What they do
Bricklayers lay bricks, pre-cut stone and concrete blocks to build and repair buildings, walls and paved areas. They do this by consulting building plans, making measurements and binding bricks together with mortar. Their work is an important part of the construction process, as bricks often form the structural base of many buildings. Sometimes they do ornamental work by laying shaped or coloured patterns in buildings, archways, walls or floors.
Specialisations include: Chimney builder, Refractory bricklayer, Retort setter (bricklaying), Tuckpointer
Bricklayers work outdoors on construction sites, or at locations that require building or repair work. They work at heights on scaffolding, in tight spaces and in different weather conditions.
Bricklayers normally work in teams and must be very accurate and safety conscious.
They may work on large-scale construction projects, such as schools or hospitals, or on smaller housing projects.
Tools and technologies
Bricklayers use trowels, hammers, shovels, bolsters and spirit levels to measure and lay bricks and other building materials. Mortar and concrete are made up in buckets or mixers to keep them from setting. Sometimes they also use special machines to cut bricks into required shapes and sizes. All bricklayers must wear safety equipment such as hard hats, dust masks, steel-capped boots, earmuffs, safety glasses and protective or high visibility clothing.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a bricklayer, you usually need to undertake an apprenticeship in bricklaying. The apprenticeship usually takes between 36 and 48 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
In Western Australia sub-contractors carrying out construction work valued at more than $20,000 must be accredited, or work under the supervision of someone who is accredited, as a registered building practitioner. Contact the Building Commission Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety for more information.
To work as a bricklayer within the construction industry you will need to obtain a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a “white card”) authorised by the WorkSafe Division, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.