Boilermaker Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS)

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS) as the Red Seal standard for the Boilermaker trade.

Red Seal Occupational Standard Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Chaudronnier/chaudronnière

NOC: 7234

Designation Year: 1976

RSOS Products for Download

The Boilermaker Red Seal Occupational Standard is developed by Canadian trade representatives. It collects information about the trade as it is practiced across Canada.

This RSOS information is combined in several ways to generate several RSOS Products, each these is based on information contained in the complete RSOS, and is geared to user needs:



Red Seal Occupational Standard - Boilermaker

A complete description of all trade activities, skills and knowledge. The Standard defines the trade by collecting and organizing elements together.

Trade Profile - Boilermaker

A quick snapshot of all trade activities in the standard. It can be used to self-assess experience. It can be used to introduce a concise summary of all trade activities to those wanting to learn about the trade. It can also be used for gap analysis.

Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Boilermaker (PDF, 921 KB) Use this self-assessment tool to rate your own understanding and experience with the tasks of the trade that are on the Red Seal examination.

Curriculum Outline - Boilermaker

Organizes the Knowledge elements of the standard and provides recommendations for training levels. These are meant to assist in developing and delivering technical training curricula.

General Information

Description of the Boilermaker Trade

“Boilermaker” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This standard covers tasks performed by a boilermaker whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:















x x x x x x x
Construction Boilermaker x x x

Boilermakers construct, fabricate, weld, assemble, install, erect, alter, maintain, repair, dismantle, demolish and test steam generators, boilers, economizers, air heaters, de-aerators, induction draft (ID) and forced draft (FD) fans, tanks, pollution control devices and systems, duct systems, furnaces, reactors, water towers and reservoirs, penstocks, scroll casing, stacks and other related components and parts, as well as their access structures and assemblies, including all types of structural and plate work on dust, air, gas, steam, oil, water and other liquid-tight containers. Boilermakers work from engineer-approved drawings to fabricate components from steel or other materials. They calculate, select and attach rigging and work with cranes and other hoisting devices to lift components into place. The systems must be tested for leaks and other defects and deficiencies to ensure they are operating safely and efficiently.

Boilermakers require a good understanding of welding methods and procedures. However, while welding is a component of this trade, jurisdictions may or may not permit certain welding processes without further certification.

Boilermakers are employed in industries that are governed by various codes and standards in metal fabricating, construction, shipbuilding, petroleum, mining, smelting and power generation (e.g. hydro, nuclear, thermal, solar, tidal). They may be employed in construction and maintenance in a variety of industrial workplaces such as pulp mills, water treatment plants, steel mills, cement, chemical, fertilizer and potash plants, breweries, ship yards, offshore platforms, mines and power generation and co-generation stations, as well as ethanol, oil and gas extraction facilities, upgraders and refineries where the installation, repair, and maintenance, or demolition of the above equipment is required.

Boilermakers use both hot and cold working methods to shape steel components and other materials to form boilers, tanks and vessels. They must use various metal forming machines such as plate shears, punch presses and bending rolls. Tools such as levels, wedges, grinders and cutting torches are used to lay out, fit and smooth edges so the parts fit together. They also use a variety of test equipment and measuring devices.

Their work is performed indoors or outdoors and may be at extreme heights or underground. The work environment of boilermakers can expose them to hazards and conditions such as vibration, excessive noise, fumes, asbestos and other toxic environments, confined spaces, extreme temperatures, and radiation.

Key attributes for people entering this trade are: good hand-eye coordination, mechanical aptitude and manual dexterity. Boilermakers must possess the full range of knowledge, abilities and skills required of the trade including an understanding of mechanical drawings along with mathematical aptitudes. They also require strength and stamina to work with heavy components and equipment. It is common in this trade to travel for work opportunities; therefore, boilermakers must adapt to frequently changing work environments. It is also common in this trade to work long hours and many consecutive shifts.

This analysis recognizes similarities with the work of metal fabricators, industrial mechanics (millwrights), steamfitters/pipefitters, ironworkers and welders.

With experience, boilermakers may act as mentors and trainers to apprentices in the trade. They may also advance to supervisory positions, quality assurance inspectors and safety personnel.

Essential Skills Summary

Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.

A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:

The tools are available online or for order at:

The essential skills profile for the boilermaker trade indicates that the most important essential skills are document use, numeracy and oral communication.

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the competency statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills, taken from the essential skills profile.

Boilermakers read and interpret summaries of toolbox meetings, short notes from co-workers about work activities and directions on product labels. They also read company policies and procedures, as well as code books, collective agreements and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Boilermakers also read reference books such as metal trades handbooks, crane and rigging handbooks and training manuals.

Boilermakers locate information in various tables, bills of lading, work procedures, code books, load charts, SDS and equipment catalogues. They interpret various drawings such as rigging, fabrication (prints) and shop drawings to identify work to be completed. They may also make scale drawings.

Boilermakers may write work-related notes to co-workers and keep personal logbooks to record daily activities noting information such as hours worked, tasks completed, problems encountered, observations and concerns. They may also write production plans to sequence and schedule tasks. Boilermakers may complete job safety analysis (JSA) reports, health and safety report forms as well as hazard or near-miss report forms.

Boilermakers schedule their daily work activities. They determine the total weight of materials to be hoisted and use formulas to calculate the working load limit (safe work load) of various wire and fibre ropes. They also measure tube wall thicknesses and calculate tube expansion using formulas. They measure angles to cut tubing or pipe to specifications. They use geometry such as bisecting angles and constructing circles using chords to lay out materials for vessels. Boilermakers use data analysis math to ensure code requirements are met by cross referencing measurements on drawings with industry specifications. They also estimate tube/pipe lengths to perform rough cuts, materials needed for a job and the weight of a load to be lifted. They may also estimate how many workers and hours are required to complete a job. Boilermakers work with both the imperial and metric measurement systems, and therefore must be able to convert between the two systems.

Boilermakers discuss safety issues with colleagues and supervisors during daily toolbox meetings. They interact with supervisors to get direction and discuss technical issues, health and safety concerns, timelines and personnel matters. They may consult with draftspersons, quality control officers and engineers to discuss problems with fabrication drawings (prints) such as code violations, technical challenges and design flaws. They may also consult with union representatives.

Boilermakers are often required to use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as ear protection, Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), respirators and full face masks which may impede communication. Boilermakers also work in situations where visibility is restricted. Communication is also challenging because boilermakers often work in confined spaces or in towers, out of hearing range. This necessitates the use of hand signals or two-way radios.

Boilermakers use critical thinking skills to perform diagnostics, trouble-shooting and problem solving tasks. They may suggest a more feasible timeframe when dealing with tight timelines and while coordinating with other trades. They also determine and implement actions to address hazardous job conditions. For example, they may choose appropriate safety equipment, isolate an area, or call other trades to facilitate assigned tasks.

Due to the potentially dangerous nature of their work, working with others is a critical skill. Often a boilermaker-welder is paired with a boilermaker-mechanic to form a skilled team. Boilermakers may also work in larger team situations and with other tradespeople. They should be able to communicate effectively, complete the tasks assigned to them and integrate their work with that of the other trades. They must be self-disciplined, ensuring that work done independently is accurate and completed within prescribed time limits.

Boilermakers may use digitized programmable equipment such as scientific calculators, digital levels and lasers. They may also use application equipment (robotics) and computer-controlled equipment such as welding overlays and computer numerical controlled (CNC) cutting machines. Boilermakers may use computer-assisted training tools such as on-line programs, simulators, or software packages for health and safety training. They may also use computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Technical upgrading is offered by companies when new products, procedures and equipment are introduced. Boilermakers may take courses on the job or at community colleges, or access on-line programs. However, one of the most practical ways for boilermakers to gain new expertise is to learn on the job from more experienced co-workers, mentors or supervisors. It is common for boilermakers to also have welding certification.

Trends in the Boilermaker Trade

Tools and Equipment

The use of tools such as automated welding equipment, automated cutting and fitting equipment and advanced lifting/hoisting systems means that some fabrication procedures are becoming more efficient and safer.

Technology and Work Processes

New technologies such as automated welding and advanced non-destructive testing / non-destructive evaluation (NDT/NDE) technologies (e.g. digital x-rays, austenitic ultrasonic testing, phased array) require boilermakers to know new testing, fitting and preparation techniques.

There is a trend towards using rope access systems to perform inspections.

New technologies in tube extraction provide greater efficiency during repair and maintenance processes.

Due to new crane and transport technology, many larger components and vessels are delivered to the site as complete modules rather than being assembled on site. More of the boilermakers’ fabrication is now done in a shop environment.

Safety and Environmental Considerations

New components and technology to reduce emissions are increasingly being installed in facilities such as power plants, gas plants, coal plants and smelters. Boilermakers are responsible for the fabrication, field construction, erection, installation, maintenance and repair of these components.

New technology that has been introduced to improve work safety includes personnel monitoring through radio frequency technology.

There is new legislation emerging for the use of green energy as well as safety. Corporate policy to address reducing liability issues is increasingly common.

Employers and employees are jointly responsible for the safety of all in the workplace. Jurisdictional requirements and legislation is being more stringently enforced. Due to safety regulation, in area where hazards exist, employees may be required to wear a personal Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking device.

Training and Upgrading

There is a greater emphasis and requirement for additional licenses, certificates and training for specific trade qualifications such as welding, rigging, machinery operation and safety. Specialized training for specific tasks such as hydraulic bolt torqueing and hydraulic stud tensioners as well as increased rigging skills is becoming common.

Because boilermakers are responsible for working on energy-producing systems, it is very important that they are adaptable and keep up-to-date with changes and new technology that may emerge in this area. A very specific skill set is required for nuclear power refurbishments. Due to the increase in power demands, specialized training for renewable energy, nuclear power, hydro-electric power plants and gas-fired generation will be required. With the increase in volume of oil and gas as a supplier of industrial work, there is a possible change in training requirements.

Also, with changes in specific sectors such as mining and carbon capture, boilermakers may require a specialized skill set.

Industry Expected Performance

All tasks must be performed according to the applicable jurisdictional codes, regulations and standards. All health and safety standards must be respected and observed. Work should be done safely, efficiently and to a high quality with minimal material waste and with respect to the environment. All requirements of the manufacturer specifications and client expectations must be met. At a journeyperson level of performance, all tasks must be done with minimal direction and supervision. As a journeyperson progresses in their career there is an expectation they continue to upgrade their skills and knowledge to keep pace with industry and promote continuous learning in their trade through mentoring of apprentices and fellow journeypersons.

Language Requirements

It is expected that journeypersons are able to understand and communicate in either English or French, which are Canada’s official languages. English or French are the common language of business as well as language of instruction in apprenticeship programs.


The CCDA and ESDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Special thanks are offered to the following representatives who contributed greatly to the original draft of the standard and provided expert advice throughout its development:

This standard was prepared by the Apprenticeship and Regulated Occupations Directorate of ESDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the standards development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division and of Apprenticeship British Columbia, the host jurisdiction for this trade.