What they do
Plumbers assemble, install and repair water supply, gas, drainage, sewerage, ventilation and heating systems in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. They lay pipes and install sanitary services such as showers, sinks, baths and toilets, as well as the fixtures that enable their use. They also undertake maintenance work as part of routine servicing and emergency repairs. They may also install water-based fire protections systems like fire hydrants, hose reels and sprinkler systems. Plumbers can work anywhere around the state, from our cities and regional centres, to country towns and isolated communities.
Specialisations include: Fire Services Plumber, Sanitary Plumber, Water Plumber
Plumbers may work either indoors or outdoors, on projects that range from household repairs to large-scale industrial installations. Their work may be dirty and unsanitary, and they may get dirty themselves. They usually work regular business hours, although some plumbers may be on call 24 hours a day to attend to emergencies.
Tools and technologies
Plumbers use a number of tools in their daily work, such as wrenches, spanners, saws, cutters and drills. They cut, bend, join and fix materials such as lead, copper, aluminium, plastic, zinc and iron. They use welding equipment for joining pipes and drainage machinery to clear drains, and may also use electrical equipment such as pipe-threading machines. They are often required to wear safety equipment such as steel-capped boots, earmuffs, safety glasses and overalls.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a plumber, you usually need to undertake an apprenticeship in plumbing and gas fitting. The apprenticeship usually takes 48 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship. You may improve your chances of gaining an apprenticeship by completing a pre-apprenticeship course.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
To work as a plumber in Western Australia, you will need to obtain a Plumbing Tradesperson License or Plumbing Contractor License from the Plumbers Licensing Board.
To work as a plumber within the construction industry, you will need to obtain a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a “white card”) from a registered training organisation authorised by the WorkSafe Division, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
In Western Australia, sub-contractors carrying out construction work valued at more than $20,000 must be accredited or work under the supervision of someone who is accredited, as a registered building practitioner. Contact the Building Commission for more information.