Bricklaying is competitive
(From; How to be competitive)
It is a well-known fact that whatever we do we would like to do it better and faster, we have this inborn need to excel in whatever we do; and those that don’t fall in this category and therefore don’t care to do better usually they become losers, so we are forced to act one way or another. For these reasons we always try to challenge ourselves; we have to do that in order to be successful in life.
This need to do things better and faster also applies to the building industry, because the building industry needs to be competitive, perhaps to a higher degree than other industries, therefore it is very important that we would be able to build better and cheaper houses, because that is the only way that the buyers would be able to afford to buy their houses or apartments, and then, we the builders could build another one to sell again.
We all know in whatever activities we are able to perform that we would like to do that better and faster, so that we can beat our competitors; so all the trade people that work in the building are constantly looking for ways to improve their output; you see a tradesman needs to perform well, if he is going to be employed from a builder or contractor, because he needs to perform well to earn his wage and a bit more for his employer. So, if you are a bricklayer you must be able of laying a certain number of bricks or blocks per day before you would be employable, of course this can vary greatly depending on the job that needs to be done.
Now, in some of our previous building articles we have talked about brickwork, we have started with, DIY brickwork DIY brickwork, then we have written Building a brick base, and then House brick base continues, so, we have talked about a fair bit how to lay bricks in these three articles, anyhow these three articles were written to show some do it yourself people how to go about building this brick base, of course we have also pointed out how to lay more bricks by using bricklayers’ profiles and other things, but the aim was mostly for people that were not real tradesmen.
For the block layer tradesman
Now, this article here we are aiming it to the block layer tradesmen, because we would like the block layer tradesmen to challenge themselves and see if what we are claiming here could be done more than just a few times; of course we are going to show you how you could lay more besser blocks in one day that you did before, but you need to follow some rules that we have found helpful. In this example we are going to make it easy and we are going to talk only about straight forward work, otherwise it is going to be very hard to achieve and also to explain or measure what we want to do.
As we all know, for the bricklayer to lay blocks is even harder than laying bricks, because the blocks are heavy, each block needs to be lifted with both hands and carefully placed softly on the mortar bed that the block layer has laid, so it is hard to lay many blocks in one day, but there are ways to make it a bit easier and a block layer could be able to lay up to 250 in one day, when the job is easy enough to do; so let us see how that could be done.
Now it is necessary to explain to the public what happens in the building industry and how many bricks or blocks a tradesman is supposed to lay in one day. In the building industry the best tradesman would exaggerate a bit their capacity of laying so many bricks or blocks per day, so, we go around boasting that we are able to lay 1000 common bricks, or over 500 face bricks, or 200 eight inches besser blocks in a single day. Here we need to say that perhaps we have done it once or twice, and we want to boast about it; but really that is hard to achieve, anyhow if you have been able of laying down that many bricks or block even one time in your life, you are a very good tradesman. Now the reality is that on average, when we work on houses or small building at the end of a job the figure could be half of that we are boasting. Now that we have explained that let us see how we could do even better.
Laying 250 besser blocks in one day:
Now, let us forget about the average number or bricks or blocks that can be laid in one day just for a moment and let us concentrate on what we have said above where we were able to lay 200 besser block in one day and that is very hard even for a good tradesman, so, since we claim that we are going to be able to lay 250 eight inches blocks in one day needs to be explained very carefully and that is what we are going to do just now here under:
In order for a block layer to be able of laying 250 blocks in one day, everything and every movement should be planed, so that there is no waste of time and energies. So how could we achieve those 250 numbers of blocks to be laid is explained here under.
First of all it should be a straight forward job, let us say the walls are long and you are on a level platform, let us assume that we are working on a concrete slab, so the place is level and there is plenty of room to move around, the walls have been marked where they should be, so all you have to do is to lay these block. Now to do this job efficiently it required team work, so if you are the block layer instruct your labour how you want to set up your mortar board and the blocks that you have to lay.
Ideally you want the mortar boards to be set off the ground, so the labour should put a couple of blocks on the slab and set the mortar board on them, they need to be set at least two feet from the wall and about 6 to 8 feet apart, you see here you want to give more room to the labour for the blocks; then instruct you labour that when he brings the blocks he should set the blocks between the mortar boards standing up, so that you don’t have to handle the blocks many times, now these are how it is set up for the labour; but what’s about you the block layer; what do you need to do to be able to lay those 250 blocks.
The block layer procedure
The block layer first of all lays one block in each corner; and then he stretches his bricklayer line between these two blobs and lays the first course of blocks as usual making sure that all blocks are straight and have an even vertical joint, if everything is done the correct way, because the blocks have been made to cover 400 mm each in the wall, but their true length is 390 mm, if you measure the wall it should be an even number divisible by 100 mm and minus 10 mm. So if a wall is 10 metre long and you follow this rule strictly, you will end up with a wall 9.990 meters long, of course this could easily be adjusted from the block layer by making a few joints bigger or smaller as required.
The reason that we have written about this length is that we want to point out to some people that want to lay blocks themselves how to work with blocks, so let us explain it in another way: when we work with blocks it is a lot easier for us to follow the gauge, because they have been made to cover an even number when laid, so, a 200 series block is 390 mm long 190 mm wide and 190 mm high, but when laid in the wall because we have to add the mortar joint it covers 400 mm in length and 200 mm high, so this is the gauge that needs to be kept, of course sometimes the length in the building do not work with the length of the blocks and this may cause a few problems; but whatever problems there might be, it is advisable that you don’t try too hard to adjust it by making the joints too big or too small; you can try to make the bed and vertical joint smaller if possible and it is still going to be a good job done, but if you try to make them bigger it becomes unsightly.
Of course, we need still to write how a tradesman block layer could be able to lay 250 blocks in one day, in order to lay that many blocks he must set everything the right way from the start, so let us continue how that could be achieved. We have mentioned above a wall about ten meters long, but it could be any length as long as it is not very short you can use the following method. After laying the first course of blocks you build the two corners, say four blocks high and you set your bricklayer line on these corners. Now make sure that your labour has brought the blocks and placed them between the mortar boards standing up us we have described above, this will save you the bricklayer to lift the blocks in that position before you place the mortar on them for the vertical joints.
Okay, everything is ready to go, tell the labour that he can fill the mortar boards with fresh mortar; now pick up a plaster hawk and your bricklayer trowel, fill up the hawk from the mortar board and start laying the mortar on the block ribs on both sides, you see the blocks ribs are narrow and you cannot use a full trowel of mortar straight from the board, well you can but it is going to be hard to drop the right amount of mortar on the ribs, so by using the hawk you can pick up a small amount of mortar from it and place is straight on the block ribs, by doing this you will be able to lay your mortar bed a lot faster without bending to many times, so you can save time and energy, it is up to you if you lay the mortar bed for the entire course, or only part of it, it may depend on the length of the wall and other factor, and a good bricklayer knows what to do just by observing a few things; now that you have laid the mortar bed place some mortar for the vertical joint on the blocks that are already standing up, then leave your hawk and trowel on the mortar board; you see you have to leave these tools there because you need both hands free to lift up the blocks, here you have a choice, you can lift just one block carefully lay it on the mortar without squashing it and tap it into position with your trowel and when necessary even a hammer, now you can lift one block at a time and tap it or a few blocks and then tap them into position, it is up to you whichever way you prefer.
Anyhow, what we have written above is how you could be able to lay more blocks with less effort, it is worth to try, as we have tried it and it works. I hope that I have been able to explain this procedure clear enough for our readers to follow.