Become a bricklayer and you will open yourself up to a world of possibilities in the construction industry. The skill a bricklayer requires goes beyond simply being able to stack bricks up to build a wall. Though we may not always be aware of it, as we tend to take our walls for granted, there is an art to it, a finesse that keeps the structure of a building together.
What you need to become a bricklayer in the UK
Also referred to as masons, brick masons and block masons, to be a bricklayer there are certain qualifications, such as a level 2 diploma in trowel occupations, you can obtain to give you a foothold into the profession. But more important is job training as it provides you with a practical perspective and experience, which you can get with a bricklaying apprenticeship. Another factor would be that you should physically fit and be willing to deal with the work conditions that can be strenuous, require patience and dedication and can involve work at high elevations and on scaffoldings etc.
To work on construction sites in the UK you may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, to ensure that you are up to date on health and safety standards. It is best to check on what other documentation and certification you may need.
What are the duties you will need to perform as a bricklayer in the UK?
As a bricklayer will be helping to create the skeleton of a building and so you will begin a project by studying plans and drawings. Thereafter, you and the team will need to determine the best method to complete the job and the most suitable material required, such as whether to use concrete blocks or bricks. Cutting and preparing the material is also an important aspect and is ensuring that is it all done according to specifications and that the structure is level with excess mortar being removed. New surfaces have to be cleaned.
You will work on both exterior and interior walls which will include repairs and refurbishments, restorations, partitions for chimney stacks and decorative stonework.
Other duties will include:
Measuring the work area
Ensuring that walls are waterproof and weatherproof
Laying horizontal rows of bricks
Creating access holes
What are the required key skills for a bricklayer?
Being a bricklayer is so much more than just being able to build walls and structures. There is an entire skill set that is needed for a structure to be built according to specifications and to meet quality clearances. As a bricklayer you should be able to understand technical plans and understand design technology, so that your skills can grow along with new advances that happen in the developing construction technology. As with any area in the construction industry, a bricklayer too needs to be a team player.
Other skills that will be of value include:
The ability to read and understand blueprints
Being detail oriented
An in-depth knowledge of construction materials and processes
Ability to use both hand and power tools
What qualifications will help you become a bricklayer in the UK?
While formal qualifications are not essential, they do help you towards starting your career as a bricklayer. They give you a solid background into some of the skills you will need to work on a construction site. Some of the qualifications recommended by the National Careers Service for bricklayers are listed below:
Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills
Level 2 Diploma in Bricklaying
Level 2 Diploma in Trowel Occupations
Armed with your qualifications you can obtain an apprenticeship with a construction firm. You will be able to earn while receiving on the job training and experience.
What is a bricklayer’s career progression?
Once you have received training as a bricklayer and gained valuable experience you can move onto more senior roles such as a site supervisor or a foreman. With time these job roles can progress to that of construction manager which will put you into a higher earning bracket. You could also opt to specialise in certain fields of bricklaying, such as stonemasonry, heritage restoration, estimating and as a trainer. These roles give you flexibility to work as an independent contractor and receive remuneration according to your skill level and demand. You could even with time decide to start your own construction company.
The construction industry is growing along with a growing population. As more homes, schools and hospitals along with other vital infrastructure are needed, the services of bricklayers are more in demand. The construction industry as a whole is growing and being part of this dynamic industry will ensure work for all trades people involved in it.
How much could you earn as a bricklayer in the UK?
As with most industries, your earning capacity with bricklaying will also grow as you become more experienced. Also, salaries for bricklayers also depend on the employer, the location of the work, the type of work and any overtime you might do. A basic breakdown on rough estimates of earning given below are based on multiple sources and data collected as of 2019.
A newly trained bricklayers construction salary can be about £17,000 – £20,000
Trained with experience bricklayers can earn about £20,000 – £30,000
Senior or master bricklayers can earn about £30,000 – £40,000