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Bricklayers build and repair the interior and exterior walls of residential and commercial buildings, as well as the linings of tunnels, boundary walls and heritage buildings.

Depending on the size of the site, the position of the wall may be set out by the designer, engineer or senior builder. A bricklayer would then:
  • measure work areas, setting out the first rows (courses) and damp course 
  • cut bricks, using hammers, chisels or portable power tools 
  • mix mortar, applying and laying the bricks in horizontal courses 
  • check courses are straight 
  • point the brickwork to create a neat finish. 
Bricklayers usually work around 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. They are often on site by 8.00am. Working overtime at weekends and evenings can be quite common. Much of the work is outside in all weathers. Physically demanding, the work involves a lot of standing, kneeling and lifting of heavy brick loads and mortar. Bricklayers may need to climb ladders and work from scaffolding. Personal protective equipment should be worn.
Bricklayers need:
  • practical skills 
  • a methodical, careful and accurate work approach 
  • a head for heights 
  • a responsible attitude to health and safety 
  • to be good at problem solving 
  • the ability to work in a team. 
Trainees can earn between £8,639 and £14,439 a year, potentially reaching £30,000 for experienced bricklayers with supervisory duties.

Useful websites

Construction Skills Careers
Federation of Master Builders
Women and Manual Trades
Career and Course Articles: 

online magazines