Fürstenfeldbruck (dpa / tmn) - His previous professional highlight was working on a church tower: At a height of a good 80 meters, Christoph Beier and others put together a new copper roof, sheet metal for sheet metal.

The trainee is 18 years old and is studying at the roofing and plumbing company Leib in Moorenweis, Bavaria.

Beer's choice was a mental one. “I come from a rural region and have been looking for a demanding job that I could enjoy for many years to come”.

At the same time he was looking for something of his own. “For example, I know more people who work with wood than with metal”. In addition, sheet metal is a material that can be shaped “like no other”. So he decided to train as a plumber, which, depending on the region, can also be called a tinsmith, flaschner or tinsmith.

Plumbers are not plant mechanics

The profession is often confused with the system mechanic for sanitary, heating and air conditioning technology. This is historical, explains Michael Kober from the Central Association for Sanitary, Heating, Air Conditioning (ZVSHK). "The plumber used to take part in the plumbing work." That has changed in the meantime.

The plumber bends, folds, cuts and welds sheet metal in the workshop or on the construction site and brings it into shape. This then results in elements for metal roofs and facades. They are also attached or repaired by the craftsmen. They also take care of gutters, air pipes or window sills.

In addition, the artisans create, for example, ornaments, lanterns, vases or the classic weathercock. All in all, the plumber therefore needs “a high degree of manual dexterity, good hand-eye coordination and care,” says Kober.

A head for heights is more important than grades

This assumes that you can safely use different machines and tools. According to trainer Ulrich Leib, these are both the simple and high-tech so-called bending machines and the guillotine shears. Then I need “a folding machine so that I can close the fold”, various hammers and a cup iron.

The hand tools are also used on the construction site. “The trainee learns how to attach gutters with us,” explains Leib. In the flat roof area, roof sealing is also included.

For Leib, the school grades play a subordinate role. The secondary school leaving certificate is sufficient. Rather, the trainee should “have a sincere interest in the craft and be free from giddiness” - because of the height on the roofs. Working as a plumber also means working a lot outdoors, says Christoph Beier. For him it was another reason to take up the profession. He's having a lot more fun outside. Regardless of whether it is hot or windy, raining or snowing.

A three-dimensional body made of flat sheet metal

In addition: the job is varied due to the different tasks in the workshop and on the construction site. That is why thinking and geometric imagination are also required.

Sheet metal can consist of copper, aluminum, steel and, for example, zinc. Each of these materials needs a different approach. In the end, a three-dimensional body should be created from a flat sheet of metal. “I have to evaluate individually which solution I want to use,” says Beier. Among other things, this requires mathematics. “Mental arithmetic should be very good”.

The plumber coordinates with roofers and carpenters, but above all he implements the “specifications and wishes of architects or the client,” explains Michael Kober from the ZVSHK. It is part of everyday working life to be familiar with the current trends in facade and roof design.

The training usually lasts three and a half years. On average, depending on the federal state, the remuneration is between 550 and 750 euros in the first year of training. In the fourth, a trainee earns 740 euros in Schleswig-Holstein and 1050 euros in Bavaria.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200807-99-79346 / 3

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