International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
Heat and Frost Insulator
Members of this union apply insulation to pipes, tanks, boilers, ducts, refrigeration equipment and other surfaces requiring thermal control of temperatures. The responsibilities of these mechanics, improvers and apprentices also include the manufacturing, fabrication, assembling, molding, handling, erection, spraying, pouring, mixing, hanging, preparation, application, adjusting, alternation, repairing, dismantling, reconditioning, corrosion control, testing, maintenance, removal and clean up of heat, frost, or sound insulation, such as magnesia, asbestos, hair felt, wool felt, cork, mineral wool, infusorial earth, mercerized silk, flax fiber, fire felt, asbestos paper, asbestos curtain, asbestos millboard, fibrous glass, foam glass, styrofoam, polyurethane, polystyrene, metals, plastics, fibrous matt, roving and resins, acoustical sound pads, or other materials used in our craft, or substitutes for these materials, or any labour connected with the handling or distributing of insulating materials on job premises, including the operation of all equipment associated with the work described above.
They also install firestopping materials and are engaged in the manufacture, fabrication, assembling molding, handling, erection, spraying, pouring, mixing, hanging, preparation, application, adjusting, alteration, repairing, dismantling, reconditioning, testing, and maintenance of the following, when applied by machine or other application methods of all firestopping materials including, but not limited to: intumescent firestop sealant, intumescent firestop blocks, elastomeric firestop sealant, self-leveling firestop sealant, trowelable firestop compound, firestop collars, composite sheets, putty pads, fire containment pillows, wrap strips, putty sticks, firestop mortar, firestop mastic, refractory ceramic fiber blanket for kitchen exhaust and fire rated duct systems, or other materials used in connection with labour, and to include other fire protection materials such as boots and cable coatings which are connected with the handling or distributing of the above insulating materials, or the repair and maintenance of all equipment, on job premises. The types of work shall include but not be limited to: top of wall, curtain wall, fire rated wall penetrations, grease ducts, stairwell pressurization systems, beam, column, and deck fireproofing.
The apprenticeship program emphasizes on-the-job training and classroom instruction, as well as the use of textbooks and other course materials that give participants a thorough knowledge of the trade. Apprentices are employed by an insulation contractor who pays an appropriate wage and benefit package. Apprentices work side by side with a qualified mechanic on job sites. When apprentices are not at the job site, they are attending classes taught by highly qualified instructors chosen for their knowledge and expertise. Upon completion of apprenticeship, apprentices are required to take an examination to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge and skills. This is the apprenticeship experience - practical, "hands-on" learning, backed up by excellent classroom instruction and course materials. Apprentices earn while they learn, placing them on an immediate path toward economic security and stability.
You earn while you learn the trade. Union journeymen Insulators wages and fringe benefits are negotiated on their behalf by the union through collective bargaining with signatory contractors. Some apprenticeship programs partner with community colleges to offer college credit for apprenticeship classes.
Wages vary according to the geographic location of the local union. The average starting wage for 1st year apprentices is 40 - 50% of the Journeyman's wage rate plus fringe benefits. Your earnings are adjusted annually to reflect your advancing skills and increasing knowledge of the trade.
What type of job will I do?
Insulation workers install many different types of insulating materials for basically five purposes: to prevent heat transfer, to conserve energy, to retard freezing, to protect personnel from burns and to control fire hazards. Today, insulating materials are used in energy conservation efforts to increase operational efficiency and reduce fuel costs. Properly insulated buildings reduce energy consumption by keeping heat in during the winter and out in the summer. Insulating is performed in virtually every type of residential and commercial building in the country, as well as industrial plants, chemical factories, nuclear power plants, and military and space facilities. Insulation mechanics select and install the proper material for each and every type of insulation application. Insulation is installed using a variety of techniques-stapling, wiring, pasting or spraying depending on the type of surface to which the insulating material is being applied. For example, in order to insulate a steam pipe, insulation must be measured and cut to the required length, stretched open along the cut that runs the length of the insulation, and slipped over the pipe. The insulation is then secured by stapling, taping, or wrapping and fastening wire bands around it. A protective sealant, finish or cover is then applied over the outside of the insulating material to help protect it. Basic insulating materials can include fiberglass, mineral wool, ceramic fiber, cellular glass, cellular foam, polyethylene, polystyrene, calcium silicate, perlite and insulating cements. Protective coverings include coatings of cement or mastics, reinforced paper, tar paper, canvass cloth, plastic, laminates and metals.
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