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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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Contractors and Supervisors, Pipefitting Trades (7203)

This unit group includes plumbing and other pipefitting trade contractors who own and operate their own businesses. This group also includes supervisors who supervise and co-ordinate the activities of workers classified in the following unit groups: Plumbers (7251), Steamfitters, Pipefitters and Sprinkler System Installers (7252) and Gas Fitters (7253). They are employed by construction companies, mechanical, plumbing and pipefitting trade contractors and maintenance departments of industrial, commercial and manufacturing establishments.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read instructions and comments on work orders. (1)
  • Read warnings, instructions and emergency procedures on Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System labels and Material Safety Data Sheets prior to handling chemicals and other hazardous materials. (2)
  • Read e-mail about ongoing work sent by general contractors, architects, other tradespeople and clients. For example, they may scan shorter e-mail which confirm timelines and read longer messages describing details of design changes. (2)
  • Read equipment manuals, installation instructions, troubleshooting guides and operations manuals when installing, troubleshooting or repairing equipment. They frequently read text which expand upon or explain technical details found in corresponding tables, graphs, schematics and diagrams. (3)
  • Read company policy manuals. For example, a supervisor may read manuals on general health and safety on construction worksites to make sure employees are adhering to company guidelines for operations, health and safety. (3)
  • Read training materials for courses such as first aid, workplace safety, transportation of dangerous goods and confined space entry. They read to learn and apply the information to the supervision of other tradespeople. (3)
  • May read trade publications and magazines to learn about new mechanical equipment and supplies for the pipefitting industry. (3)
  • May interpret lengthy text in union collective agreements to ensure they are following proper protocols for dealing with workers they supervise. (3)
  • Read and interpret national and provincial codebooks, legislative acts and updates. For example, they may use specialized trade knowledge to interpret and apply information from the National Plumbing Code, the National Fire Code of Canada and the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Act to a variety of pipe installations and repair jobs. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Look at the labels on parts to identify material composition, sizes, types, capacities and product numbers. For example, they may scan part labels to locate model numbers corresponding to those on supply orders and invoices. (1)
  • Complete checklists to organize inventory, assess safety hazards and orient new employees. For example, they tick employee orientation checklists to make sure they have covered all elements of safety training. (1)
  • Take information from tables and lists. For example, they scan lists for information about materials and supplies, cut lengths, deficiencies, part recalls and employees' phone numbers and navigate tables to find job specifications, part dimensions, decompression times and other technical data. (1)
  • Read safety and warning signs posted around construction sites and drilling zones and on pipe systems and mechanical parts. For example, plumbing supervisors read signs that caution against depressurizing and draining piping systems prior to the removal of specified parts. (2)
  • Complete reporting forms such as work orders, change orders, daily timesheets, expense, equipment rental, incident report, and quality assurance forms and inspection certificates. For example, they record data such as locations, models numbers, capacities and pressures on reporting forms. (2)
  • Interpret data presented in graphs such as stress graphs and pump curves. (3)
  • May analyze x-ray images of pipe welds to ensure they meet industry standards for quality and durability. They examine radiographs to identify various defects such as porosity, inclusions, cracks and lack of fusion and penetration. (3)
  • Interpret complex assembly diagrams of equipment when troubleshooting mechanical faults and failures. (4)
  • Scan detailed schematics of piping systems to understand the function of components and the flow of fluids through the system. For example, they may examine schematics of sprinkler systems to identify supply and control points. (4)
  • Take information from detailed engineering and architectural drawings for facilities and equipment. For example, they analyze construction drawings to determine pipe routes. (4)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Examiner les étiquettes de pièces afin de connaître la composition, les dimensions, la nature et la capacité de l'équipement ainsi que les numéros de produits qui s'y rattachent. Examiner attentivement, par exemple, s'il y a lieu, les étiquettes de pièces pour repérer les numéros de modèle qui correspondent à ceux qui figurent sur les bons de commande et les factures. (1)
  • Remplir des listes de vérification afin de structurer les inventaires, d'évaluer les dangers pour la sécurité et d'orienter les nouveaux employés. Cocher, par exemple, les éléments des listes de vérification qui sont liés à l'orientation des employés afin de veiller à ce qu'ils abordent l'ensemble des éléments de formation sur la sécurité. (1)
  • Recueillir des renseignements à partir de tableaux et de listes. Examiner attentivement des listes pour obtenir de l'information sur des matériaux et des fournitures, des longueurs coupées sur mesure, des lacunes et des rappels de pièces de même que les numéros de téléphone des employés. Parcourir des tableaux pour trouver des définitions de tâches ainsi que les dimensions des pièces, les délais de décompression et d'autres données techniques. (1)
  • Lire les panneaux de sécurité et de mise en garde qui sont situés aux abords de chantiers de construction et de zones de perçage, de même que les renseignements et les avertissements qui figurent sur des réseaux de tuyauterie et des pièces mécaniques. Les contremaîtres en plomberie lisent, par exemple, les mises en garde relatives à des réseaux de tuyauterie de décompression et de vidange avant de retirer des pièces précises. (2)
  • Remplir des formulaires de rapport comme des ordres d'exécution, des ordres de modification, des feuilles de temps quotidiennes, des formulaires de dépenses, des formulaires de location d'équipement, des rapports d'incident, des formulaires d'assurance de la qualité et des certificats d'inspection. Inscrire dans les formulaires de rapport, par exemple, des données qui concernent, entre autres, des emplacements, des numéros de modèle, la capacité et la pression. (2)
  • Interpréter des données présentées dans des graphiques, comme des graphiques de tension et des courbes de rendement de pompe. (3)
  • Analyser, au besoin, des radiographies de soudures de tuyaux pour en assurer la conformité à l'égard des normes de l'industrie en matière de qualité et de durabilité. Examiner des radiographies pour y détecter des défectuosités comme de la porosité, des inclusions, des fissures et des lacunes sur le plan de la fusion et de la pénétration. (3)
  • Interpréter des diagrammes complexes de montage d'équipement pour rechercher les causes de défectuosités et d'anomalies mécaniques. (4)
  • Examiner attentivement les schémas détaillés de réseaux de tuyauterie pour comprendre la fonction de leurs composants ainsi que l'écoulement des fluides qui s'y produit. Étudier par exemple, à l'occasion, les schémas de gicleurs pour repérer les points d'approvisionnement et de contrôle. (4)
  • Recueillir des renseignements à partir de dessins techniques et architecturaux détaillés d'installations et d'équipement. Analyser, par exemple, des dessins d'exécution pour déterminer la configuration des réseaux de tuyauterie. (4)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Purchase pipefitting materials and supplies using cash or company credit lines. (1)
  • Prepare expense claims by calculating mileage expenses and meal reimbursements at rates specified in collective agreements and company policies. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Schedule tasks for large work crews of tradespeople, apprentices and helpers. They adjust schedules frequently to accommodate emergencies, employee absences, design changes and delays. They may schedule multiple projects simultaneously to maximize efficiency. (2)
  • Set timetables and schedules for the shutdown, repair, overhaul and start-up of mechanical systems. They make adjustments to schedules to accommodate delays and design changes. (2)
  • Create budgets for construction, repair and refurbishing of piping systems. They may include costs of equipment rentals and material, labour and subcontractors, and profit mark-ups. They monitor budgets in order to identify cost overruns and surpluses. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Calculate pipe cut lengths. For example, they calculate cut lengths of travel sections by subtracting the measure back distances from travel distances. (2)
  • Calculate design specifications such as flow rates, pressures and capacities for piping systems. For example, a plumbing contractor calculates the flow volume of ten faucets running at a gallon per minute per tap to determine the required drain hole size. (3)
  • Calculate additive amounts for solutions such as antifreeze. They calculate volumes as a function of internal pipe diameter and length, and then use proportional calculations to scale ratio amounts. For example, a supervisor of sprinkler system installers calculates the total volume of a pipe system in cubic feet and then uses a glycol water ratio to calculate the volume of antifreeze that is needed. (3)
  • Use trigonometry to calculate distances for offsets, including rolling ones. (4)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare supply shipments quantities and dimensions to material lists and identify shortages and overages. For instance, they compare actual measurements to dimensions on scale drawings to verify that design specifications have been met. (1)
  • Analyze flow measurements and pressure test results at varying temperatures and over time to confirm that mechanical systems meet code requirements and design specifications. Fluctuations over time may indicate defects such as leaks. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate material quantities for piping installation and repair jobs. (2)
  • Estimate times required for rough-ins and finishing work to co-ordinate work schedules and establish project timelines. To avoid costly down time, they build in extra time to accommodate delays that may occur due to bad weather, unforeseen mechanical problems and supply shortages. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Provide information about employee timesheets and material orders to accountants. (1)
  • Talk to union representatives about work assignments, contracts, grievances, recruitment and training. (2)
  • Communicate with inspectors, insurance company representatives and other regulators to co-ordinate inspections, discuss design changes and negotiate code deviations. (2)
  • Interact with building owners or managers, suppliers, contractors and other tradespeople to discuss job specifications, order materials, negotiate terms and conditions and resolve discrepancies with scheduling and pricing. (2)
  • Interact with managers to discuss the status of ongoing work orders and review details of upcoming jobs. (2)
  • Interact regularly with the plumbers and pipefitters they supervise. They assign tasks, discuss job specifications, resolve interpersonal disputes and discuss workers' performance. (3)
  • Discuss job specifications and design modifications with design engineers, architects and draftspeople. (3)
  • Lead toolbox safety meetings with work crews to discuss health and safety and administrative matters. They may facilitate safety and mechanical training for employees and other tradespeople. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Find discrepancies between supply orders and shipments from suppliers. They contact supply representatives to report errors, reconfirm their orders, and negotiate quick deliveries to minimize lost time. (2)
  • Face staff shortages when employees are absent or work demands exceed the supply of skilled tradespeople. They subcontract work to independent tradespeople or employees from other companies to cover the shortages or reschedule mechanical work for other times. (2)
  • Encounter unexpected obstructions or interference from other mechanical systems and building structures that are not specified in building plans. They re-route piping and document changes to building plans. If there are major changes, they seek authorization prior to making adjustments and ensure that all changes comply with building and fire protection codes. (2)
  • Receive work orders to install pipe systems in poorly or partially constructed buildings that pose safety risks for workers. They review safety procedures with employees and equip them with devices and protective equipment to minimize risks. For example, they may equip workers with safety harnesses to work in tall buildings that are only partially completed. If the risks are too high, they may delay or cancel work orders. (2)
  • Find that some employees produce sloppy work and exhibit performance deficiencies such as chronic absenteeism and lack of motivation. They meet these employees to review their performance, provide feedback and clarify work expectations. They document the deficiencies and, if they persist, take disciplinary actions. (3)
  • Face emergencies due to mechanical failures such as burst pipes or faulty equipment. For example, if a potable water system is leaking, a plumbing contractor may isolate the leaking sections of the system and examine them to identify faulty valves or fractures in pipes. The contractor organizes repairs of the system as quickly as possible and, if flooding has occurred, coordinates clean-up the affected areas, reports the incident to the client and documents all response measures. (3)
Decision Making
  • Select suppliers and subcontractors. Since the success of projects depends on timely deliveries and job completions, they must consider the competence and dependability of all sub-trades, contractors and suppliers before entering into agreements or contracts. Long lead times may make it difficult to change suppliers for some materials such as pre-fabricated piping assemblies or large pressure vessels. Many companies employ qualifying processes for suppliers and demand performance bonds. (2)
  • Decide which pipefitters and subcontractors to hire. They consider the applicants' experiences, job skills, interview presentations, references and availability. (2)
  • Select pipes, fittings and related hardware to suit usage, environmental conditions and regulatory code requirements. If the wrong materials are used such as aluminium instead of copper pipes, the materials could corrode prematurely or pose unnecessary safety risks. (2)
  • Delegate task assignments to crew members. They consider their qualifications, skills, speed and suitability for project needs. (2)
  • Decide to shut down equipment or call for emergency services to prevent damage to facilities or injury to workers. They rely on their knowledge of health and safety policies and procedures to make quick decisions. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the job performance of journeypersons and apprentices. They assess their mechanical and interpersonal skills by inspecting the quality of their mechanical work, observing their behaviours and interactions with others, and soliciting feedback from other employees and supervisors. They use this information to assign tasks, provide constructive feedback and identify competency areas for training and skill development. (3)
  • Judge the quality of piping installation and repairs. They examine the accuracy of measurements and compare them to job specifications and industry standards. For example, they examine the grades of trenches, lengths and angles of pipes and durability of welds. They consider pressure test results and assess the overall tidiness of the mechanical work to make sure it is neat, level and square. They may also solicit information from fire inspectors, regulators and clients to assess their degree of satisfaction with their companies' work. (3)
  • Assess the suitability of locations and routes for piping systems to minimize space requirements and maximize flow efficiencies. They examine design plans and compare the measurements to actual building and ground structures to assess the need for modifications. They analyze ground slopes, structural angles and pipe drops to identify the most suitable locations for installing equipment and recommend changes to the designs. (3)
  • Evaluate the safety of workplaces and practices. They examine building structures, electrical systems and gas or chemical compounds present on site to identify fire and safety hazards. They may inspect fire alarm systems, extinguishers and other safety measures including staff protective equipment and first aid supplies to ensure the sites are adequately equipped to respond to emergencies. They compare their observations to health and safety policies and standards before authorizing work to proceed. Supervisors of sprinkler systems and gas fitters may also recommend changes to fire protection equipment and practices that will reduce fire risks and improve workplace safety. Errors in judgement can pose significant risks to employees and surrounding people onsite. (4)
Job Task Planning and Organizing Own Job Planning and Organizing

Supervisors and contractors of pipefitting trades plan and organize their own activities to respond to work orders and daily demands from clients, co-workers and other trades' contractors. The work is fast paced and they often juggle several projects at once. Interruptions are frequent and they must be prepared to rearrange job tasks to accommodate emergencies, delays or new project developments.

Planning and Organizing for Others

Supervisors and contractors of pipefitting trades organize projects that sometimes require large crew. They co-ordinate scheduling for and delegate tasks to tradespersons under their supervision. They may also plan scheduled maintenance shutdowns that affect numerous people and participate in organizational planning for contract bids.

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember verbal instructions and changes to work plans until they can write the information down on work orders or drawings.
  • Remember dimensions and other specifications found in codebooks. For example, they may remember that waste pipes must be eighteen inches in diameter.
  • Remember names of other tradespeople, building managers, landowners and fire department officials to build positive working relations.
  • Remember employees' skills and training to assign tasks accordingly.
  • Recall how they resolved mechanical problems in the past so they can apply their knowledge to similar situations. For example, a supervisor of plumbing recalls pressure deficiencies associated with a particular toilet model and how to increase the flow rate when the same model is installed in another building.
Finding Information
  • Consult suppliers, manufacturers, co-workers, equipment manuals, specification sheets and trade handbooks such as the Plumber's Handbook to get technical information and data about the installation, repair and maintenance of piping systems. (2)
  • Draw on information from company policies, codebooks and other regulatory documents such as Technical Standards and Safety Act, Natural Fire Prevention Code and Transportation of Dangerous Goods guidelines to ensure employees are following proper health and safety procedures and that mechanical work meets legislative requirements. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use word processing. For example, they use word processing to write reports, draft content for contract bids and update policies and procedures. They often use templates to minimize text editing and formatting. (2)
  • May use databases. For example, they use established database programs to enter and track inventory data. (2)
  • Use e-mail and communication software. For example, they send e-mail with attachments such as supply lists, quotes and reports to suppliers, co-workers and clients. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they use search engines and hyperlinks to look for information about tools and equipment, pipe and other materials, legislation, training and business news (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example they use collect and organize project data and to create schedules, material lists and budgets. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Supervisors and contractors of pipefitting coordinate and integrate job tasks with other tradespeople and contractors on the same project. They work independently to complete administrative work and manage inventory needs. (3)

Continuous Learning

Supervisors and contractors of pipefitting trades need to learn continuously to renew their certification, to keep informed about changes to regulations and codes and to develop their knowledge of new pipefitting equipment and materials. They learn about new equipment and mechanical procedures by reading manuals, talking with suppliers and experiencing with them first hand. Health and safety certification is available through the local chapters of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Trades or offered in-house by their employers. They are required to renew health and safety certification in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, the Workplace Hazardous Material Information System, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and confined space entry. Those working in the oil and gas industry must also have certification in hydrogen sulphide awareness and ground disturbance. They develop their supervisory skills by taking management courses, analyzing on-the-job experiences and by talking with colleagues and co-workers. (3)

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