Are you comfortable working at heights with bricks, stones, and concrete? Then, you may be suitable for a bricklayer profession in Australia.
Bricklayers consult building plans and specifications, take measurements and carry out brick and blockwork to build various structures.
They set bricks, concrete blocks and pre-cut stones to construct and renovate foundations, buildings, internal and external walls, cemented regions, and other structures.
This article discusses the role of a bricklayer, the necessary qualifications and the steps to pursue this career. You will also learn about their salary, apprenticeships, qualifications, how to be a good bricklayer, work conditions, job prospects, and career opportunities to make informed decisions.
1. Who Is A Bricklayer?
Bricklaying is tangible, fulfilling, and hands-on work where a bricklayer can see and touch the things they create. Bricklayers are involved in building various structures for residential homes and commercial buildings.
They cut stones, bricks, and concrete to desired shapes and use cement and mortar to build and repair various structures. On average, a bricklayer sets between 300 to 500 bricks a day. It depends on the weather and project complexity.
Occasionally, they conduct ornamental work that involves putting coloured or designed patterns in walls, buildings, floors, or archways. Bricklayers usually work in groups with other construction professionals.
2. What Tools Does Bricklayer Use?
Bricklayers use shovels, trowels, bolsters, hammers, and spirit levels to measure and place bricks and other construction materials.
They also use brick-cutting machines and hand tools to shape a stone/brick to fit in irregular spaces.
3. Tasks And Duties Of A Bricklayer
A bricklayer works with concrete blocks, clay bricks, and other building materials with mortar to build structures.
Identify the appropriate material and the dimension of construction material and installation procedures to perform the manual bricklaying work based on building plans and specifications.
Use hand tools or operate brick-cutting machines to cut, shape, and refine blocks, bricks, and stones to fit asymmetrical spaces.
Use mortar as a base and binding agent to join bricks in several rows, shapes, and designs.
Spread layers of mortar between joints and remove excess mortar
Seal foundations using water-resistant materials
Repair and maintain cement blocks, cement bricks, clay bricks, and other related structures
Erecting scaffolding (as per the state-level license requirements).
Perform ornamental brickwork and build arches
Checks horizontal and vertical alignment of blocks and bricks
Build window and door frames
4. Desirable Skills To Become A Bricklayer
Bricklaying is a physically demanding job that requires to have good stamina and fitness.
Since a bricklayer must mandatorily study the construction plan and specs before placing the bricks and blocks, they must have technical aptitude and interpretation skills to understand specifications and plans.
Bricklayers also require good hand-eye coordination that helps them accomplish finished work with greater accuracy and less time.
Here is a list of the most sought skills for the successful execution of a bricklayer job:
Knowledge of construction and building
Like doing practical hands-on work
Knowledge of safety rules and standards
Good interpretation skills
Good hand-eye coordination
Able to work well under pressure
Able to work at varying heights and outdoors.
Able to work as a team and independently
5. Qualification Requirements For Bricklayer In Australia
Complete your Year 10 education
Undergo safety induction training and get a Construction Induction Card from a Registered Training Organization.
Some Australian states and territories require bricklayers to be accredited. So, check with the concerned building authority in your state to know any further requirements to work as a Bricklayer.
6. Steps To Become A Bricklayer In Australia
From preparing bricks to reinforcing and repairing building structures, bricklayers take complete charge of the process, from the beginning until the end.
So, here are the steps that will help you build a strong foundation in your bricklaying profession:
Step 1: Get Construction Induction Card
In Australia, it is mandatory to have a Construction Induction Card (CIC) to engage in any form of work within the construction industry.
You must undergo safety induction training from a registered training organization approved by the WorkSafe Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety and secure a CIC card.
Step 2: Get Qualified
Most states in Australia require bricklayers to complete a Certificate III in Bricklaying/Block laying. The bricklayer course develops skills and confidence in students to work with concrete blocks, clay bricks, and mortar and make a promising career in a thriving industry.
Undertaking a bricklayer apprenticeship at TAFE is beneficial as it provides students with experience and further boosts their job prospects. You get the opportunity to earn while mastering job-specific skills. The program also enables the students to attend classroom learning and practical sessions.
There are two ways to undertake a bricklayer apprenticeship:
Onsite Training Conducted by The Employer
Offsite Training Offered by an RTO or TAFE
Step 3: Get Licensed
When you are qualified and hold a CIC card, the next step is to apply for a bricklaying license. As the bricklaying license requirements can vary from state to state, aspiring bricklayers should check with the building commission of the state where they want to work.
Getting the correct bricklaying contractor license will permit you to work on building and construction projects while abiding by the requisites of state-level licensing authorities.
To become a licensed bricklaying contractor in NSW, you can apply for a license through a government service website like Service NSW. You can apply for a license in Queensland through the Building and Construction Commission website.
In the case of Western Australia, you must obtain a license from the Building Commission of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
7. National Resources For Bricklaying In Australia
8. Certification Courses For Bricklayers In Australia
A Certificate III in Bricklaying/Block laying teaches students to understand construction plans, take measurements and use speciality brick cutting tools to perform veneer, solid brick construction, masonry blockwork, levelling, and scaffolding.
Successful completion of the course prepares students to work on construction sites for public, domestic, and commercial buildings. You can study bricklaying in TAFE or at the below-accredited training institutes in Australia.
North Metro TAFE
9. How To Become A Bricklayer Without Experience?
Suppose you want to work as a bricklayer without experience. In that case, you must undertake the Work Ready Program by the Australian Brick and Block laying Training Foundation (ABBTF), which funds and run this workshop.
The states that experience an acute shortage of qualified bricklaying professionals conduct these apprenticeships.
The Work Ready Program is a free 5-day workshop introducing the bricklaying trade and teaches basic labouring skills, including mortar batch preparation, tool operation, and site safety.
The main objective of this program is to inform and prepare trainees for their initial weeks in the trade. It gives you a clear picture of the apprentice bricklayer job role and responsibilities and the employment opportunities available post-successful completion of the internship.
The Work Ready Program is conducted in a TAFE or any comparable learning centre and repeated periodically in regional and metropolitan centres based on the request for apprentices.
However, you should note that this isn’t an accredited course and doesn’t deliver any competencies against the Certificate III Bricklaying/Block laying qualification.
To participate in this program, students must complete their Year 10 with written consent from their school principal.
10. Working Conditions For A Bricklayer In Australia
Type of Work
The typical day of a bricklayer involves working outdoors on construction locations or areas that need building or renovation work.
They majorly study plans and specs, operate brick-cutting machines, place blocks, mortar, and bricks, waterproof foundations, construct arches and repair structures.
Bricklayers usually work at varying heights on scaffolding, operating tunnels and shafts, in congested spaces, and under different weather conditions. They often work as a part of a team with builders and other construction professionals. The job involves some contact with people.
Place of Employment
Most bricklayers are employed in the Construction industry, working on small-scale housing projects and large-scale commercial construction projects, including hospitals, schools, and more.
Nature of Employment
Around 77% of bricklayers work full-time for 42 hours per week.
The average age of workers in this profession is 38 years.
Out of the total bricklaying workforce, only 1% of them are female. It shows that the profession is best suited for male candidates.
Safety Gears and Equipment
The job of a bricklayer involves a certain level of risk and safety issues. They must wear safety gears that include dust masks, earmuffs, steel-capped boots, hard hats, safety glasses, and high visibility and shielding clothing.
11. Employment Opportunities For Bricklayers In Australia
Once qualified, a bricklayer can work in diverse settings that include housing and civil and commercial construction sites.
The profession allows the flexibility to work as full-time employees, self-employed, or subcontracted with general building or bricklaying contractors. As per the Job Outlook website, most bricklayers work in Western Australia.
As you get experienced, you can even advance to supervising, professional building and management roles within the building industry, such as:
An experienced bricklayer can progress their career by specializing in the following areas within the building and construction industry:
Retort Setter (Bricklaying)
12. What Is The Job Outlook For Bricklayers In Australia?
Brick and block layers are part of any construction and building project.
There will be constant availability of work for bricklayers in new housing projects, civil jobs, and commercial buildings in almost every state in Australia.
The Government’s Job Outlook website projects a stable future growth in the bricklaying profession, assuring a consistent demand for bricklayers throughout Australia.
By taking relevant courses and gaining work experience, a qualified bricklayer can find various employment opportunities and scope for progression in this profession.
13. How Much Does A Bricklayer Earn In Australia?
The salary of a qualified bricklayer in Australia depends on several factors, such as experience, supply and demand of bricklaying in the market, employer, and work location. Bricklayers earn in the range of $30k to $70k in Australia.
The average hourly bricklayer salary in Australia is AU$31.58. Based on Job Outlook data, a qualified bricklayer draws $2,070 per week on average.
As per the PayScale data
The average hourly bricklayer salary in Canberra, ACT, is AU$37.00.
The average hourly bricklayer salary in NSW is AU$36.06.
The average hourly bricklayer salary in Victoria is AU$30.94.
The average hourly wage for a Bricklayer in Perth, Western Australia, is AU$30.43.
The average hourly bricklayer salary in Adelaide, South Australia, is AU$29.28.
Bricklaying is among the stable professions in Australia, allowing one to work anywhere in the country. Looking at your finished work gives a sense of pride and achievement, making it worthwhile.
Bricklaying qualifications and apprenticeships open your way to plenty of growth and work opportunities to help you make a promising and lucrative career.
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