Bricklayers construct walls, partitions, fireplaces, chimneys, and other structures from brick,
block, and other masonry materials such as structural tile, concrete cinder, glass, gypsum and
terra cotta. They spread a layer or “bed” of soft mortar that serves as base and binder using a
trowel. The brick or block is then positioned and the excess mortar removed. Bricklayers must
understand and work from blueprints, and be able to use measuring, leveling, and aligning tools
to check their work.
Much of masonry work is out-of-doors and depends on suitable weather. However, modern
construction methods along with heaters and temporary enclosures stretch the season and make
bricklayers less dependent on good weather. Bricklayers are on their feet all day, and do
considerable lifting of heavy materials with much bending – sometimes from scaffolding high
above the ground.
Aptitude and Interest
Masonry construction involves a variety of duties requiring close tolerances and standards.
Bricklaying requires careful, accurate work by the craftsman. Masons should enjoy working
outside under many different weather conditions. Good eyesight is important to quickly
determine lines and levels. Also, manual dexterity is especially important.
To become a skilled bricklayer training is essential. It can be acquired informally through
“learning-by-working;” through company on-the-job training programs; by attending trade or
vocational/technical schools; through unilaterally (management or labor) sponsored trainee
programs; through registered, labor-management apprenticeship programs; or a combination of
the above. It is generally accepted that the more formalized training programs give more
comprehensive skill training. Recommended high school courses include algebra, geometry,
general science, mechanical drawing, and English.