Essential skills for success as a steamfitter-pipefitter
Steamfitter-pipefitters use essential skills to complete trade-related tasks. Use this fact sheet to:
- learn how essential skills are used on the job;
- find out the skills you need to succeed in your trade; and
- help prepare yourself for your career.
- Read minutes of project meetings or memos.
- Read equipment warranties to understand what kind of situations can make them invalid.
- Read manufacturers' manuals and instructions for technical information on equipment and fittings.
- Read, interpret and refer to multiple professional codes such as the Construction Security Code or High Pressure Welding Code to verify that processes meet industry requirements while ensuring safety for workers.
- Read work schedules for projects to plan work and coordinate with other tradespeople.
- Refer to equipment catalogues to locate parts.
- Scan workplace signs, labels and symbols to identify hazardous products.
- Consult the Pipefitters' Handbook for information on measurement, type of materials, pipe sizing and mathematical formulas for calculations required.
- Refer to and read tables in high-pressure vessel manuals to confirm the
required temperatures, pressure and expansion.
- Interpret and take measurements from three-dimensional (3D) mechanical
drawings to identify how to install equipment, review specifications and
extract information to make calculations.
- Interpret schematic diagrams, 3D drawings and architectural plans
to understand the routing of piping through conduits and to identify
- Use a plumb bob to centre a pipe over a hole.
- Convert length measurements from International System of Measures (SI) to imperial measurement system and vice-versa.
- Use mathematical calculations to determine the expansion or contraction of piping material to decide if an expansion loop or joint is required to minimize stress on the piping system.
- Take and compare several pressure readings to calculate flow through the system when conducting and performing tests on the system to ensure it has the correct pressure.
- Take pressure and temperature readings to determine if equipment is performing well or if balancing is required.
- Calculate the volume of piping to determine measurements such as the quantity of anti-freeze required to be added in the system.
- Use trigonometry to calculate offsets and rolling offsets when installing fittings in piping systems.
- Complete forms to request materials.
- Write lists of all materials and fittings needed for a job.
- Keep a daily log to record measurements and reminders.
- Write incident or accident reports in the event of workplace injury.
- Interact with co-workers and supervisors at project meetings to discuss problems.
- Talk to contractor or supervisor to obtain information about deadlines, to raise safety issues and/or inform of potential delays.
- Interact with other steamfitter-pipefitters working on different systems to coordinate and ensure the two systems meet at the same correct location.
- Talk with Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) representatives once a system is finished to ensure it meets certification requirements.
- Communicate with other tradespeople to coordinate tasks or make requests.
- Talk to engineers to discuss a potential problem and identify a solution.
Working with others
- Interact with supervisors, colleagues and other tradespeople to coordinate tasks or to make requests.
- Identify the tools required to move large pieces of equipment in small spaces.
- Decide how to organize tasks most efficiently.
- Decide how to configure pipes when only flowcharts are available and there are no diagrams.
- Determine how to correct errors such as a pipe that has been incorrectly measured.
- Determine how to coordinate jobs with other tradespeople working on the same project.
- Decide how to relocate piping when there is interference with another system.
- Identify reasons for pipe failure and determine the proper course of action to repair the situation.
- Use a spreadsheet to keep track of materials.
- Use computer-assisted design software to input measurements taken on the job site to generate drawings.
- Use the Internet to look up material information or order materials online.
- Participate in workplace training and refresher courses for safety procedures.
- Keep up-to-date with the regulatory requirements and the various codes that are periodically revised.
- Keep up-to-date with technological advances to be able to select the most appropriate equipment and materials to perform proper installations.
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