what do bricklayers do?

Bricklayers build and repair chimney stacks, walls, tunnel linings, and decorative work like archways. They are responsible for using blocks, including bricks, and mortar to set out buildings and work in line with approved construction plans. People in bricklayer jobs may also refurbish masonry and brickwork on projects of restoration.

The range of sites and projects on which bricklayers will work includes large commercial developments, new builds in housing, alterations and extensions. The responsibility of a bricklayer is to construct the first shell of a building. This is true whether the development is a house, a school, a bridge or some other type of construction.

Buildings certainly would not get built without the skills of a bricklayer. People skilled in this construction role will create walls that are waterproof and weatherproof as well as secure. Candidates for this type of job are likely to be in high demand as government spending is focused on construction of new houses and schools in the coming years. This makes bricklaying a career choice that is quite secure.

bricklayer jobs

how to become a bricklayer

Formal qualifications are not a requirement for bricklaying jobs; however, higher wages are often given to those who are more technically skilled. Candidates can take a variety of basic courses that are likely to increase their starting salary.

One of the easiest ways to become a bricklayer is by way of an apprenticeship with a building firm. Candidates will be paid to learn but the ease of access to an apprenticeship is dependent upon the local area.

In order to begin an apprenticeship, candidates are usually required to have GCSEs in English and maths, as well as technical subjects like design and technology. Candidates may also be required by some firms to have a basic building qualification prior to beginning an apprenticeship.

The BTEC Introductory Certificate or Diploma in Construction is the most widely accepted qualification. Certain college courses like the City & Guilds Basic Skills in Construction Awarded in Bricklaying, the BTEC First Diploma in Construction, or the Intermediate / Advanced Construction Award (Trowel Occupations – Bricklaying) could also support a career as a bricklayer.

A Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is also now being sought after by many employers taking on bricklayers. This is a certification that gives an employer more confidence that the candidate will be safe to work on site. Formal qualifications are needed in order to get this certification, like that of a Trowel Occupations NVQ as well as passing a health and safety test.

To begin a career as a bricklayer these qualifications should be all that is needed but, once working in the role, further qualifications can be obtained to increase employability. There are further skills to be learned at advanced levels like laying out work areas, laying different types of bricks, mixing different types of mortars, and building advanced masonry structures.


types of bricklayers

Some of the types of bricklayers include:

  • refractory bricklayer: a refractory bricklayer repairs or builds furnaces, tanks and other heat and corrosion-resistant structures. You can work in industrial settings to replace brickwork damaged by corrosion or water. Apart from industries, refractory bricklayers work in residential areas to help homeowners repair and build chimneys.
  • tuck pointer: as a bricklayer specialising in tuckpointing, your job is to enhance masonry's cosmetic appearance. For instance, if parts of the mortar have deteriorated, you can remove them and fill the joints with new mortar to improve appearance.


working as a bricklayer

Depending upon the season, bricklayers will normally work 39 hours each week. There are often evening, all-night and weekend overtime shifts required in order to finish a project at or before its deadline.

The role of a bricklayer will entail working outside in all types of weather as well as a bit of moving around, from site to site. Sites are likely to be relatively local but sometimes the role will take candidates away from home. Accommodation and food are usually provided under these circumstances, as is a higher level of pay.

Training in health and safety is a precaution taken for all building sites due to the potential for accidents. Some safety equipment that is required to be worn includes work boots and a safety helmet. Some bricklayer jobs require wearing gloves, goggles, ear defenders or even a safety harness.

When it comes to larger commercial buildings, there are instances in which bricklayers will be high up and in noisy or dusty conditions. Candidates for this role must have a head for heights and be constantly vigilant when it comes to health and safety awareness. The time up a ladder or on scaffolding may be significant but there are great benefits in doing such practical work in the fresh air.

There are many opportunities for travel for highly trained British construction workers, including bricklayers. There are even short-term overseas contracts with great financial rewards.


how much does a bricklayer earn?

A bricklayer’s salary typically starts from £17,000, while highly qualified and experienced bricklayers can earn £40,000 per year. Bricklayers with a great deal of experience and qualification can then start their own construction business or become self-employed in that role.

A bricklayer could also gain specialist training in fields like stonemasonry, restoration or conservation. Another opportunity to consider is to help the next generation of workers in the sector by transitioning into education, a field which currently has a high demand for experienced bricklayers.

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what do bricklayers do?

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