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Plumbers: A guide to the duties and skills of the pipes specialists

Plumbers can undertake the installation, repair and maintenance of gas and water pipes, sanitation systems, baths, sinks, toilets, dishwashers, water heaters and other heating systems in both commercial and residential buildings.

They can assess and design plumbing systems and make sure that they comply with local authority rules and regulations. They may also perform necessary repairs on all such systems and maintain existing pipes.

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Duties and skills of plumbers

Locating and repairing leaks

Plumbers and their apprentices are often required to identify the cause of a leak and repair it. The difficulty of this task depends on a building’s size and the complexity of its plumbing system. Locating leaks in large commercial buildings is often more demanding.

Changing and repairing plumbing parts

Plumbers can solve most plumbing issues by changing or repairing certain parts of an affected system. This may mean the replacement of faulty taps, repairing holes in pipes, or removing blockages. For residents of Sydney, you can contact a plumber in St Clair for all such services.

Choosing the right tools for the job

Plumbing tasks need a range of tools and equipment. Choosing the correct tools and equipment helps to guarantee quality plumbing service.

Preparing cost estimates

Plumbers work in diverse situations and should know how much to charge for materials, equipment and labour. Costs naturally vary according to the nature and size of the job. Apprentices learn how to evaluate a job to be able to charge clients correctly.

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Different levels of plumbers


An apprentice plumber is a beginner who works under supervision of more experienced plumbers. An apprentice carries out minor duties like cleaning and organising tools.

To become a plumber’s apprentice, you must complete coursework and then work under supervision. An apprentice must be at least 18 years old and usually have a high school diploma.

Apprentice plumbers usually work in the same supervised position until they complete their apprenticeship.


A journeyman plumber can work without supervision. The tasks they can carry out include installing plumbing systems, fixtures and appliances.

A journeyman may specialise in certain types of work to differentiate themselves from other plumbers. To become a journeyman plumber, you need a valid apprentice licence and four years of work experience.

You also need to pass an exam that evaluates your knowledge of the trade. After passing this exam, you become a journeyman plumber and your apprenticeship is complete.

Master plumber and specialisation

The master plumber level is the highest qualification in plumbing, and this allows you to run your own business, secure permits for projects and employ junior plumbers. Master plumbers are often responsible for the management, finance and legal aspects of their business.

Master plumbers can send junior plumbers to complete small jobs unsupervised. To gain a master plumber license requires the completion of two years working as a journeyman and then passing another exam.

Master plumbers may also apply for specialty licences, to work in a specific area of plumbing, which verifies your specialist knowledge. With such a licence, you can register your own plumbing business.


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