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Bricklayers build the interior and exterior walls of buildings as well as repairing existing walls and refurbish old buildings. Building a wall is a skilled job and Bricklayers involves cutting bricks using hammers, chisels or portable power tools, laying the bricks in courses (horizontal layers), spreading mortar with trowels and checking that the wall is straight and level using lines and spirit levels.
In a typical day, Bricklayers may lay several hundred bricks need to follow detailed plans and drawings showing how a building is to be constructed. The usual working week for a bricklayer consists of 39 hours, Monday to Friday. This can include working overtime at weekends or in the evening is common. Those who are self-employed often work longer hours.
Bricklayers usually work on building sites, in all weathers, as well as in noisy, dusty, dirty or wet areas. A lot of building work takes place at high levels therefore you have to wear safety helmets and boots, and may wear gloves, goggles or ear defenders.
Constructing your bricklayer career
The bricklayer's daily work load consists of:
- Clean work area and ensure that any debris or hazardous material is cleared away.
- Measure work area and calculate how many bricks will be needed for the first row.
- Ensure that there is enough material available to put in layers of bricks.
- Make sure that sufficient bricks are available at all times and order more bricks for subsequent work days.
- Mix cement using hands or mixing tools depending on the amount of cement.
- Ensure that bricks are laid symmetrically and that cement is appropriately applied to hold them together.
- Manage excess cement to lessen wastage.
- Shape and trim bricks to make sure that they fit in properly in places such as corners.
- Use a variety of power and hand tools such as hammers and trowels.
- Use pointing tools to apply finishing touches.
- Determine if bricks need to be laid vertically or horizontally.
- Weld metal parts and apply plaster on walls as instructed in the work order.
- Study plans for the building before starting on a bricklaying project.
- Layout patterns and foundations according to the instructions on work orders.
- Polish new surfaces using a variety of materials and tools.
- Make a list of needed materials and tools for the next work day and ensure that stock inventory is sufficient.
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