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Working in Renovation: Plumber

By: Karine Dutemple

Working in Renovation: Plumber

By: Karine Dutemple

Renovation tradesPlumbingWorking in Renovation: Plumber

A home or building with a flawless plumbing system is a serious luxury. The repair of these systems and fixtures isn’t carried out by just any individual. Plumbers are in charge of keeping water flowing smoothly. Plumbing is an underrated profession, and the necessity of plumbers in modern-day society is growing more and more significant.

If you’re considering a career in the vast world of plumbing, what's there to know? A plumber needs a wide variety of skills that involve much more than simply unclogging a drain or two. In this article, we’ll go over what it takes to become a professional plumber.


Working in Renovation: Becoming a Plumber


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Moving into the world of professional plumbing will begin with getting a base-level education. This profession requires a high-school diploma or equivalent. When it comes to getting a trade, it’s integral that you have basic reading, writing and math skills down. To work as a professional plumber, it will be necessary for you to have advanced math and science skills. This is because plenty of plumbing work will involve being able to accurately measure and gauge different aspects of water levels.

If you don’t have a diploma or GED and are looking into getting one to pursue this career; we would suggest focusing on the following areas of education, as they’ll be necessary to plumbing:

  • Metric units of measurement;
  • Algebra;
  • Geometry;
  • Thermodynamics;
  • Biology.

Not only do these areas require careful attention, but moving forward with a career in plumbing will require a clean record. This includes your driving record, criminal background, and history with substances. For many plumbers, having a license as well as access to a vehicle is a must and thus, a clean driving record is more than necessary. Not only this, but many employers may refuse to work with you if your record isn’t clear.


Training Program


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A clean record and high school diploma are the base-level requirements for moving forward with a plumbing career. Once you have these things, you can start thinking about enrolling in technical courses. Technical plumbing courses will absolutely be required if you’re serious about this career. Depending on the city or municipality you’re living in, you’ll be required to complete a certain number of hours in the classroom as well as a certain number of hours apprenticing in the field.

The specifics of these requirements will greatly depend on where you’re living, so do be sure to look into community college or trade programs as well as professional plumbing unions or associations for all the important information about moving into this area. Here are some expected topics when it comes to finding education on the subject:

  • Pipe cutting;
  • Drainage;
  • Soldering;
  • Water heating systems;
  • Ventilation.

Some general skills that plumbers require include being able to read blueprints, an understanding of various types of piping systems, how the piping is connected, inspecting and determining potential piping or plumbing issues, basic carpentry as well as welding. Schooling and apprenticeship programs can take anywhere between 3 to 5 years, so do be aware that you’re in for the long haul.


Plumbing Examination

plumber repairing

source: unsplash

In most cases, following the completion of all classes and your apprenticeship program, you’ll need to take a final test to confirm your plumbing license. This test will be an amalgamation of everything you’ve learned, on both the job front and throughout your time in classes. Again, the length and preparation methods will greatly depend on the city where you’re living as well as the requirements for being a licensed plumber.

If you pass the test, likely, you’ll legally be allowed to work as a plumber and move forward with contracts. In some cases, you’ll still need to work within a network of qualified plumbers before moving forward with your own business.



Some may be considering a specialization in the field of plumbing, and these would be your options.

Pipelayers: A pipelayer is someone who physically installs the pipes for the plumbing system. This work includes digging and making space for the piping and grading trenches. This work is typically strenuous and should be left to those who can handle it.

Pipefitters: This type of plumbing specialization is left to those in charge of large, industrial plumbing projects. This might also mean maintaining heating and cooling systems in manufacturing, industrial and commercial spaces.

Steamfitters: This type of plumber installs piping that is in place to move steam around a building. This can be in any setting where electricity is generated.

Do bear in mind that the salary of a plumber, including those who take on specializations, will greatly depend on where you’re living as well as the terms of the projects you’re taking on.


Working as a Plumber in Quebec

To work as a plumber in Quebec, it is essential to obtain a valid license from the Corporation des maîtres mécaniciens en tuyauterie du Québec (CMMTQ) which acts as a mandatory agent for the RBQ. The RBQ license required: Plumbing Contractor (subcategory 15.5).

Apart from the rules established by the RBQ, it is important to know that it is possible for the various Quebec municipalities to establish certain specific requirements for the work carried out on their territory.  While the majority of them have waived this right, others such as Westmount and Ville Mont-Royal still use it to this day.

Find a job as a plumber can guide find a job as a plumber. Tell us about your career prospects and we'll connect you with contractors who are likely to be interested in your skills, free of charge. Fill in our form (it'll only take a few minutes) and we'll take care of sending your candidate application to prospective employers.

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Last modified 2023-04-04

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Must-Have Masonry Tools

You can’t just decide to call yourself a mason on a whim, since techniques like formwork are difficult to master, even for professionals. However, with the right masonry tools, available at hand in your toolbox, some jobs can be done independently. Therefore, here's an overview of the most important masonry tools along with their specifications. This list of tools isn't as exhaustive as it sounds. In fact, as Jonathan Barras, of Maçonnerie Élégance, explained in an interview we did with him: "As for basic tools [trowels, hammers, etc. Ed.], it's really up to the employees to get them.” Most Common Tools Used by Masons Barras also pointed out that, "When working on new masonry, workers use tools such as trowels, tables, jointer, a level, and hammer." To lay it out differently, let's just say that every mason must have at least 9 indispensable masonry tools: trowel, float, plaster, set square, plumb bob, string line, concrete mixer, sledgehammer, and masonry chisel. Trowel Source: Pixabay The trowel is the most iconic masonry tool. It's basically a steel blade either triangular, trapezoidal, or square in shape, fixed to a curved or profiled handle. It comes in three varieties: basic, berthelet, and brick trowel. Basic trowel A basic trowel is basically a tool used to mount common bricks (round trowel), to grout bricks, and when tuckpointing (tuck pointer). However, don't assume that the basic trowel is a specific type of trowel. In fact, it's a category that, along with the tuck pointer and the round trowel, includes the renowned Venetian plaster trowel, triangular trowel, or a hand trowel with a tapered blade. In fact, every mason needs these various trowels to perform precision work. Berthelet trowel Triangular in shape, the berthelet trowel has two unique shapes, lengthwise. On one side, it’s bevelled and smooth, and on the other, it’s usually jagged. The toothed side can be used to remove any surplus plaster on the work surface, while the flat side is used for finishing work, especially when smoothing out the plaster. Brick trowel It's the ultimate time-saver. Since it has bevelled edges, the brick trowel is ideal to cut bricks. To split the brick, simply strike each corner of the brick with the edge of the trowel, then strike it with the back of the handle. Plastering float Whenever you see a mason with a trowel in one hand, you can probably assume that they have a plastering float in the other. Keep in mind that they also have to carry the mortar. That's why they use a float. Basically, it's a flat, square-shaped tool masons slap on mortar or plaster. Often, masons use it to smooth out the plaster on the wall they're building. Are you looking for experts for your masonry project? Fill in this form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Plastering trowel This is another tool in the plasterer’s float family, and it has a semi-hard surface that’s perfect to smooth out plaster, screed, or cement. It’s also known as a “mason’s trowel” or “pointing trowel.” Its rubber base also makes the float perfect for tiling without fear of scuffing the surface. Different trowels should be used depending on the work at hand: Venetian plaster trowel: To smooth out screed and plaster; Flemish-style float: Perfect to level the ground; Swiss plastering float: Convenient to smooth out the plaster. Steel corner brace The corner brace enables masons to ensure right angles. It’s one of the indispensable tools a mason can have on hand. Brass plumb bob and string line After the set square for right angles, there’s the plumb bob for vertical reference. Said tool is used to ensure that a wall is built straight, and is an essential masonry tool. Together with a string line, these two instruments ensure that a wall is straight, both in terms of length and height. It's the string, or more precisely its clever setup, that makes it all possible: The string is nothing more or less than a cord pulled from an anchor point called an "eyelet." The line's perpendicularity is ensured by pulling another string across the line and attaching it to two markers. As Barras pointed out, "In masonry, to measure, you can use tools like levels, string lines [to mark, to trace, Ed.]." This speaks to its significance. Concrete mixer Source: Pixabay This tool is very dependent on the project's size. It's unnecessary should you be pouring a slab with a surface of less than 50 ft² (15m²), or when building interior walls. However, as soon as the work becomes substantial, you have to mix the concrete in a concrete mixer. Electric or heated concrete mixer? 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The term "masonry chisel" doesn't refer to two steel blades, but rather to a thin, flat piece of metal on top of the chisel. Its function? To cut brick, stone or concrete. If at first, it doesn't do the trick, you can add a flat chisel to your arsenal. Overview of the different masonry tools and their features Also mentioned by Barras in terms of tools: “Renovation workers use a lot more tools than new masonry project workers such as saws [Arbotech Tools, Ed.] or drop-in anchors.” Along with the 9 must-have tools above-mentioned, other tools are also required, such as clamps, concrete planer, combi hammer, masonry brush, and brick jointer. Clamps Also known as brick anchors, clamps are small, metal rods on which a metal plate slides. The mason will shove the tip of the rod into a wall and then slide the metal plate until it clamps onto a wooden board used as formwork. Clamps are used to allow workers to plaster walls while the mortar isn’t yet dry. 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Skills Needed to Manoeuvre a Crane Source: Pawel Grzegorz - Pixabay To really make the most of your studies and overcome challenges along the way, some personality types are more favourable when it comes to possibly becoming a crane operator. According to the Holland Code (RIASEC) test, the authorities on the matter suggest that individuals with an RCE personality type are more likely to have the prerequisites to manoeuvre cranes. In other words, people who have a realistic, conventional, and enterprising sense of self, and enjoy carrying out concrete, defined, and thorough tasks. Moreso, they’re able to uphold certain sets of guidelines, be physically involved in their work, and manage important responsibilities. Since any accident could have major consequences, a crane operator must have certain basic skills and knowledge such as: Excellent eyesight; Good physical endurance; Good dexterity and instincts; Patience, rigour, and meticulousness; Strong critical thinking skills and good judgment; Heightened sense of concentration and attention; No fear of heights or enclosed spaces; Enjoy working solo and in a team; Mindful of rules, standards, workplace safety, and given responsibilities. Becoming a Crane Operator: Training & Certification Source: tara hunt - Flickr The easiest and most common path to becoming a certified crane operator consists of completing a full-time training program (DVS), which consists of 870 hours, over a period of 7-8 months. However, this training is only offered in two institutions in Quebec: Centre national de conduite d'engins de chantier in Lévis and at the C.F. en conduite d'engins de chantier et de grues, at Atelier-école les Cèdres. 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To ensure that this option isn’t taken lightly, aspiring crane operators must be able to prove that they’re taking the necessary steps by providing a commitment letter from a prospective employer, obtaining an apprenticeship certification, and completing 150 hours of training and experience within a period of 3 consecutive months. Should these prerequisites not be met according to the set timeline, it’ll therefore be impossible to start over or complete the exam. In such a case, the individual will then have to complete a DVS. To learn more about the program, exemptions, and apprenticeships, check out the CCQ website. Cover photo source: Mix - Pixabay

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Resilient Flooring Layer: A Little-Known Trade

If you’re looking for a career in the construction industry where teamwork is essential and perfectionism is—at long last—valued, consider becoming a resilient interior flooring layer. This little-known profession, although essential, is seeing a significant labour shortage as a result of a large number of workers retiring. Has it piqued your interest? Check out the following to find out whether your worker profile corresponds to that of the trade. What does a resilient flooring layer do? Source: Canva So, what’s resilient flooring, anyway? Well, it’s basically flooring that is resistant to impact, like carpet, underlayment, vinyl, linoleum, cork, rubber, and the list goes on. Specially practical in commercial buildings or health centres, such materials require that the person performing the installation partake in a special academic training during which they’ll learn to: Read and sketch plans and evaluate potential production costs; Plan the work and prepare surfaces to be covered; Ensure the worksite adheres to health and security measures; Measure, cut, and alter flooring; Adequately use various types of glue, polishers, vacuums, cement mixers, air hammers, and other tools; Lay, replace, and repair flooring in buildings. Do you have what it takes to become a resilient flooring layer? Source: Canva The skills and knowledge required to dominate this trade, and to successfully carry out the required tasks are, no surprise, linked to physical fitness and manual labour. Since you’ll be called to handle heavy tools and lean down, it goes without saying that you’ll need physical strength, great flexibility and stability, and be somewhat dexterous. Also, you’ll need to be able to spot the little details and have good observational skills. On the intellectual side, mathematical and deductive skills, along with a sharp mind, are required. In fact, the first steps undertaken on a work site are the blueprints, calculations, and know-how about the materials’ characteristics. Since it’s a very teamwork-prone type of job, you have to be comfortable speaking openly, organizing tasks logically, and gathering the necessary information to relay the information clearly and concisely. At the same time, your capacity to take initiative and be autonomous will be key to a successful career path. If you’ve already turned to a career counsellor, it’s likely that they’ve already asked you to take the Holland test (RIASEC) to determine your personality traits and areas of interest. Note that the profile that’s most likely to suit that of a resilient flooring layer is Realist - Investigative - Conventional. Simply put, though you’ve probably already figured that out based on the above-mentioned information, meaning individuals who prefer concrete and physical work, problem solvers, and those who walk a straight line in terms of conduct. Note that some employers will mandate workers to be bilingual and have the ability to work anywhere in Quebec (driver’s license and transportation). Carpet and Other Resilient Flooring Installers: Required Training Source: Canva To be able to work in a job related to various resilient flooring installations, you’ll need to complete a DVS (also known as a DEP) in Resilient Flooring Installation—Buildings and Public Works—which is 900 hours, full time. This training program is available in English and in French, depending on the establishment in question. In a nutshell, these are the options available to you: Capitale-Nationale - CSS de la Capitale - ÉMOICQ Laval - CSS de Laval - C.F.P. Le Chantier Montérégie - CSS Marie-Victorin - C.F.P. Pierre-Dupuy Montréal - CSS de Montréal - École des métiers de la construction de Montréal What the future holds for a resilient flooring layer You’ll have to show up at the CCQ with a diploma attesting to your completion of a DVS in resilient flooring installation and find an employer that’s registered with the CCQ and guarantees 150 hours of work. Once these conditions are met, you’ll then move on to being an apprentice. To then obtain your journeyperson certificate, you’ll need to have accrued at least 2,000 hours of experience. Once your career has taken off, you’ll make an average wage of $29/h; most likely a bit more depending on the industry in which you work. Most of the work sites are at institutional and commercial levels. As for employers, they’re often flooring resellers or manufacturers as well as construction contractors. Note that, if you have an entrepreneurial bone, this trade is perfect to eventually go out on your own. Some relevant links: How to join the construction industry without a diploma Training programs dedicated to women in construction Finding the right job for you Advice for contractors and labourers in the renovation industry

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How to Become a Security Systems Electrician

Are you passionate about computers, electronics, and new technologies? Are you drawn to manual work, in which the words "build," "repair," or "install" sound like true challenges to you? Electricity, intricate components, and problem-solving don't scare you? Well then, maybe you should consider a career as a security systems electrician. This complex and wide-ranging trade offers excellent job prospects and is eagerly awaiting your candidature! Security Systems Electrician Tasks Source: Canva Also known within the industry as “installers,” “technicians,” or “electronic maintenance technicians,” these experts are tasked with fitting, configuring, verifying, and maintaining various security systems: Fire alarm Anti-theft Access control Video surveillance Telecommunication Emergency communication Control unit Sprinkler supervision These specialists can work either in private residences or in commercial, institutional, or industrial sectors. Aside from the above-mentioned tasks, academic training and on-the-job experience will teach future electricians to: Make equipment and work areas safe for employees and the general public; Drive and maintain a service vehicle; Interpret plans, quotes, technical books, and diagrams (in English and French); Understand direct and alternative currents circuits, logic circuits, and semiconductors; Connect and install cables and connections; Activate and connect all types of systems to a central unit; Carry out quality control, identify defects, and replace equipment; Fill in maintenance, repair, or test reports. The Skills Required to Become a Security Systems Electrician Logically speaking, students and prospective candidates alike have similar profiles. Overall, these individuals enjoy concrete tasks: Part of their DNA is drawing on theory and analytical evidence to solve problems on-site. Their judgment and deductive logic will be especially useful throughout their careers. It goes without saying that a sharp, critical mind, self-reliance, and unparalleled attention to detail are sought-after qualities by employers. They're always keen on learning and further developing their digital, IT, and electrical knowledge, as well as being rigorous and retentive. Since they'll be working with small tools or hazardous components on a daily basis, having excellent dexterity and coordination are essential skills for security systems electricians. Lastly, eyesight also plays a crucial part in successfully accomplishing tasks; perfect 20-20 vision, selective attention, and a quick grasp of colours are therefore essential qualities. How to Become a Security Systems Electrician Source: Canva To perform security systems installation or repair-related duties, one must obtain a DVS in Security Systems Installation and Maintenance (official name in Quebec: Installation et entretien de systèmes de sécurité)—electrotechnology and the duration of the training is 1,485 hours. This training is available in the 5 following establishments: ÉMOICQ (CSS de la Capitale – Capitale-Nationale) Construc-Plus Vocational Centre (CSS des Miles-Îles – Laurentides) C.F.P. Qualitech (CSS du Chemin-du-Roy – Mauricie) C.F.P La Prairie (CSS des Grandes-Seigneuries – Montérégie) C.F.P. Léonard-De Vinci, Édifice Thimens (CSS Marguerite-Bourgeoys – Montréal) You can also access these functions by completing a DVS in a related field, for example, in electronics engineering technology, or by going through the CSD Construction’s labour pool shortage openings (bassin de main-d’œuvre, info-pénurie [French only]) made available for non-graduates. Job Outlooks in Security Systems Maintenance and Installation Field The employment rate for graduates is high. The demand for blue-collar occupations is increasing and there's a labour shortage. The construction industry is, without a doubt, always looking for labourers, but one can still find work outside of this sector. For example, some private or retail companies as well as electronic equipment distributors or manufacturers hire and offer installation, repair, and maintenance services. Note that some employers might require that you join the Ordre des technologues professionnels du Québec (Order of Professional Technologists of Quebec, OTPQ [French only]), complete general health and safety on construction sites course (ASP Construction [French only]), or obtain a Journeymen Competency Certificate (JCC). In Quebec, the median wage for this trade is $25 an hour, however, it can go as high as $40/hr. The salary varies with years of experience and according to the sector of employment. The beauty of being a security systems electrician is that you can find contracts year-round.

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Cynthia Laferrière 05 Jan 2023

How to Become an Elevator Mechanic

Are you particularly handy, meticulous, and love working with machinery? You’re not afraid of heights, consider yourself a problem solver, and can manage your stress levels…how about considering specializing in elevator installation, repair, and maintenance! This type of work, with diverse duties, has excellent employment prospects; just consider the number of apartment and condo towers that are being built every month in urban and suburban areas. An Elevator Mechanic’s Duties Source: Tima Miroshnichenko – Pexels The key role of such a tradesperson consists of ensuring the proper functioning of mechanical and electric motion systems that are found in elevators, freight elevators, dumbwaiters, and escalators. As such, depending on the chosen industry, the individual in question will be able to install, repair, modernize, or maintain these systems used to transport materials or individuals. All-around handy, this type of mechanic must know the ins and outs of electricity, electronics, welding, hydraulics, mechanics, and so forth. On top of the above-mentioned elements, the academic training and on-site experience will teach future elevator mechanics to accomplish the following: Interpret blueprints, sketches, and quotes directly linked to the system's components Use various techniques and tools Prepare construction work (piping, wiring, framework, etc.) Respect standards to ensure the safe use of devices, worksite, and public (before, during, and after the work is completed) Assemble cabins, install control units, and the necessary wiring for electrical or electronic controls Perform general preventative maintenance Test material to spot weaknesses Disassemble, repair, or replace defectives units Carry out final performance assessments of devices to ensure safe use and compliance Provide quotes to prospective clients Required Skillset to Become a Good Elevator Mechanic Since this trade requires one to be working, suspended at great heights or wedged in tight spaces, one can’t be acrophobic or claustrophobic. Being dexterous and having excellent hand-eye coordination to handle moving parts are essential to practice the trade. Since the job requires one to play around with high-voltage electromotive forces or handle tiny parts, the mechanic must be meticulous, precise, and have a heightened sense of responsibility. Being naturally gifted with mathematics and calculations, in general, is just as important as developing one’s observational and analytical skills to solve complex problems. Often working alone during maintenance calls, one must have a healthy dose of know-how and autonomy in their DNA to work as an elevator mechanic. On the flip side, the mechanic must be able to easily work with other players in the business (installers, electricians, contractors, homeowners, etc.). Some employers will request for their workforce to be bilingual and have the capacity to work everywhere in Quebec (must hold a valid driver’s license and have access to a vehicle). As such, offering 24/7, on-call services during peak periods will be considered an asset during the hiring process. How to Become an Elevator Mechanic or Installer Source: Kelly – Pexels To work in any trades related to the installation or repair of various elevator systems, one must complete a DVS in Elevator Mechanics—Maintenance Mechanics—full-time for a period of two years, meaning 1,800 hours. This training program is only offered in one educational establishment in Quebec, and that’s the École des métiers du Sud-Ouest-de-Montréal—the ÉMSOM (French), and the training can be completed in English. Note that you won’t need to go through an internship during the course of your studies, since the learning period will be done on-site, as an apprentice. To do so, you’ll first have to prove to the CCQ that you’ve successfully completed the training program. You’ll be asked to adhere to a syndicate, and then provide a guarantee from your employer giving you permission to work for them, and that, for a period of at least 150 hours over a three-month period. You’ll also have to obtain a workplace health and safety certification and provide a ($100) payment to the CCQ. In case you want to work in the construction industry (industrial, commercial, institutional), you’ll then actually go through the steps to become a journeyperson. Check out this website to know more about working in the construction industry without a diploma. (French) Job Prospects and Trades Related to a DVS in Elevator Mechanics The job prospects for diploma holders are excellent; demand is strong and there's a lack of qualified candidates. Keep in mind that training won’t only allow you to repair elevators, but also dumbwaiters, escalators, overhead cranes, and much more. The construction industry can be seen as constantly seeking new hires, but you can also seek employment elsewhere. For example, manufacturers, certain private companies or specialized companies, or even real estate firms for that matter, offer their installation, repair, and maintenance services for individuals, businesses and public institutions. In Quebec, the median wage is $39 an hour. The latter varies depending on the years of experience and the employment sector. The advantage of the trade is that it allows you to find year-round contracts, no matter the season. In case this article convinced you or validated your career choice, here's a list of jobs waiting for your skillset: Elevator mechanic Escalator installer Stair and overhead crane installer-repairer Technical representative of elevators and other equipment Cover photo: Aaron – Flickr

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