. Good judgement about system performance and improvements is key to customer satisfaction. (2)
  • Evaluate clients' gas powered system needs so that they can select the most appropriate systems and equipment to meet those needs. They consult and assess a range of information from catalogues, trade publications and manufacturers' equipment manuals to decide what type of equipment, components and systems to recommend. (3)
  • Evaluate the best method or lines of reasoning to prove that modified heating systems meet code requirements. For example, a gas fitter may develop a criteria list to outline how a head frame heater conforms to requirements based on an interpretation of the intent of various codes. Failure to present clear and convincing arguments to officials and approval agencies can result in systems not being approved, which may cause the loss of money, time and professional reputation. (3)
  • Evaluate the best methods to present information to customers. They use criteria such as past dealings with the customers and customers' levels of knowledge to assess the best presentation methods. Presentation style affects the resolution of problems, proposals for work, awarding of contracts and reputations. (3)
  • Assess the safety of situations such as gas leaks in plants or gas mains. Depending on the situation, there may be many clearly defined criteria for assessing safety. The initial safety assessments determine what instructions gas fitters need to give to police, fire fighters and repair crews. They put themselves and others at risk if they fail to properly evaluate safety. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Gas fitters may take direction from dispatchers or supervisors or they may schedule their own appointments if they are self-employed. They are responsible for organizing daily tasks, including buying supplies, ordering materials and maintaining tools. Gas fitters job tasks vary from day-to-day. One day they may be installing or repairing large heating systems and the next day installing residential appliances for multiple residential customers. They interrupt their schedules to respond to requests for urgent repairs. Gas fitters always consider safety, job urgency and their ability to meet deadlines when prioritizing activities and tasks. Gas fitters may take the lead in coordinating and integrating schedules with building managers, officials, supervisors, co-workers, operating technicians and other subcontractors. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Gas fitters may plan and schedule the work of other gas fitters, apprentices, subcontractors and equipment operators during scheduled maintenance shutdowns. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember equipment data and background information to evaluate equipment performance or to troubleshoot problems.
  • Remember common tools and fitting sizes for particular equipment to ensure they have them on hand during a repair.
  • Remember building layouts when completing job estimates.
  • Remember what work they have completed and what parts they have used until they can write this information on work orders.
Finding Information
  • Consult colleagues, co-workers, operating technicians and maintenance staff to obtain information, opinions and suggestions on installing, maintaining or repairing systems or equipment. (2)
  • Refer to equipment manuals, specification sheets, parts catalogues and manufacturers' websites to locate technical information and data needed to install, repair and order parts for equipment. (2)
  • Draw on information from code and regulation books such as provincial Health and Safety Act and Regulations, the Technical Standards and Safety Act, the Natural Gas and Propane Code Handbook and other codebooks relevant to system repairs and installations. (3)
  • Consult with police officers, fire fighters, repair crews and the company's emergency response team to coordinate and manage the front line response of major gas leaks. (3)
  • Consult and analyze a range of information from catalogues, trade publications, manufacturers' specifications and plant operational requirements to decide what types of equipment, components and systems to recommend. For example, a gas fitter may locate and interpret information about various industrial heating systems such as head frame furnaces to decide what furnace to recommend to an industrial plant. Evaluating the equipment's ability to meet the plant's needs requires extensive background knowledge. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use graphics software. For example, they use presentation software such as PowerPoint to prepare presentations for proposed work. A general understanding of importing and formatting is required to set-up the presentation. (2)
  • May use CAD-CAM programs. For example, they may use drafting software such as Autosketch to create installation layouts or process control systems to troubleshoot heating systems or equipment problems. (2)
  • Use Internet. For example, they use an Internet browser to search for trade related information and to download technical publications such as data sheets and user guides. (2)
  • May use other computer programs. For example, they may use GPS receivers and dispatching programs that allow dispatchers to identify their locations. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, they may write proposals for large heating or drying systems for potential customers. Proposals can be three to thirty pages of text, contain imported tables or graphics and require formatting such as page numbering and tables of contents. (3)
  • Use e-mail and communication software. For example, they send e-mails and attachments such as drawings, quotes and memos to customers, coworkers, suppliers and subcontractors. They maintain address books and distribution lists. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Gas fitters may work alone, with a helper or with a team of other subcontractors depending on the type and size of a job. They spend much of their time working independently to maintain, repair or install small to mid-size appliances or equipment. When completing larger jobs, gas fitters work with helpers or other crew members, and may coordinate the tasks of subcontractors. They work beside other subcontractors integrating activities and sharing space to avoid job site congestion. They work as first response team leaders when responding to an emergency gas leak. (3)

Continuous Learning

Gas fitters are required by law to renew their licences through certified learning institutions. They often receive in-house training or attend seminars and training courses to update certifications such as Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS), Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG), First Aid and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Safety and quality control training are often requirements in larger organizations. Training is both self-directed, and identified and scheduled by supervisors to ensure legislated licensing requirements remain current. Gas fitters learn about new equipment and procedures on the job by reading manuals and through hands-on experience. Gas fitters identify their own learning goals and opportunities to stay current in their field. They decide what textbooks and publications to read, what manufacturing seminars to attend or college courses to take. They are responsible for staying current on regulations, codes, and standards changes in their field. (2)

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