• Roof Plumbing is a Diverse Trade - There’s so much more to it than you think

    Have you noticed that metal roofing and cladding is on a lot of Commercial buildings? There’s an increasing number of residential buildings using the same materials too.

    Are you aware that the installation of these products is underpinned by a recognised trade?

    Installing metal roofing and cladding is the domain of roof plumbers, and this is one of the fastest growing trades in the Australian construction industry right now. Unfortunately, like a lot of trades right now, there just isn’t enough apprentices and tradespeople working in this trade.

    Master Builders Association (MBA) and Metal Roofers and Cladders Association of Australasia (MRCAA) have joined forces to recruit people to this trade.

    To make this trade appealing to potential apprentices, we need to understand what this trade is all about.

    I recently spent the morning with some roof plumbing apprentices, David and Nicholas, and an industry specialist, Daniel, whose career began as an apprentice to get some insight.



    It was unanimous, being a roof plumber is a great career!

    Installing roof sheets only makes up about 10% of a roof plumbers typical day.  Roof plumbers establish, maintain and remodel roof structures by translating detailed plans before setting out the levels, fabricating required components, correctly fitting rainwater tanks, pumps, new flashings, roof battens, safety mesh and insulation. And this is only part of job!

    Apprentices will learn to use a variety of tools such as clamps, drills, metal shears, pipe benders. There is oxy-acetylene and arc welders as well as operating elevated work platforms and scissor lifts.

    An apprentice will receive training and guidance in working safely on a roof including the correct use of harnesses. A thorough safety plan is prepared before any work commences above ground level.

    David, who is a 1st year apprentice, tells us that ‘you don’t want a fear of heights to do this job’. He told us that he loves the variety of the work and says there’s more variety than most people think.

    This trade involves plumbing and roof sheets, but don’t underestimate the importance of this. The calculations required to ensure rainwater flows in the path and direction that is optimal for the roof dimensions, structure and drainage points are extremely important. Getting this wrong can cause catastrophic failure of the roof during a heavy downpour. Imagine the effect this would have at your local shopping centre.

    In the Australian environment it is always important to use water wisely through the use of water tanks. A water tank is only useful when it’s able to store water. The correct fall and drainage of your roof makes this happen.

    In today’s ever increasing demand for architectural boundaries to be pushed, the roof is not forgotten. Curved roofs and walls create modern, sleek designs to homes and commercial properties. Metal roofing and cladding products lend themselves to these unique and innovative designs. 


    Nicholas, is a 4th year apprentice who began his apprenticeship as an adult at 21 years old. He said that the training and experience he has gained during his apprenticeship has given him the confidence and skill to move into a supervisory or leading hand role, or even into his own business. 


    Daniel, is a qualified tradesmen who started his apprenticeship with this company 15 years ago and is still with them today in the role of Health Safety and Quality Officer. This illustrates the versatility of this trade and the various career pathways available throughout this industry.

    The company that these 3 young men work for has retained 10 to 12 of their previous apprentices in a variety of different roles.  This company believes in a ‘cradle to grave’ philosophy. They want their apprentices to complete their trade qualification and stay with them. This is an example of the value placed on great apprentices.

    If you are considering a trade in the construction industry, or know someone who is, roof plumbing is definitely worth a closer look.

    MBA & MRCAA will be running a Roof Plumbing Pre Apprenticeship Course in November 2016 to prepare the next wave of Roof Plumbing Apprentices.

    For further information please contact MBA Apprenticeship Services on (02) 8586 3533 or visit the website www.mbansw.asn.au/apprenticeships

02 8586 3555

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