Contrary to popular perception, plumbing is a very interesting and varied career.
The sheer variety of work makes it impossible to list all that can be undertaken.
Some of the jobs that a plumber does involve installing the water supply and fuel
supply systems, for example:
Cold and hot water supply to bathrooms, kitchens
Central heating systems and gas or oil supply systems
Above ground drainage systems
Plumbers work in all types of buildings, including: houses, flats, cafes, restaurants,
hotels, pubs, airports, aeroplanes, trains, stations, colleges, schools factories,
hospitals, ships… People need water to survive, so everywhere there are people, there
will be a need for plumbers!
Once the plumbing systems are installed the work is not complete until the systems
have been tested to ensure that everything is working correctly and safe for the
Another aspect of the plumbers work is maintenance and repair. Everyone should be
aware that boilers and other fuel-burning appliances need annual servicing to keep
them safe. Furthermore, water supply systems and boilers and central heating systems
are quite complex and can sometimes break down and again the plumber can be called
upon to figure out what’s gone wrong and repair the system.
As well as fitting the piping systems that carry water around the building, plumbers
are involved with keeping the inside of the building dry by fitting gutters and sheet
lead weatherings to chimneys and roofs.
Thinking about the above it’s obvious that everyone needs plumbers - at some time,
so there is never a shortage of work - there’s usually a shortage of qualified plumbers,
this means that the pay can be very good! The work a plumber does is often appreciated
by the customer, (try, for a few moments to imaging a life without clean water to
drink or hot water to bathe in). It can be very satisfying to start a job and carry
it through to completion where everything works.
Plumbers in Demand?
The Summitskills sector needs analysis (Autumn 2007) predicted that an annual increase
of nearly 3000 new plumbers will be needed in the UK each year for the next five
years on top of about 5000 people who leave the industry due to retirement and other
factors... The Construction Skills Network - Blueprint for UK Construction Skills
2008 to 2012 predicts that over 4500 new plumbing and HVAC Trades people will be
needed... Consequently there is still an ongoing skills shortage!
What does a plumber do?
Plumbers have to be able to:
Plan out the job required, or work out what needs repairing
Be able to follow plans and drawings, and understand technical instructions
Order materials from suppliers
Fix baths, sinks, radiators, etc. to walls, in floors or ducts
Measure distances to work out the lengths of piping needed
Cut and bend piping to correct dimensions
Join piping so that it doesn’t leak
Work as part of a team with joiners, bricklayers, electricians, etc.
The list shows that a plumber needs a number of skills to work effectively, a reasonable
level of literacy and numeracy also is needed, as well as the physical skills to
manipulate tools and equipment and good social skills are needed too. This is because
the plumber works with so many different people, both co-workers and often face-to-face
with their customers.