What Does a Sprinkler Fitter Do?

Dan Cavallari

A sprinkler fitter is a person who installs and maintains sprinkler systems in buildings and other structures. Sprinklers are fire suppression systems that are often highly complex and need to be installed in new structures to be compliant with fire codes. A sprinkler fitter will design the system so it is within such compliance, and he or she will install the system during the construction of the building. The system can also be installed in existing structures to bring that structure up to code and to help prevent the spread of fire.

Sprinklers must be fitted properly to provide protection against fires.
Sprinklers must be fitted properly to provide protection against fires.

In many regions of the world, a sprinkler fitter will be part of a labor union, which means an apprenticeship program will be available for people who want to enter this field. While no set level of education is necessary in some parts of the world, it is likely that a candidate for a sprinkler fitter apprenticeship will need to have completed at least a high school education. Even if such an education is not necessary, having a high school diploma will increase the candidate's chances of securing an apprenticeship and becoming a sprinkler fitter. College degrees are usually not necessary, though job experience in the construction field or a related field will also help improve a candidate's chances of securing a position.

The fitter will work with a variety of materials, the most common of which is steel or iron piping. He or she will need to be able to read building schematics, and a knowledge of the local laws and regulations regarding fire codes will be necessary. The sprinkler fitter will need to design a system that is compliant with the local laws and ordinances, and he or she will need to be in good physical condition, as heavy lifting is part of the job. The fitter should also have a solid understanding of what types of systems are most appropriate for a particular structure; water systems are perhaps the most common, though many other systems exist.

Inspection and diagnostic testing of sprinkler systems are other essential job functions of the sprinkler fitter. Once the system has been installed, it is likely it will not be used often, since most structures will not catch fire. The system will need to be ready for use at all times, however, which means the fitter must inspect the system to ensure it is working properly and address any problems that may prevent the system from activating in the event of a fire.

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