Bricklaying and Plastering

Bricklaying and Plastering


Bricklayers and plasterers are responsible for the building of the inner and outer walls of a building as well as the finishing of these structures. Bricklayers construct and repair walls, partitions, steps, free standing piers, arches, fireplaces and other structures made of brick, concrete block or masonry materials.

Bricklaying is the job or activity of building walls or buildings using bricks, Bricklaying is a skilled job, Workshops were offered in bricklaying, tiling, and plastering.

Plastering is the process of covering rough walls and uneven surfaces in the construction of houses and other structures with a plastic material, called plaster, which is a mixture of lime or cement concrete and sand along with the required quantity of water.

Types of Plaster Finishes used in Building Construction are:

  • Smooth Cast Plaster Finish.
  • Rough Cast Plaster Finish.
  • Sand Faced Plaster Finish

Bricklayers and plasterers are usually the first tradesmen employed on a building project where they are responsible for the building of the inner and outer walls of the building as well as the finishing of these structures

The word masonry refers both to the process of building things out of stone or brick and to the structures that result from this process.

What Makes A Good Bricklayer

  • Enjoy practical work.
  • Able to work at heights and outdoors.
  • Good hand-eye coordination.
  • Technical aptitude.
  • Team player, yet independent too.
  • Physically fit.· Attitude and attendance

Skills Needed to Be a Bricklayer

  • Attention to detail and ability to be thorough.
  • Knowledge of building and the construction industry.
  • Ability to work well in a team.
  • Flexibility and adaptability.
  • Physical fitness, including strength, coordination, and balance.
  • Ability to work well with your hands.

The bricklaying and plastering trade is one of the oldest trades in the building industry and has not changed much since the early days. The walls of the Egyptian tombs constructed 3000 years ago were plastered with a material very similar to that used on the walls of modern buildings. Bricklaying still consists mostly of placing bricks and blocks on top of one another whilst following the three rules of plumb, level and straight. 

A bricklayer is a skilled craftsman who lays bricks to construct and repair walls, partitions, steps, free standing piers, arches, fireplaces and other structures made of brick, concrete block or masonry materials. They may specialise in one type of masonry material such as firebrick or cinder block work. They first study the blueprints or building plans to check specifications and determine the most accurate layout. Mortar is then mixed and a layer or bed of mortar is spread as a base, after which bricks are positioned by hand to assure a neat, uniform appearance. Excess mortar is cut off. Mortar joints are then finished off so that moisture cannot penetrate.

Bricklayers must have a thorough knowledge of the different types of bricks that are available, also of the correct mortar mixtures and of how to adapt building methods to different weather conditions. They need to know how to weld metal supports for bricks. In addition, they may supervise helpers.

Plastering comprises the artistic and functional covering and finishing of the interior and exterior walls of building according to specifications and design. Plasterers’ work generally entails protecting, strengthening, covering and decorating brickwork and concrete by plastering the surface. They spread sand-cement plaster on the walls and a sand-cement screed on the concrete sub-floors with a trowel. Walls are finished off until smooth, or may even have a brushed or patterned finish. After levelling the concrete floor with the screed, ceramic tiles or other floor finishes are laid. The wall surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms may then be tiled. 

The work includes tasks such as the plastering of concrete ceilings and the cutting and fixing of plasterboard ceilings. Plasterers not only apply but also prepare coatings to walls and other surfaces. Some plasterers also do complex decorative and ornamental work, using mouldings or other design accessories.

Personal Requirements

  • At least 16 years old
  • Enjoy working with your hands
  • Enjoy performing accurate, detailed work
  • Healthy and strong and have stamina
  • Ability to understand building plans
  • Manual dexterity· potential entrepreneurial aptitude

What do bricklayers spend their days doing?

There are various day-to-day tasks involved in bricklaying. These range from the measurement of work areas and the setting out of the first rows of bricks or blocks, to the mixing of mortar by hand or with a mechanical mixer, and the application of mortar with a trowel as part of the process of laying bricks on top of each other.

Good physical strength, stamina and hand-eye coordination are similarly vital. Prospective bricklayers must also be good at mathematics so that they can measure and mix materials correctly, in addition to being well-organised and proficient with both hand and power tools. Bricklayers with a great deal of experience and qualification can then start their own construction business or become self-employed in that role. A bricklayer could also gain specialist training in fields like stonemasonry, restoration or conservation


  • Building trade, general contractors
  • Government concerns
  • Construction businesses· self-employment, with the necessary experience can trade on a private basis or start own business

There are a lot of reasons to consider enrolling on one of our bricklaying courses here at The Stone Technical College with a view to pursuing a career in this field

Ways to qualify as a registered Bricklaying artisan:

  1. An apprenticeship program between the institution and standard organizations, ranging in duration from between 6 months to 9months and 3 years. At the end of the program, the apprentice writes a trade test and NABTEB Examination leading to professional certification.
  2. A learnership is a structured learning programme ranging from about 6 Months to 9Months. A learnership comprises theoretical and practical training. Practical training is conducted on site and (on the premises of the school). This has the advantage that the learner gets experience whilst training.
  3. The Stone Technical colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via Modular vocational training and National Technical Certificate Training (NTC). During this 9 Months or 3 years programme, learners complete a National Technical certificate (NTC) or Modular Diploma Certificate, they are also exposed to a practical workshop component.
  4. All learners are required to complete a practical internship (SIWES – Students Industrial Works Experience Scheme) under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at The Stone Technical College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

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