Becoming a Brick Layer

Bricklayers Perth construct and repair walls, partitions, arches, chimney stacks, and other structures. They are also responsible for lining industrial kilns and furnaces.

Typically, bricklayers follow an apprenticeship program. These programs offer both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Many of these are provided by construction firms or unions. They usually take around three years to complete.

Becoming a bricklayer is a long-term commitment and requires patience and a deep understanding of the craft. Learning the trade through various routes, including structured apprenticeships, college courses, and self-guided learning, is possible. Several professional and public bodies, federations, and associations can advise on reputable training courses and offer memberships, events, and support to individuals wishing to become or continue as a bricklayer.

Individuals interested in becoming a bricklayer can begin their journey by taking a short introductory course offered by many colleges. The course will give individuals the skills and knowledge needed to progress their careers as a bricklayer. Alternatively, they can start working as a construction site laborer and learn through on-the-job training. This can be a good way to get a feel for the job and build a portfolio.

Once qualified, bricklayers can specialize in a range of areas. Some focus on foundation work, while others specialize in heritage brickwork restoration. Some also train in other skilled trades, such as joinery, carpentry, and painting, to become multi-skilled bricklayers. Others can specialize in working on or around railway-associated structures, requiring them to hold a Personal Track Safety (PTS) card.

Bricklayers will often have to travel between projects and site locations, and it is important to have a strong sense of responsibility and a good understanding of health and safety procedures. They will also be required to use various hand and power tools. They must also be able to read and interpret blueprints or diagrams.

Bricklayers may work with various materials, from traditional bricks to concrete cinder blocks. They will also need to be able to construct and repair walls, chimneys, paths, and foundations. They may even be called on to build and improve memorials.

A bricklayer should keep up to date with the latest developments in their field. This is especially important for those specializing in historical buildings or using unique or rare materials. A good way to do this is by joining a professional or public body, federation, or association, which can help individuals stay up-to-date with industry trends and keep informed about new construction techniques.

Bricklayers need to have the right qualifications and training to be able to do their job well. It is a skilled trade that requires precision, safety, continuous learning, and effective communication. It also demands physical stamina, which can involve lifting heavy materials and working with hand tools. Depending on what suits the individual best, there are various routes to becoming a bricklayer. These include taking a college course and obtaining a qualification or an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships combine classroom learning with on-the-job training under a journeyperson bricklayer. In addition to these routes, some vocational schools and community colleges offer certificate programs in masonry.

The first step in becoming a bricklayer is deciding what masonry area you want to specialize in. Choosing a specialization will guide the rest of your career. You can choose to specialize in residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Alternatively, you can become a master mason and focus on restoration work. However, it would help if you kept in mind that there are a lot of differences between these types of masonry.

To be a successful bricklayer, you need to be able to read and understand blueprints and structural designs. You also need to be able to work with a team of construction workers. While it is possible to learn the trade through on-the-job experience, formal education is preferred because it allows entrants to gain knowledge of the standards, best practices, and terminology associated with the profession.

Another important skill is the ability to mix mortar and align bricks properly. In addition, you should understand how to build structures using different building materials and the appropriate techniques for each material. The type of brick you use will also affect the outcome of your finished project, so it is important to choose the correct type for each situation.

Finally, you should be able to work safely and wear proper equipment to protect yourself from injury. You should also be aware of the latest laws and regulations governing the industry. It is a good idea to join a professional masonry association, which will help you stay up-to-date with changes in the industry. It will also provide you with networking opportunities and access to valuable resources.

Bricklayers use brick, concrete blocks, and natural and artificial stone to build walls, walkways, fences, and other masonry structures. They often work outdoors and are exposed to poor weather conditions. They also lift heavy materials and may be required to stand, kneel, or bend for long periods. They must wear safety footwear and are exposed to dust, fumes, and chemicals. Bricklayers should participate in safety training regularly and update their skills to keep current with industry practices.

Bricklaying is a highly specialized trade. The work requires a high level of skill and knowledge of construction, engineering, and mathematics. Many bricklayers are trained through a three-year apprenticeship program. The program combines on-the-job training with at least 144 hours of classroom instruction each year. Prospective bricklayers should contact a local contractor, trade association, or union office to apply for an apprenticeship program.

A qualified bricklayer can earn a good living and enjoy the satisfaction of completing challenging projects. They can also earn overtime pay and receive periodic raises. In addition, unionized bricklayers are eligible for benefits such as paid holidays, medical insurance and hospitalization coverage, and pension plans.

Working conditions vary between workers, construction projects, and countries. Some of the most important factors that influence working conditions are the type of bricks used, the mortar and cement, the type of equipment, and the working environment. Bricklayers must frequently come into contact with wet bricks and mortars, which can cause skin problems such as dermatitis or burns. Mortar and cement contain crystalline silica, which can be inhaled and lead to silicosis.

Other hazards of this job include using power tools, exposure to loud noises and vibrations, and the risk of falling. A bricklayer must be able to stand for long periods, lift heavy objects, and work in cramped spaces. The position also involves frequent stair climbing, which can be stressful for some people. It is recommended that bricklayers take regular breaks and stretch frequently to reduce their risk of injury.

Bricklayers are construction workers who primarily lay and bind bricks and other building blocks to construct and repair walls, partitions, patios, arches, fireplaces, and chimneys. They typically gain skills through three-to-four-year apprenticeships, but some learn through on-the-job training or technical colleges. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most bricklayers work for foundation, structure, and building contractors, earning average annual salaries of $57,910.

The salary of a bricklayer depends on several factors, including their level of experience, the type of projects they are engaged in, and the size of the firm they are employed by. Those with a higher level of education and certification may earn more than their less-experienced counterparts. The nature of a particular project also impacts earnings, as larger-scale projects tend to demand more extensive and detailed work that requires heightened levels of skill.

Bonuses are another factor that can influence bricklayer pay. These bonuses are usually awarded to those who perform well and contribute to the success of a particular job. They may be in the form of a flat sum or as a percentage of the project’s total cost. Some bricklayers enter into profit-sharing agreements with their employers, which can significantly boost their earnings.

The geographical setting of a bricklayer’s workplace also plays a key role in their salary. Working in urban areas with high living costs typically receives more substantial compensation. Those in rural regions, on the other hand, are likely to have lower earnings.

Bricklayers also earn more when they possess a white card, an accreditation that indicates that they have completed occupational health and safety training. This qualification is required for all tradespeople who work in the construction industry and is awarded by a registered training organization.

As the number of bricklayers in a given area increases, so will the available job opportunities. Those seeking employment in this field are encouraged to apply for positions at various companies, as the competition for these roles can be intense. Additionally, potential bricklayers need to understand the specific needs of each company and how their skill sets can best be utilized to meet those requirements.

Journal For Masonry Professionals

Journal For Masonry

On a daily basis, IMI meets with and educates the people who make masonry decisions. Meetings such as a recent blueprint review in Ohio where IMI showed an engineer how to solve a structural problem with a union masonry solution saved BAC jobs and protected the industry’s reputation.

TMS members work hard on codes and standards to ensure masonry is recognized. One example is the inclusion of self-consolidating grout in code requirements and support for masonry wall bracing.


Masonry contractors often find themselves in legal trouble due to lack of clarity around contractual obligations. Creating daily reports that detail all work done on site can protect masonry companies from potential litigation. It also helps reduce project delays, costs, and risks by identifying issues that could otherwise escalate into larger problems.

Choosing the right building materials is crucial for a successful masonry project. This article explains the selection process and identifies the factors that influence the decision to choose sustainable materials for masonry work. It also describes the development of an aggregation model for incorporating sustainability criteria into a composite index for building material selection.

The Concrete Masonry Association – This trade association provides a wide range of industry information related to concrete masonry. It is a great resource for concrete construction professionals and students. The organization has many publications and technical resources available for download on their website.

Concrete construction is a labor intensive activity, and the risk of injury or death for workers can be high. This is why it is important for all concrete construction companies to take safety measures to ensure worker safety and compliance with federal and state regulations.

This monthly trade magazine provides information on the latest news and updates in the masonry industry, including market conditions, industry regulations, new technology, equipment use and techniques, building performance, sustainable projects, and more. The magazine is available to members of the Mason Contractors Association of America and the free digital editions can be accessed online.

Masonry Standards Joint Committee – This committee develops consensus based standards regarding code language and design of masonry construction. The committee includes representatives of the masonry contractor associations in Canada and the United States.

Canadian Masonry Design Centre – The Canadian Masonry Design Centre (CMDC) is a not-for-profit association funded by its masonry contractor members in northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Brad Crumb, a CMDC engineer in charge of engineering technical resources, says that the organization’s main goal is to bridge the gap between the design community and the masonry construction industry.

The Masonry Society (TMS) – TMS is chartered as a not-for-profit professional society dedicated to advancing the knowledge of masonry, its design, and construction. The organization’s standards are referenced in international codes and are designed to address a broad range of uses, from commercial buildings to residential structures. In addition to writing codes and standards, TMS reaches designers through presentations at American Institute of Architects chapters, Construction Specifications Institute sections, Building Enclosure Councils, and national conferences. The organization’s Design Practices Committee is responsible for a number of TMS publications and is currently working on a Dry Stack Masonry Guide. TMS’ Existing Masonry Committee also disseminates knowledge on masonry evaluation, repair, and rehabilitation through their publications and presentations.

Test Results

Masonry construction demands that all involved have a good understanding of the material, including its strength characteristics. This is especially true for structural engineers who design masonry structures that meet building codes and industry standards. Testing and research are the best tools to achieve this understanding.

To help structural engineers and others understand how a masonry material behaves, TMS offers a number of test results on the website. These test results are useful in determining proper design loads and analyzing the behavior of structures. TMS also has an online database of test results for masonry unit types, which can be used to determine the strength of materials and to verify design calculations.

TMS also has a large library of masonry construction documents on the site, including the TMS Masonry Standard, Guides and Manuals, the TMS Direct Design Handbook and other publications for masonry contractors and designers. These documents provide guidance on a wide variety of topics, from selecting the best masonry for a project to detailing daily job site reports. These reports are essential in communicating with clients and reducing project risks by detailing the work performed each day.

The TMS Masonry Standards Committee has recently developed a new TMS Direct Design Handbook for Masonry Structures that provides a simplified procedure to address the strength design requirements of TMS 402 Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures. The CMDC is also working to host a database of masonry unit test results on the TMS website, allowing designers to access this information for use in BIM software.

Another important piece of TMS’s online library of resources is the Masonry Unit Data (MUD), a database that allows architects and engineers to download standardized masonry unit properties for use in BIM systems. This database can save time during the modeling process by avoiding the need to manually enter data that may be incorrect or out of date. In addition, MUD can be used to verify that a software model contains correct and accurate information. In the future, MUD will be expanded to include a comprehensive list of physical properties for common masonry units.

News & Updates

The masonry industry is working hard to find new ways to get young people to pick up a trowel and build a career. This is a challenge for contractors and union craftworkers alike. The International Masonry Institute (IMI) has been meeting with, educating and selling the union masonry solution to key decision makers — including architects, engineers, facility managers and construction superintendents. And the efforts are paying off. The latest example: IMI recently made a presentation to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the Association of Public and Private Property Managers (APPA).

IMI’s National Director of Industry Development David Sovinski discussed the advantages of using union masonry in a project and the value that IMI-trained craftworkers can bring to the job site. He was followed by a panel discussion of APPA members who spoke about their experiences using IMI craftworkers in their projects. This was just the latest in a long line of IMI outreach efforts to promote union masonry.

MCAA members also work closely with other groups representing the masonry industry to educate engineers and designers regarding the strengths of brick, CMU, concrete block, cast stone, and terrazzo in building design and construction. The MCAA also participates in research related to masonry materials and construction practices. The council’s Research & Technical Services Committee oversees and manages the MCAA’s research programs in various areas of interest to the industry.

Research findings are reported in the MCAA’s monthly journal, Journal For Masonry Professionals. The magazine has been in print since 1964 and is available online free to the public. Articles include information on masonry products, construction trends, building codes and standards, equipment use and techniques, labor issues, legal matters, and new technology.

In addition to the monthly trade journal, a number of other TMS publications are available. TMS E-News Briefs, TMS Responds, and the Masonry Testing Night School address common questions from designers, inspectors, contractor personnel and test technicians. The MCAA also publishes its research results in the Journal of Applied Masonry Research. This peer-reviewed journal has a SJR ranking that takes into account both the number of citations to the publication and the prestige of those citing it.

Contact Us

Masonry professionals often work in isolation from each other, but if you’d like to talk to someone about masonry testing or masonry construction, feel free to reach out. We’ll get you connected to the right person, quickly.

The Masonry Society has a lot going on this year. A number of TMS Committees are collaborating to develop new information and resources that will benefit the entire industry. We’ll also continue to offer a wide array of educational opportunities, including TMS Night School and webinars on strength design of masonry, a masonry BIM guide, and an in-person ACI Certification session.

Whether you’re interested in making the world’s most sustainable building, ensuring your brick and mortar can endure for generations, or just want to learn more about the newest technologies, our members are here to help. We’ll connect you with the experts and resources to help your business thrive, and we’ll advocate for a strong and vibrant masonry industry.

TMS’s e-newsletters, e-news briefs and the TMS Journal keep members and friends of the Society informed about what is happening with TMS; answer common and not-so-common questions; and report on masonry research efforts. TMS will also debut a new Masonry Tip Sheet series, bringing practical information to designers, contractors, inspectors and testing technicians.

IMI is committed to meeting with, educating and selling the union masonry solution to the people who make decisions on projects. They’re talking to architects, engineers, general contractors and developers on a daily basis to promote the value of using IMI-trained craftworkers for masonry construction.

The Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 of New York is responsible for the “who’s who” of buildings in the greater NYC area, including Grand Central Terminal, Yankee Stadium, Citifield, the World Trade Center Memorial, and the Chrysler Building. They’re also working on the American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center, and the Cloisters – not to mention thousands of office and residential buildings. Brad Crumb is IMI’s Director of Engineering Technical Resources and is involved with CMDC, a not-for-profit association funded by masonry contractor members from northern and southern Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan.