Plumber, Gasfitter & Drainlayer


A plumber, gasfitter and drainlayers  assemble, install and repair the pipes, fixtures and fittings used to supply water and gas or to remove wastes.

Tasks and Duties:

  • studies building plans
  • discusses the client’s requirements
  • replaces or repairs damaged pipes
  • cuts holes in walls for new pipes
  • measures, cuts and shapes pipes
  • installs and joins pipes and fittings
  • tests joins for leaks
  • installs fixtures such as gas stoves, toilets and air-conditioning
  • repairs and maintains pipes and fixtures
  • installs bathrooms
  • installs and maintains hot water systems
  • installs and repairs roofing pipes
  • may run their own business


Plumbers and gasfitters need to have good communication, problem-solving, organisation and practical work skills. They also need an eye for detail, the ability to follow instructions and skill in interpreting figures and drawings.


Plumbers and gasfitters need a knowledge of plumbing materials and methods, and building and safety regulations. They also need to know how to use, and care for, equipment and have a knowledge of soldering and welding, and be able to read plans.

Personal Qualities:

Plumbers and gasfitters should be practical, patient, honest, accurate, quick and efficient. They should also be safety-conscious, quick thinking, not afraid of heights and able to work alone and in a team.

Physical Requirements:

Plumbers and gasfitters need to be fit and healthy, and have good hand-eye co-ordination. They also need upper body strength, as some lifting is involved.

Educational Requirements:

NCEA Level 1 in English, maths, science, graphics and engineering shopwork with NCEA Level 2 in the same an advantage.

Entry Requirements:

  • Successful complete of a relevant pre apprenticeship course is an advantage.
  • A current driver’s license is required.

Useful Experience

Working with tools and mechanical work such as car repairs. Completion of a welding course at a polytechnic would be useful.

Training on the job

Useful experience for plumbers and gasfitters may include building industry work, drain laying, work using hand tools, welding and sheetmetal work. Apprentices complete 8,000 hour apprenticeships on the worksite and go to block courses and complete distance learning (correspondence) in their own time.

Work Places

Plumbers and gasfitters work inside and outside, and travel to various work sites. They work in homes, commercial and industrial buildings and factories, and in buildings that are under construction or being altered or renovated. They also work in boiler rooms and engine rooms, and may work on fishing and passenger boats.

Further Information

A plumbing pre-apprenticeship course is optional. Apprentices take courses in plumbing and gasfitting and on completion gain a National Certificate. Plumbers and gasfitters may also complete additional courses to become registered drainlayers.

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