Sheet metal workers (NOC 7233)

About this job

Sheet metal workers fabricate, assemble, install and repair sheet metal products.

People in this occupation:

  • may specialize in the on-site installation or shop manufacture of sheet metal products or in the servicing and maintenance of installed equipment and systems
  • work for sheet metal fabrication shops, sheet metal products manufacturing companies, sheet metal work contractors and various industrial sectors
  • should have good spatial perception and an ability to pay close attention to detail
  • must have good manual dexterity to work with the tools necessary to cut and assemble sheet metal
  • should also be comfortable working at heights, as well as have an aptitude for mathematics
Common job titles
  • aircraft layout worker - sheet metal
  • coppersmith
  • high rise sheet metal installer
  • sheet metal fabricator / mechanic
  • sheet metal mechanic bench hand
  • sheet metal worker
  • aircraft layout worker - sheet metal
  • coppersmith
  • high rise sheet metal installer
  • journeyman / journeywoman sheet metal worker
  • metal furniture model maker / patternmaker
  • residential (low rise) sheet metal installer

Duties

Sheet metal workers:

  • read engineering and architectural drawings, sketches and work specifications to be performed, and lay out, measure and mark sheet metal according to drawings or templates
  • develop patterns for sheet metal using computer-assisted design and drafting (CAD) software package
  • operate light metalworking machines such as shears, brakes, punches and drill presses, including computer numerical control (CNC) equipment to cut, bend, punch, drill, shape or straighten sheet metal
  • operate computerized laser or plasma cutting equipment to cut sheet metal
  • install and use rigging and hoisting equipment
  • fit and join sheet metal parts using riveting, welding, soldering and similar equipment to make products such as ventilation shafts, exhaust hoods, eavestroughs, partition frames, air and heat ducts, material handling systems, roof decking and sheet metal buildings
  • install sheet metal products according to specifications and building codes
  • grind and buff seams, joints and rough surfaces
  • inspect product quality and installation to make sure specifications are followed

Special duties

Sheet metal workers may specialize in:

  • on-site installation or shop manufacture of sheet metal products, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment (HVAC), metal wall and roofing panels, and commercial kitchen ventilation
  • servicing and maintenance of installed equipment and systems

Work environment

Sheet metal workers typically work 40 hours per week, however, some overtime may be required to meet deadlines. Work is done both indoors and outdoors in a variety of settings, including shops, homes and commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. Although duct systems and kitchen equipment are installed indoors, the installation of siding, roofing and gutters involves outdoor work in various kinds of weather.

Sheet metal workers who do installation work are required to do considerable bending, lifting, standing, climbing and squatting, sometimes in close quarters or in awkward positions. These workers also often work at heights from ladders and scaffolding. Safety regulations are followed in order to prevent injury, such as cuts from metal and burns from soldering and welding.

Working conditions have changed somewhat in recent years, as greater mechanization has reduced the labour intensity of this type of work. In addition, various CNC cutting machines using water jet and laser technology are becoming more widespread within the industry, which increases the need for workers with computer skills.

Insights from industry

Of the new opportunities that will arise over the next few years, most will result from the need to replace retiring workers.

Many sheet metal workers rely on residential building activity to generate business. In addition, government funding for capital projects has been an important source of construction employment.

Commercial, institutional and industrial construction activity grew as a result of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The 2010 Games created a demand for sheet metal workers to support the building of sports complexes, transportation facilities and the new trade and convention centre. Economic growth post-Olympics have resulted in continued opportunities for these workers.

Sheet metal workers with specialized skills in welding are expected to have an advantage in finding employment.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

With experience and additional training, sheet metal workers can move into senior or supervisory positions.

Some experienced workers may choose to start their own businesses.

Additional resources