Bricklayers build and repair walls, floors, arches, pavings, partitions, fireplaces, chimneys, smokestacks and other structures. They work with materials such as brick, natural stone, manufactured stone, tiles, precast masonry panels, glass blocks, concrete blocks, light-weight insulated panels, other masonry units, insulation and membranes. They erect, install, maintain, repair and alter various masonry. The structures vary in complexity from a simple masonry walkway to an ornate exterior on a multi-level building.
Bricklayers use wheelbarrows and forklifts to transport materials. They use hand and power tools to cut and trim masonry units to required size. Trowels are used to spread mortar to bond layers of masonry units together. Measuring and layout tools like a plumb line and level are used to ensure proper alignment.
Bricklayers work on industrial, commercial, institutional and residential buildings. They may specialize in stone work, restoration work or ornamental work. They may also specialize in installing refractories in high-temperature environments or installing corrosion resistant materials to line corrosive environments such as tanks and vessels.
Key attributes for people in this trade are manual dexterity, mechanical aptitude, the ability to problem solve and think sequentially, and the ability to work at heights. Bricklaying is physically demanding work and requires considerable effort in lifting heavy materials, climbing, bending, kneeling and working on scaffolding.
Most of the work is performed outdoors, exposing bricklayers to the elements. The winterization of job sites allows the work to continue year round. Construction safety and accident prevention is a priority.
This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of other trades such as tilesetters, concrete finishers and carpenters.
Experienced bricklayers may advance to supervisory positions for masonry contractors or in other related fields such as construction management, estimating or building inspection. They may also become contractors.
For more information, see Red Seal Trades – Bricklayer