You have probably heard the terms plumber and plumbing engineer used throughout your career, however both are very different in terms of job duties. The term plumbing engineer isn’t simply a fancy way to refer to a plumber. The easiest way to understand the difference between the two is the plumbing engineer is the person who designs all gas- and water-related systems, and the plumber is the person who maintains the water-related systems (generally).


What is a plumber?

A plumber is the person you call to fix a broken toilet or sink, or to repair a leaky pipe. Though plumbers are vital members of the plumbing engineering community, they are not the same as a plumbing engineer.


What is a plumbing engineer?

A plumbing engineer is a certified Professional Engineer who designs the hot and cold water systems in homes and/or commercial buildings. When a new building is in its early design stages, a plumbing engineer is the person who verifies every pipe connection is correct and that every hydro-related design is as efficient as possible. He or she chooses the materials to be used for the plumbing system to ensure it will last years into the building’s life.


However, plumbing engineers aren’t just restricted to water-related piping. If a home or building is predicted to be heated by natural gas, he or she will design that delivery system as well. They are also involved in various overlapping systems in a building design, including the mechanical, civil, and chemical engineering disciplines. He or she is a number one influencer on a building’s water efficiency, sustainability, energy efficiency, fire protection, and pollution systems.


Plumbing engineers are qualified to oversee a wide variety of projects. These can include but are not limited to:

●        Developing a stormwater management system

●        Designing cold and hot water systems based on sustainability goals

●        Developing a building’s sprinkler system (or any other fire retardant system) in cooperation with the fire protection engineer

●        Designing medical gas systems for hospitals

●        Designing an entire facility’s sewer system


In other words, plumbing engineering is not a repair, it is the design and implementation; the planning and overall creation. Therefore more schooling and training is involved versus that of a traditional plumber. When a quality plumbing engineer oversees a project, odds are there won’t be much maintenance or necessary fixes for that system for years to come.


Gausman & Moore employees offer top-notch plumbing engineering services for a wide variety of building types and applications. Our engineers work closely with owners, architects, and contractors to ensure each project is completed efficiently and effectively. Interested in our plumbing engineering services? Contact us for more information.