A person who works as a helper—pipelayer, plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter has a fairly labor-intensive job. As the name implies, the helper works to assist licensed workers in the field of plumbing and pipework. Helpers may be required to lift and hold heavy pipes while the pipefitter applies a weld to them. The helper can also be required to cut, lift, or extract old pipes or steam traps for repair or replacement.
Typically, the helper works on a jobsite or as part of a repair crew assigned to a licensed plumber or pipefitter. They normally work on heavy pipes that deliver or remove steam and water through a system. For instance, in older buildings that rely on boilers and steam heat, the helper is likely to assist a steamfitter in checking delivery pipes and ductwork. This can include removing sections of pipe and cleaning them, as well as performing boil tests on the pie to assess structural weaknesses due to rust or pitting.
There are minimal education requirements for this position. A helper to pipefitters or plumbers is likely to receive most of his or her training through on the job instruction. This is a physically demanding job, and a person interested in this field will be required to lift, hold, and carry 50 to 100 pounds or more at a time. Typically employees in this career will split work between a workshop area and fieldwork on construction sites, normally during daylight hours.
Helper--Pipelayer, Plumber, Pipefitter, or Steamfitter Tasks
Secure, test, and calibrate installations.
Assemble, manufacture, or produce according to specifications.
Transport and lay out supplies and parts.
Prepare site and clean up after installations.