Pathways in Construction: Sprinkler Fitter

After entering into the construction industry and discovering its many benefits and opportunities, workers might be interested in specializing in a particular area to increase their earning potential and advance their careers. Some focus areas are obvious: Electrical, plumbing, or masonry, for example. Others might be quite niche but make no mistake – these skills are highly sought after and can be very useful in the long-term.

One such specialization is sprinklers. New York City requires all residential buildings above 40 feet to install commercial fire sprinkler systems by 2029, regardless of when they were constructed. If they fail to comply, owners of buildings with 10 or fewer apartments could face fines of $250 per day, while those with 11 to 25 units would be subject to $1,000 per day, and 25 units or more could face $10,000 per day.

Clearly, sprinkler fitters will be vital to ensuring all buildings across the five boroughs are up to code in the next decade – as of 2019, 900 of the 1,232 buildings that fall into these categories were not compliant, so there is still considerable work to be done.

Here at Building Skills, we have seen an uptick in interest from our workforce partners in placing sprinkler fitters. It’s possible that this might be a position that would interest you, but perhaps you don’t know enough about it. Here’s an overview:

What does a sprinkler fitter do?

A sprinkler fitter installs, inspects, and repairs sprinkler systems on every building project – particularly residential development. Daily tasks typically include installing plumbing fixtures, fixing and replacing defective or outdated sprinklers, and welding pipes, tubes, and fittings designed for sprinklers. A sprinkler fitter may be on call to ensure a system is functioning properly, as it deteriorates over time, or to educate developers and tenants on the functionality of the sprinklers.

What are the qualifications for a sprinkler fitter?

A career in sprinkler fitting requires the completion of a degree from a technical or community college, registered apprenticeship program, or industry training program. Similar to plumbing, sprinkler fitters are required to complete the F60, OSHA, and SST training requirements to step onto a job site. New York State also runs a Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for Sprinkler Fitters, with applications available online.

What are the job benefits for a sprinkler fitter?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median pay of a plumber, pipefitter, and/or steamfitter in 2020 was $56,330 per year and $27.08 per hour. Increased demand over the next decade will also place workers at a leverage point, with projected career growth rate of 14% from 2018 to 2028.

Sprinkler fitters have a very important job, as they play a key role in preventing harmful and potentially fatal fires. They ensure sprinklers are effective in preventing widespread fires, particularly in New York, where compact apartment buildings can house hundreds of tenants.

Building Skills New York provides up-to-date training and placement programs for construction sites across the city and has a track record for placing sprinkler fitters in well-paying jobs. For more information on our programs, please visit: