Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic) National Occupational Analysis (NOA)

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this National Occupational Analysis (NOA) as the national standard for the occupation of Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic).

Occupational Analyses Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Latteur/latteuse (spécialiste de systèmes intérieurs)

NOC: 7284

Designation Year: 1991

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Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic)

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General Information


“Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic)” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This analysis covers tasks performed by Lathers (Interior Systems Mechanic) whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:














Drywall and Acoustical Mechanic


Drywall, Acousting and Lathing Applicator


Interior Systems Installer


Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic)







Lather - Interior Systems Mechanic


Wall & Ceiling Installer


Lathers handle, erect and install materials that are components in the construction of all or part of a structure. They lay out and install framework for ceiling systems, interior and exterior walls, floors and roofs. Lathers install various types of ceilings (e.g. suspended, spanned, direct contact), shielded walls (e.g. fire, sound, thermal separation) and various sheathing products. They also perform acoustical installations.

Materials that lathers install include: cold rolled steel components (e.g. steel studs, tracks, channels), metal door and window frames, stucco wire, vapour barriers and insulation, sheathing products (e.g. gypsum and cement products), specialty architectural products and metal lath.

Lathers are employed by construction companies and drywall contractors. They may also be self-employed. In the residential construction industry, they construct, maintain and renovate from single family housings to multi-story apartments. In the commercial, institutional and industrial construction sectors they build, maintain and renovate structures such as commercial buildings, schools, hospitals and manufacturing complexes.

Lathers work both indoors and outdoors year round. They may specialize in individual aspects of the trade such as layout, wall framing and drywall installation. Lathers use a variety of hand and power tools. The installation of metal stud framing and suspended ceilings often requires the use of lasers and powder-actuated tools.

Key attributes for people in this trade are good eye-hand coordination, the ability to work at heights and the ability to pay attention to detail. Lathers must be able to read and interpret information from drawings, blueprints and specifications. The work may require lifting and positioning heavy building materials in a fast-paced environment. The work is physically demanding and requires the use of personal protective equipment. Workers in this trade carry out their work in teams and independently.

This analysis recognizes similarities and overlaps with the work of carpenters, sheet metal workers, insulators and drywall tapers.

With experience, lathers may act as mentors and trainers to apprentices in the trade. They may also advance to positions such as estimators, supervisors, training coordinators and project managers.

Occupational Observations

Self-levelling lasers are becoming more affordable and are accurate over longer distances.

There is an increase in the complexity of wall and ceiling systems resulting in requirements for ongoing training.

Safety awareness and training is becoming an essential part of the trade. Such safety training may involve additional certification in areas such as first aid, fall protection and elevated platform operation.

In certain locations, the enforcement of seismic requirements and fire rated installations is becoming more prevalent.

Increasing compliance with industry standards is causing lathers to pay closer attention to construction specifications and details.

The increased demand for structural steel stud framed buildings is resulting in new framing technologies for lathers.

The use of both structural and non-structural panels is becoming more popular due to an increase in the number of approved manufacturers’ panelization products. Lathers build panels either on-site or in a shop environment, using these products, in accordance with specifications.

There is an increased demand for better-trained personnel who are prepared to expand their trade knowledge after certification. The need for ongoing learning in the lather trade is driven partly by technological change, as is reflected in the trend toward product-specific training in areas such as firestop and Exterior Insulation Finish System (EIFS) operations.

Cordless power tools are becoming industry standards for framing and are becoming more user-friendly.

Measuring of products is shifting from the use of “gauges” to “mils”. The identification of the mils typically has a standardized colour coding system.

Emphasis on environmentally conscientious construction, through initiatives such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), is becoming more prevalent.


The CCDA and HRSDC 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 acknowledgement is extended to the following representatives from the trade who attended a national workshop to develop the previous edition of this NOA in 2007.

  • Dan Bard - Ontario
  • Terry Best - Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Barry Derkson - Alberta
  • Jerry Erb - New Brunswick
  • Bradley Gauthier - Manitoba
  • William Kiss - British Columbia
  • Art Meyer - British Columbia
  • Gordon M. Weddleton - Nova Scotia

This 2012 edition of the NOA was reviewed, updated and validated by industry representatives from across Canada to ensure that it continues to represent the skills and knowledge required in this trade. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the NOA development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division of HRSDC. The host jurisdiction of Manitoba also participated in the development of this NOA.

Comments or questions about NOAs may be forwarded to:

Trades and Apprenticeship Division
Labour Market Integration Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0J9