What is a Bricklayer?
Bricklayers prepare, lay brick and other masonry units to construct and repair structures such as walls, partitions,patios, arches, fireplaces and chimneys.
Bricklayers work with masonry materials such as brick, concrete blocks, granite stones, structural tile and pre-cast panels. They also lay or install fire brick or castable materials in commercial and industrial furnaces, incinerators, acid tile, and acid brick in pulp mills.
In general, bricklayers:
- Interpret drawings, and blueprints, and calculate the materials required
- Measure from an established starting point and construct corners first, using a plumb line and mason’s level to ensure each layer will be level from corner to corner
- Spread mortar over the base or previous layer, spread more mortar on one end of each brick to be laid, and lay the bricks into position
- Remove excess mortar after the brick (or other masonry material) is in position
- Use a hammer and chisel or a masonry saw to cut bricks to fit, as required
- Bricklayers must know the properties of various mortars and other bonding materials, and how to handle different types of masonry units.
Skills & Abilities
The work is most rewarding for those who enjoy working with their hands on a variety of projects, which sometimes require creativity.
To be successful in their trade, bricklayers need:
- The strength and stamina required to work with heavy tools and materials weighing between 11 and 25 kilograms
- Manual dexterity and a good sense of balance
- The ability to get along well with co-workers
- An eye for colour, line and proportion
The term of apprenticeship for a bricklayer is 3 years (three 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1600 hours of on the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year.
An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the Bricklayer trade or holds a related journeyman certificate and has the employer’s recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship.
A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may apply for a Prior Learning Assessment.
To find answers to your questions and learn more about a career as a Bricklayer, contact the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftsmen Local 1.
For a quick summary of a career as a bricklayer, ask about the bricklayer trade card.