What is a Bricklayer
Bricklayers build and repair walls both interior and exterior, using Brick, Concrete Block or Stone. Certain sructures such as fences, retaining walls etc. may also be included in this job description.
In many cases the bricklayer forms the structures that other trades expand on.
Without a bricklayer, the building simply would not be happening.Bricklayers construct the wall system to be weather-proof, secure and aesthetically pleasing
With government spending plans and code requirements both in the short term and long term on housing, schools and other institutions the future looks secure for a career in Bricklaying.
Typical responsibilities include:
- Lating brick, stone or concrete block units in courses and patterns to form walls as required using methods prescribed.
- Cutting units to fit the coursing patterns using both hand tools such as hammers and chisels as well as power tools like saws or stone splitters.
- Mixing mortar either by hand or by mechanical mixer.
- Spreading mortar to the correct thickness to level the bricks, stone or concrete blocks efficiently.
- Follow instructions both verbal and written to ensure all drawings and specifications are adhered to.
- Accommodating other trades work by providing access for waterlines, electrical conduits, mechanical chases etc.
Grade 10 or equivalent. Good reading, writing and math skills are a requirement. Grade 12 is advised in order to be a well rounded Bricklayer.
Some High Schools offer Pre-Apprenticeship courses which are helpful but not absolutely required. Employers will sign partnership agreements with apprentices to initiate their formal training. Training occurs predominantly on the job under close supervision of dedicated mentors. This training is then complimented by technical instruction at Red River Community College over a period of 3 years. This formal part of the training takes place for a pre-set number of weeks at each level. Upon completing the last level of technical training and 4800 hours worked, each candidate will write the Red Seal Inter Provincial exam. This entitles Bricklayers to move through-out the country (except Quebec) without losing their credentials.
To be a bricklayer you will need
- The ability to work cohesively with others on the team to improve safety, quality and production.
- Keep in fit condition as this is a physically demanding job.
- Be able to work at varying heights and temperatures.
Normal work weeks are 40 hours but may vary depending on conditions. This is not salaried work. As most of the work is outside, expect to work in a variety of weather conditions dressed accordingly. Expect to be asked to have your performance match your skill level as well as your pay level. Even though this is not a performance based (piece work) trade, your employer will need you to always understand the relationship between quality, quantity and compensation.
Apprenticeship is usually preceded by a short period as a Bricklayer Helper. Parts of that work are actually a requirement in the trade curriculum.
If you are ambitious and are willing to learn from your peers, this trade is for you. You will earn significant income while completing your apprenticeship. This gives trades people a great head start over those who opt for full-time education in order to hopefully gain employment upon completion.