Heating and ventilation fitters install, maintain and repair central heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. They work on large-scale equipment including boilers, tanks, air ducts and large pipes. They use a variety of tools to carry out their work.
There are some similarities to the work done by plumbers, but heating and ventilation fitters generally work on very large-scale installations which may include refrigeration systems, large pumps and boilers.
Heating and ventilation fitters need to be physically fit because the work involves lifting heavy equipment (although ropes and pulleys are used for the heavier components), as well as bending, kneeling and working in cramped and awkward spaces. They must have a head for heights, as they may also need to work on scaffolding. It is necessary to keep up to date with health and safety regulations.
Installation work is carried out in premises such as office blocks, hospitals, factories and power stations. When the equipment has been installed it must be tested to make sure that it is working efficiently and safely.
Their work mainly consists of fitting pipes to carry hot water, other liquids or gas. Fitters use bending machines to shape the larger pipes and ducts that can be up to fifty centimetres in diameter. Flame-cutting equipment is used to cut these to the correct size. They usually work from drawings showing the planned layout of the whole system. Some fitters offer service and maintenance contracts for clients.
Maintenance and repair work includes routine servicing and emergency repairs. Repair work involves finding faults in the system, replacing or repairing any damaged parts, carrying out tests and making sure that the system operates properly.
Schooling & School Subjects
There are no academic qualifications required to enter this occupation.
People who enter into this career should already have some experience either as a plumber or as a sheet metal fabricator. Training is generally on-the-job. Some companies may offer their own apprenticeships. It is also possible to start as a labourer for experienced fitters and work your way up from there.
Any of the above.