Bricklayers lay bricks, tiles and building blocks to make buildings, walls, arches and chimneys.
Tasks and Duties:
- consult with clients
- examine construction plans
- erect scaffolding
- cut and shape bricks, blocks and tiles
- make up mortar mixture for placing between the bricks
- lay bricks, blocks or tiles in rows, designs or shapes
- put mortar between bricks and removes any excess mortar
- may alter and repair brickwork
- may design and draw bricklaying plans.
Bricklayers need practical skills and the ability to lay bricks, blocks or tiles according to a building plan. It is important that bricklayers have good people, communication and listening skills, and are able to work to strict deadlines.
Bricklayers need to know about different bricklaying methods and materials, how to interpret building plans and drawings, and about the decorating styles their clients may request. They also need to know how to use different bricklaying tools. Bricklayers must have a sound knowledge of maths to calculate quantities and costs.
Bricklayers need to be accurate and precise in their bricklaying techniques and they need to have an eye for detail. They should be self-motivated and able to work well independently as well as part of a team.
Bricklayers must be healthy and very fit, as well as having strong arms and a strong back, as they are often stooping, bending and lifting. They should also have good hand-eye co-ordination and be free from skin conditions, such as dermatitis, as these can be aggravated by concrete mix.
At least three years secondary education is preferred with NCEA Level 1 English, maths, graphics and science.
Bricklayers may need a Health and Safety Passport (an annual certification gained through a training provider that indicates to a contractor a person has been through a health and safety training course and is aware of the dangers associated with working on construction sites) to be allowed to work on large construction sites. Employers also prefer their bricklayers to have a drive’s license.
Useful experience for bricklayers includes industrial, interior or landscape design, construction site labouring, or any other work in the building or construction industry.
Training on the job
Skills are gained on the job. Apprentices/trainees attend block courses to supplement the practical skills taught on the job and to learn the theory of brick / block laying.
Apprentices train on the job with an employer and are supervised by a qualified bricklayer throughout their training. Their skills are assessed on the job and by attending block courses at polytechnic. On completion of the required unit standards and 8,000 hours of practical work, a National Certificate in Bricklaying is issued.
Salary varies, but bricklayers usually earn between $30,000 and $40,000 per year, and earn more for overtime. Many bricklayers are self-employed.