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Building Installation Services

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Building Installation Services sector, which is one component of the Construction industry.

This sector involves construction work such as plumbing and drainage installation and repair, air conditioning and heating installation and fire and security alarm testing. There are four sub-sectors within this sector:

  • Plumbing Services provides general plumbing or drainage services, including installing and repairing water supply, sewer lines, septic tanks, drainage and gas systems, however it does not construct large-scale sewerage or storm water drainage systems. The Plumbing sector alone generates over $14 billion in revenue and is expected to have an annual growth rate of 2% in the next five years.
  • Fire and Security Alarm installs and repairs security systems and fire protection, detection and control systems. Coverage of this sub-sector is provided across two training packages: Construction, Plumbing and Service, and Property Services.
  • Electrical Services installs electrical wiring or fittings, as well as repairs and maintains existing electrical equipment and fixtures. This sub-sector is covered by the Electrotechnology Training Package.
  • Air Conditioning and Heating specialises in installing household, industrial and commercial heating equipment, as well as refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. This sub-sector is also covered by the Electrotechnology Training Package.

The Building Installation Services is characterised by small-scale businesses that work in local areas. There are some large-scale businesses in the Fire and Security Alarm industry, though they only account for less than 30% of annual industry revenue.

This sector is heavily regulated, with plumbing, gas and electrical workers being required to hold specific licences to operate. Both Plumbers and Electricians must be licenced by the appropriate authority (typically, government departments or commissions) in their specific state or territory. Workers in fire and security alarm installation services are required to follow codes of conduct and building code requirements. It is illegal to install security systems or monitoring devices without a licence issued by state and territory police services.

Nationally recognised training for Building Installation Services is delivered under the CPC – Construction, Plumbing and Services Training Package.

For information on general construction-related skills see General Construction and Demolition.

For information on electricians, see Electrotechnology.

Information sourced from the Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment in the Building Installation Services sector rose steadily between 2000 and 2019, with a slight trough in 2014. Further growth is projected between 2019 and 2024, with the employment level predicted to reach around 274,000 in 2024. Employment levels are also expected to rise for a number of VET-related occupations represented in this sector. The most common VET-related occupation in the Building Installation Services sector, Electrician, is expected to grow by 5% between 2019 and 2024. Other VET-related occupations including Plumbers, and Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics are also projected to experience employment growth over the same period (10% and 4% respectively).

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Building Installation Services-related qualifications have increased overall between 2015 and 2018 from 22,500 to just over 23,640 in 2018. Program completions declined overall in the same period from 4,250 in 2015 to around 3,880 in 2018. The majority of enrolments in 2018 were in qualifications at the certificate III level (over 18,970) and certificate IV level (over 4,430). In 2018, most program enrolments in Building Installation Services were in the area of Plumbing and Hydraulic Services Design (90%). The most common intended occupation for training in this sector is Plumber (General) (93%).

During 2018, most of the training in the Building Installation Services-related qualifications was delivered by TAFE institutes (76%), with private training providers delivering 13% and universities the remaining 11%. Over 93% of subjects for Building Structure Services-related qualifications were Commonwealth and state funded in 2018 and most of the remainder were funded by domestic fee for service arrangements (6%).

The largest proportion of enrolments in Building Installation Services-related qualifications in 2018 was by students residing in Victoria (35%), followed by New South Wales (34%) and Queensland (15%).

Training was mainly delivered in Victoria (35%) and New South Wales (34%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions in this sector have increased overall with over 6,590 commencements and 3,270 completions in 2018. Commencements experienced a high of about 7,500 in 2015, and completions a high of 3,530 in 2014. The most common intended occupation for apprentices and trainees in this sector was Plumber (General) (93%). As at December 2018, Victoria reported the highest proportion of apprentices and trainees in this sector (38%), with 34% reported by New South Wales and 13% by Queensland.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast the top generic skills required for the Building Installation Services sector are:

  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN)
  • Learning agility / Information literacy / Intellectual autonomy and self management
  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / System thinking / Solving problems
  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence
  • Technology.

The Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast also reports employers have difficulty recruiting for plumbers.

The report of the external review requested by the Building Ministers Forum, Building Confidence, made 24 recommendations for improving compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC). In relation to the Building Installation Services sector, Recommendation 18 states that fire safety engineers are often engaged to prepare fire safety engineering designs which include complex performance solutions on critical safety matters, but as their involvement often ends early in the project before product specifications have been finalised their design may be adversely affected. A registered fire engineer must now inspect building work to ensure that the fire engineering design had been constructed as intended. In light of this, a post-trade qualification is being developed to provide the skills and knowledge needed to certify installation and maintenance of fire protection equipment has been undertaken in accordance with Australian Standards and other regulatory requirements.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit 323 Building Installation Services industry, employment projections to May 2023
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 3421 Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 3341 Plumbers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit 323 Building Installation Services Industry, 2000 to 2018, May quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 3 digit 323 Building Installation Services Industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection and Total VET Students and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • CPC Construction, Plumbing and Services, BCF Off-Site Construction, BCG General Construction and BCP Plumbing and Services Training Packages
  • Fire Protection and Fire Systems Design
    • BCP30503 - Certificate III in Fire Protection
    • CPC32808 - Certificate III in Fire Protection
    • CPC32811 - Certificate III in Fire Protection
    • CPC32812 - Certificate III in Fire Protection
    • CPC32813 - Certificate III in Fire Protection
    • CPC50509 - Diploma of Fire Systems Design
  • Gas Fitting
    • BCP30403 - Certificate III in Gas Fitting
    • CPC32708 - Certificate III in Gas Fitting
    • CPC32711 - Certificate III in Gas Fitting
    • CPC32712 - Certificate III in Gas Fitting
    • CPC32713 - Certificate III in Gas Fitting
  • Plumbing and Hydraulic Services Design
    • BCP30103 - Certificate III in Plumbing
    • BCP30203 - Certificate III in Plumbing (Mechanical Services)
    • CPC32408 - Certificate III in Plumbing
    • CPC32411 - Certificate III in Plumbing
    • CPC32412 - Certificate III in Plumbing
    • CPC32413 - Certificate III in Plumbing
    • CPC32508 - Certificate III in Plumbing (Mechanical Services)
    • CPC32511 - Certificate III in Plumbing (Mechanical Services)
    • CPC32512 - Certificate III in Plumbing (Mechanical Services)
    • CPC32513 - Certificate III in Plumbing (Mechanical Services)
    • CPC40908 - Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services
    • CPC40909 - Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services
    • CPC40911 - Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services
    • CPC40912 - Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services
    • CPC50611 - Diploma of Hydraulic Services Design
    • CPC50612 - Diploma of Hydraulic Services Design
  • Roof Plumbing, Drainage and Urban Irrigation
    • BCP20103 - Certificate II in Drainage
    • BCP20303 - Certificate II in Urban Irrigation
    • BCP30303 - Certificate III in Roof Plumbing
    • CPC20708 - Certificate II in Drainage
    • CPC20711 - Certificate II in Drainage
    • CPC20712 - Certificate II in Drainage
    • CPC20912 - Certificate II in Urban Irrigation
    • CPC32608 - Certificate III in Roof Plumbing
    • CPC32611 - Certificate III in Roof Plumbing
    • CPC32612 - Certificate III in Roof Plumbing.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 subject enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

CPC Construction, Plumbing and Services, BCF Off-Site Construction, BCG General Construction and BCP Plumbing and Services Training Packages apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills and occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • All major ANZSCO groups excluding Sales Workers
    • 323 Building Installation Services.
Updated: 31 Mar 2020
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