Sprinkler Fitter 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 Sprinkler Fitter Trade.

Red Seal Occupational Standard Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Mécanicien/mécanicienne en protection-incendie

NOC: 7252

Designation Year: 1976

RSOS Products for Download

The Sprinkler Fitter 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 of these is based on information contained in the complete RSOS, and is geared to user needs:

Product Purpose
Red Seal Occupational Standard - Sprinkler Fitter A complete description of all trade activities, skills and knowledge. The Standard defines the trade by collecting and organizing elements together.
Trade Profile - Sprinkler Fitter 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 – Sprinkler Fitter (PDF, 1.0 MB) 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.

General Information

Description of the Spinkler Fitter Trade

"Sprinkler Fitter" is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This analysis covers tasks performed by sprinkler fitters whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:

Pipefitter - Fire Protection Mechanic Specialty (Construction)         x                
Sprinkler and Fire Protection Installer           x              
Sprinkler System Fitter x x x x     x x   x x x x
Sprinkler Systems Fitter                 x        

Sprinkler fitters lay out, install, repair, maintain, modify, inspect and test fire protection systems in a variety of buildings and settings. They work on fire protection systems such as wet, dry, water mist, preaction, foam, deluge, standpipe, clean agent, carbon dioxide, hybrid, antifreeze, and wet and dry chemical fire suppression system. Their duties include reading and interpreting engineered drawings, installing hangers and clamps to support the piping system, preparing the pipe, joining pipe using a variety of methods, installing associated equipment including cross-connection control, as well as maintaining, inspecting and testing all types of fire protection systems.

Sprinkler fitters usually, but not exclusively, work on industrial, institutional, commercial and residential sites such as office buildings, plants, factories, hospitals, hotels, houses, apartment buildings, airports and personal care homes. They may work for trade contractors, maintenance departments of factories, and servicing companies. They may also be self-employed. Sprinkler fitters may specialize in installation, maintenance, testing or inspection.

Sprinkler fitters use tools and equipment such as hand tools, portable and stationary power tools, measuring and testing equipment, access equipment, and rigging, hoisting and lifting equipment.

Sprinkler fitters work primarily indoors, often in unheated or temporarily heated spaces. They may also be required to install outdoor systems both above and below ground. The installation of sprinkler equipment takes place throughout all phases of construction, typically in the mid-to later stages of new construction or in situations where renovation of existing structures is undertaken or upgrading is legislated. Sprinkler fitters frequently work on the same site more than once and routinely perform a variety of tasks covering all aspects of the trade. They are frequently required to work in confined spaces and at heights. They may occasionally experience physical discomfort due to extensive lifting of various weights overhead, repetitive motion, temperature changes, noise and dust.

Key attributes for persons entering this trade are mechanical and mathematical aptitude, manual dexterity, good communication and problem solving skills and the ability to pay close attention to detail. Physical strength and stamina, and the ability to work at a considerable height are also assets in this trade.

This standard recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of plumbers and steamfitter-pipefitters.

Experienced sprinkler fitters may advance to positions such as foreman, estimators, contractors, inspection personnel and instructors. They also act as mentors and trainers of apprentices in the trade.

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:

  • understand how essential skills are used in the trades;
  • learn about individual essential skills strengths and areas for improvement; and
  • improve essential skills and increase success in an apprenticeship program.

Tools are available online or for order at: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/essential-skills/tools.html.

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.

  • Reading

    Sprinkler fitters read texts such as short descriptions and directions on labels for products. They read bulletins, manuals, work orders, reports and procedures when installing, operating, diagnosing, maintaining, inspecting and repairing equipment. They also read emails and memos from supervisors, co-workers and suppliers about ongoing work.

  • Document Use

    Sprinkler fitters scan and locate data on labels, lists, tables and schedules. They reference applicable codes such as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and National Building Code (NBC).They may interpret graphs when monitoring equipment operation. They interpret or review schematics and engineered drawings of systems (pneumatic, mechanical, electrical, structural and hydraulic) to identify malfunctions. Sprinkler fitters may also retrieve and study data from scale drawings to identify and verify the location of equipment to be installed. They also complete forms such as test certificates, safety documents, purchase orders, inspection reports, maintenance forms, logbooks, time sheets and work orders.

  • Writing

    Sprinkler fitters write brief text entries in logbooks and in forms. They may write maintenance, repair and safe work procedures. Sprinkler fitters write emails to supervisors and co-workers about ongoing work, and suppliers about equipment specifications. They also write incident reports and update drawings as required.

  • Oral Communication

    Sprinkler fitters talk to suppliers, engineers, contractors, co-workers, supervisors, other tradespersons and clients and members of the public about equipment specifications, access, orders, and delivery and service times. They discuss work orders, equipment malfunctions and job task coordination with co-workers. They also discuss safety, productivity, and procedural and policy changes at meetings with co-workers, supervisors, engineers and clients.

  • Numeracy

    Sprinkler fitters measure various physical properties of equipment. Calculations are required in multiple aspects of the sprinkler fitter trade, such as pneumatic, mechanical, structural and hydraulic systems. They calculate distances, totals, maximums, minimums, tolerances, fits and quantities required. They may calculate loads, capacities, speeds, velocities, flows and dimensions for mechanical components and systems. They perform calculations in order to adjust, level and align equipment according to specifications, and for diagnosing process variables. Sprinkler fitters assess weights and distances appropriate for rigging, hoisting, lifting and moving equipment.

  • Thinking

    Thinking skills are critical to the sprinkler fitter trade. They need the ability to adapt on a day to-day basis to site conditions, design, fabrication and installation issues, safety concerns, performance and productivity goals. They may assess the feasibility of designs for small modifications to fire protection systems, ensuring that designs meet technical specifications, performance requirements and jurisdictional regulations. Sprinkler fitters also troubleshoot fire protection systems to determine service requirements.

  • Digital Technology

    Sprinkler fitters may use databases to perform queries on maintenance history, regulatory items and procedures. They may also enter data from completed work orders in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). They may use programs to aid in the adjustment of drawings with computer-assisted design (CAD) and building information modelling (BIM) software. Sprinkler fitters use hand-held computerized alignment and levelling measurement tools. They may use word processing software to write, edit and format texts such as incident reports and maintenance procedures. They may access work orders, asset information and documents on tablets, phones and other electronic devices.

  • Working with Others

    Sprinkler fitters are required to work independently, with other sprinkler fitters, other tradespeople and personnel from other departments and jurisdictional organizations depending on the scope of the work.

  • Continuous Learning

    Sprinkler fitters read manuals and trade-related documents to stay up to date on developments in their trade. They also attend training sessions (online or classroom-based) on new technologies, equipment and safety procedures. In addition, they learn informally by exchanging information with co-workers and suppliers.

Trends in the Spinkler Fitter Trade

Installation Environments

There is a demand for residential sprinkler systems due to increased life safety awareness and insurance requirements. This will continue to expand work outside the typical industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sectors. This necessitates more communication with non-tradespeople and end users.

Increasing concerns regarding the protection of life and property has resulted in new, more stringent legislation regarding installation, maintenance, inspection and testing of fire protection systems. These new requirements increase the need for building retrofits.

Safety and Environmental Considerations

Safety has become more important in the workplace. Compliance with safety regulations and practices is mandatory, and non-compliance is met with severe penalties for workers, employers and contractors.

Water usage is a growing consideration for the trade, and the trade needs to be cognizant of this during testing, retrofitting and installation.

Technology and Code

The advances in technology and changes to code require sprinkler fitters to upgrade their skills and knowledge to adapt to the increased complexity of fire protection systems and to seek access to manufacturer specific training. For example, wet sprinkler systems that use early suppression fast response (ESFR) and control mode specific application (CMSA) technology are increasing in use because they provide more cost-efficient fire control and allow the elimination of in-rack sprinkler systems in storage occupancies. Specialty fire protection systems, including hybrid and clean agent systems, are becoming more common in areas with sensitive electronic equipment such as office areas and server/network rooms.

Components such as small valve stations and riser manifolds are being manufactured with the option of pre-assembly. There are new specialized sprinklers available; more models deal with specific applications.

Due to authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) requirements and advances in technology, devices require more frequent and scheduled maintenance, inspection and testing to ensure proper operation of fire protection systems.

Tools and Equipment

Use of tools such as laser levels, laser plumbs and cordless tools is increasing in the trade. Due to the complexity of the trade and more frequent testing, there is an increase in the variety of diagnostic equipment. Digital technology such as smart phones and tablets are more common and assist with ongoing learning, communication and record keeping.

Industry Expected Performance

All tasks must be performed according to the applicable jurisdictional codes and standards. All health and safety standards must be respected and observed. Work should be done efficiently and at a high quality without material waste or environmental damage. All requirements of the manufacturer, client specifications, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Underwriter Laboratories of Canada (ULC), Factory Mutual (FM), National Building Code (NBC), fire codes and AHJ 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 that they continue to upgrade their skills and knowledge to keep pace with industry and promote continuous learning in their trade through mentoring of apprentices.

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 languages of business as well as languages 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:

  • Daniel Bowers - British Columbia
  • Jamey Brown - New Brunswick
  • Trevor Busch - Manitoba
  • Robert Christensen - Saskatchewan
  • Chris Dudek - Manitoba
  • Eric Hall - Nova Scotia
  • Dwayne Isele - Alberta
  • Brian MacLean - Ontario
  • Chris McCloskey - Alberta
  • Scott McKenna - Prince Edward Island
  • Jamie McKenzie - Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association (CASA)
  • Jamie McPherson - British Columbia
  • Paul Neate - New Brunswick
  • Justin Nowasad - British Columbia
  • Maria Osetsky - Alberta
  • Marcel Payette - Nova Scotia
  • Steve Steele - Ontario
  • Kevin Sullivan - Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Jason Thompson - United Association
  • Dean Vollmer - Yukon

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 the Ontario College of Trades, the host jurisdiction for this trade.