Plumbers (NOC 7251)

About this job

Plumbers install, repair and maintain pipes, fixtures and other plumbing equipment used for water distribution and waste water disposal in residential, commercial and industrial building.

People in this occupation:

  • strictly follow the B.C. plumbing code
  • work in maintenance departments of factories, plants and similar establishments
  • may work for plumbing contractors
  • may be self-employed
  • must be able to accurately follow complex codes and rules for installation
  • must be able work without supervision and organize their own work day
  • should be able to bend and crawl into tight spaces
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a plumber is like.
Common job titles
  • installer, plumbing
  • mechanic, plumbing
  • plumber, journeyman / journeywoman
  • plumber, marine / pipefitting
  • plumber, radiator


Plumbers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • read blueprints, drawings and specifications to determine layout of plumbing system, water supply network and waste and drainage systems
  • install, repair and maintain domestic, commercial or industrial plumbing fixtures and systems
  • locate and mark positions for pipe connections, passage holes and fixtures in walls and floors
  • cut opening in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and pipe fittings
  • measure, cut, bend and thread pipes using hand and power tools or machines
  • join pipes using couplings, clamps, screws, bolts, cement or soldering, brazing and welding equipment
  • test pipes for leaks using air and water pressure gauges
  • may prepare cost estimates

Work environment

Plumbers typically work 40 hours per week. Some plumbers may also work on an on-call basis and respond to plumbing emergencies at all hours. Plumbers who do industrial maintenance at large facilities may do shift work.

The working environment for plumbers can be cramped, dirty and noisy, depending on the job. Plumbers must be physically fit since they are required to carry heavy pipe and stand for much of the day.

Heavy lifting and working in cramped spaces can lead to muscle and joint pain. Continued use of some tools may lead to repetitive stress injuries, such as tendonitis and bursitis.

Insights from industry

Over the last few years low interest rates and a growing economy have resulted in a rapid increase in construction activity in B.C. Residential construction and renovations in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, southern Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions continue to be a source of plumbing work.

Commercial, institutional and industrial construction will also continue to be an important job supply for plumbers.

Technological improvements and more efficient methods are increasing the productivity of plumbers. Improved output of workers will affect the number of new jobs created. For example, if construction activity increases in the future, there may not be an equal increase in the number of plumbing jobs.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Most workers begin by working as apprentice plumbers. Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, workers receive their journeymen papers and are then certified plumbers.

Those who have completed their apprenticeships typically start out working for a larger plumbing contractor/company. Experience plumbers may be promoted to a supervisory position.

More experienced plumbers may choose to work as independent contractors and start their own plumbing companies. With additional education some plumbers may become certified plumbing inspectors.

Additional resources