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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. According to the Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast, the Plumbing sector alone generated $14.7 billion in revenue.
  • 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.

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Overall, employment in the Building Installation Services sector rose steadily from 147,500 in 2002 to 275,300 in 2022. Employment is projected to grow to 308,500 by 2025.

Of the occupations associated with VET, Electricians comprise approximately a third (34%) of the total Building Installation Services industry workforce, and Plumbers make up more than a quarter (27%). Employment levels in both these occupations are projected to grow to 2026, by approximately 10% for Electricians and 9% for Plumbers. Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics comprise about 4% of the industry’s workforce and are projected to grow to 2026 by 4%.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Overall program enrolments in Building Installation Services-related qualifications increased approximately 7% between 2017 and 2021, from about 24,620 to 26,360. However, enrolments declined between 2018 and 2020, before rising in 2021. Program completions also increased between 2017 and 2021 in overall terms, from approximately 4,200 to 4,690 respectively, although they declined slightly (about 4%) in 2020 before rising in 2021.

Most program enrolments in 2021 were in certificate III level qualifications (81%), followed by certificate IV level qualifications (18%). Nearly nine out of ten (89%) program enrolments were in Plumbing and Hydraulic Services Design related qualifications in 2021. The remaining 10% of program enrolments were spread across Roof Plumbing, Drainage and Urban Irrigation (7%), Fire Protection and Fire Systems Design (3%) and Gas Fitting (1%). The most common intended occupation for training in this sector was Plumber (General) (92%).

In 2021, most of the training in Building Installation Services-related qualifications was delivered by TAFE institutes (73%), with private training providers delivering about 14% and universities 13%. However, there was considerable variation depending on the different qualifications. The majority (93%) of subjects for Building Installation Services-related qualifications were Commonwealth and state funded in 2021, with domestic fee for service funding a small proportion (7%).

Victoria had the highest proportion of students enrolled in Building Installation Services-related qualifications (38%) in 2021, followed by New South Wales (31%) and Queensland (15%). Training was mainly delivered in Victoria (39%) and New South Wales (31%).

Overall, apprentice and trainee commencements in this sector increased from 4,680 in 2012 to more than 8,020 in 2021, however the number of commencements fluctuated over this decade. Similarly, apprentice and trainee completions also fluctuated, from approximately 3,150 in 2012, declining to 2,820 in 2016 and rising to about 3,600 in 2021.

Most apprentices and trainees’ intended occupation was Plumber (General) (92%) in 2021. Victoria had the highest proportion of apprentices and trainees in this sector (39%), followed by New South Wales (30%) and Queensland (14%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

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.

According to job vacancy data, employers’ top requested skills and attributes in the sector were communication skills, being energetic and leadership skills. The most in demand occupations were Electricians, followed by Plumbers. The top employers were Laser Electrical and Laser Plumbing New Zealand.

The Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast was the final skills forecast published by the IRC. It provided an overview of new industry workforce practices, skills developments and trends to emerge since the full submission of the IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast. Key skill needs that had emerged relevant to the Building Installation Services industry were hydrogen skills, and skills relating to obligations under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme, Cured in Place Pipe and plumbing pathway qualification.

In response to demand for occupational skills due to the shift towards hydrogen in Australia’s national gas supply, the IRC reviewed the gas section of the CPC training package identified six key skills requirements that addressed current and emerging skills gaps. The key skills requirement were mapped into a framework, underpinned by two streams: combustion and fuel cell/electrolysis. To ensure current skill needs were to be met, 11 new hydrogen-based competencies were to be put forward, which aligned with traditional combustion type of work.

To support emerging requirements, particularly around fuel cell and electrolysis, eight new competencies were proposed for development to ensure plumbers were ‘work-ready’ to meet future market needs. The Australian Industry and Skills Commission referred the Case for Change back to the Construction IRC for resubmission in 2022.

Separately, Artibus Innovation is funded by the Tasmanian Government to develop a hydrogen ready training course, a Certificate II in Renewable Energy Pathways. According to Artibus Innovation, the proposed qualification was submitted to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the first step in the ASQA accreditation process; see the Tasmanian Hydrogen Project.

Plumbing skills are changing significantly in response to complex plumbing systems in commercial buildings and in domestic prefabricated buildings, according to the 2020 Skills Forecast. The WELS Scheme has shown to be highly successful in reducing potable water demand and utility costs for consumers. Under certain conditions, plumbers and builders are considered suppliers under the scheme, with legal obligations. However, many were unaware of their legal obligations, despite heavy infringement penalties. As such, many peak plumbing industry groups and WELS industry stakeholders supported the requirement of formal training for plumbers to meet obligations under the WELS Act. The demand for training was to update the knowledge evidence across the plumbing and other construction qualifications to meet workers’ legislated obligations as suppliers, and to upskill the current plumbing labour force. Further, it was proposed the National Training Package be updated to include knowledge on the WELS Act requirements.

Pathways into plumbing are provided in some states through state accredited courses. When redeveloping the plumbing qualifications advisory group members recommended the development of a national pathway qualification to replace the accredited courses and provide consistency across Australia.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Industry Employment Projections viewed 1 August 2021, Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 3-digit 323 Building Installation Services industry, employment projections to May 2025

National Skills Commission 2022, Occupation Employment Projections viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/topics/employment-projections

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2026
    • 3421 Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 3341 Plumbers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2022, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2022. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2022

Employed total by ANZSIC 3-digit 323 Building Installation Services Industry, 2002 to 2022, 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, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • CPC Construction, Plumbing and Services, 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
    • CPC32820 - Certificate III in Fire Protection
    • CPC50509 - Diploma of Fire Systems Design
    • CPC50520 - 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
    • CPC32720 - 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
    • CPC32420 - 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
    • CPC40920 - Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services
    • CPC50611 - Diploma of Hydraulic Services Design
    • CPC50612 - Diploma of Hydraulic Services Design
    • CPC50620 - 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
    • CPC20720 - 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
    • CPC32620 - 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:

  • 2017 to 2021 program enrolments
  • 2017 to 2021 program completions
  • 2021 subject enrolments.

 

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skillsets 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, and BCP Plumbing and Services Training Packages apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2012 to 2021 commencements
  • 2012 to 2021 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2021 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Lightcast 2022, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Boston, viewed August 2022, https://lightcast.io/apac.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills and occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2019 and June 2022 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills/Occupations
    • All major ANZSCO groups excluding Sales Workers
    • 323 Building Installation Services.
  • Employers
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 3341 Plumbers
    • 3421 Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
    • 5311 General Clerks
    • 5212 Secretaries
    • 323 Building Installation Services.
Updated: 29 Nov 2022
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