In this video, you can learn about the sheet metal worker's trade, what sheet metal workers do, and what a career in it looks like.
- Sheet metal workers keep us warm and cozy or cool in the summer. They build systems that transport conditioned air throughout a building. So whether you need heating or cooling or fresh air within a building, they provide those services. - Of all of the construction trades, sheet metal is one of the older ones, well over 150 years old easily, if not even more. On the Medieval times, there are churches' spires and steeples that are made of sheet metal in Europe. So our craft is very old. - It's kind of like playing origami with metal. in order to build anything in three dimensions, you have to imagine it first in your mind. And then what we do is take it from the baseline up and through to the finished install with any piece of metal, any 3D object. - Everything is custom-made. We are one of the few crafts that we fabricate everything we install. - Along the way., we might be operating different pieces of equipment in order to form that metal. We might be welding on it. We might be putting various seams or locks or joints together in order to assemble something into a finished product. You would see sheet metal work in pretty much any building. It's the duct work that conveys conditioned air to spaces that we breathe so that we feel a comfortable temperature inside. It's the metal coverings. It's roofing. It's panels on the outside of buildings. It's coping, which is on the edge of buildings. it might be column wraps on the inside of the buildings. It might be in a commercial kitchen all of the stainless steel that you would see. So sheet metal can be seen as either the architectural aspect of it, which is the ornamental, That's going to be roofing that keeps the building dry from the elements. So that's roofing, that's siding, that's paneling skirting around buildings in order to direct water away from where we don't want it and to a place where it's okay that it is. - Our apprenticeship program deals with our trade, which predominantly deals with the heating ventilation and air conditioning systems predominantly in commercial buildings. We also have a division of architectural sheet metal work, as well as industrial sheet metal work, which deals with heavy metal construction, fabrication, and installation. So in the heating and ventilation side of our industry, the duct work itself is all custom-made and designed by engineers, predominantly sheet metal workers. We have to install, fabricate and install miles of duct work in commercial buildings, duct work that can range from something as small as a few inches to feet in diameter or size for the exhaust systems as well as return air and heating and cooling systems in the building. - We need to be able to bring in enough outside air that people don't run out of oxygen inside this tightly contained building, and we also need to make it a temperature that's comfortable so people can be productive in their day-to-day lives. So the sheet metal work in HVAC is going to convey that air and bring it to a space where it's breathable and then also remove the fumes that we don't want from inside the building and take them outside. - Because of sheet metal workers, we can conveniently adjust the comfort of our home, breathe clean air, and enjoy the aesthetics of the ornamental of work that they perform. - Within the sheet metal trade, there are a lot of specialties, and so there's a specialty of fabricating that metal and being able to weld it and form that material. There's the specialty of being able to install that material in a way that's functional and meets the design intent that engineers are meeting for the building. Then beyond that, the equipment that moves that air, the equipment that cools and heats and pumps that air, dehumidifies that air, humidifies that air, that's all done on a basis of fluid dynamics, so there's a lot of physics involved. - As a sheet metal worker, the diversity is unlimited. You could work in a shop environment where all you do is fabricate every day, eight hours a day. The variety of different types of products that you could be fabricating is unlimited. Or you can work in the field where you strictly work with a crew or a group of other individuals installing these products. - Sheet metal workers can find themselves in pretty much any environment possible. We might be out in the elements in winter. We might be out in the elements in summer. You know, we get to that building as that structure is being put together, and so there's no heating or cooling yet because that's our job. So what we're doing is we might be working in the sun. We might be working in a building that has no windows or doors yet. And that's going to be your base build, your base build activities. The average construction worker needs to have a huge breadth and depth of knowledge in the technological systems, how to understand how to control something, to program something, to measure something, to do AutoCAD or computer-aided drafting in order to draw a building so that we can minimize the amount of labor we're spending on the job site, resolving conflicts between trades. - There is this huge revitalization of getting the word out that trades do exist that do provide great income for families as well as benefits, full family health care and a pension contribution so that you can work, make a great wage, be able to support a family, and be able to live that lifestyle that you've always wanted to. - If working with metal to build complex systems that keep our communities healthy and comfortable sounds appealing to you, be sure to watch our content on LinkedIn Learning on sheet metal workers.