The blockwork finished

Laying the Blockwork

Saturday June 13

Dial a local

We had a very wet start to winter. I knew Greg (the builder) was nervous about the weather. We had waited anxiously as the start date rolled around – thankfully the time coincided with the rain clouds rolling away and the sun and wind coming out to play. The usual bricklayer that Greg used was on holiday, and because of the previous bad weather he hadn’t yet organised a replacement brickie. Again: step forward a local! On the afternoon the footings were poured I contacted Trent (he also went to the same school) to see if he could lay the blockwork sometime over the next few days – he said he could be onsite the next morning!

 

Setting up

Setting up. The yellow caps on top of the steel reinforcing are for safety

 

Equipment and materials for mixing the mortar: sand, water, cement, mixer, generator (power)

Equipment and materials for mixing the mortar: sand, water, cement, mixer, generator (power)

Good fortune

Apparently it is supposed to bring good luck or good fortune to the building and its occupants if you place a coin under the corner of the building when the first block or brick is laid. That may just be a bricklayer’s superstition but I liked the idea and tradition – there is a $1 coin beneath the first corner block, embedded in the mortar.

 

The first block!

The first block! Because the site is sloped the footings are stepped

 

Cutting blocks

Cutting blocks

 

Bricklayers charge per brick or block they lay and how many metres of cutting they need to do.

 

Design Tip: Try to consider designing in units or modules that materials come in: bricks 230mm (without mortar) and blocks 400mm (including mortar), sheets of plasterboard or plywood 1200mm, etc. This will minimise material wastage, reduce labour costs for time needed to cut materials to size, and make for a neater finish (no 1/3 bricks, etc).

 

Scott laying the top course of blocks

Scott laying the top course of blocks

 

Trent 'pointing' the blocks (finishing off the joints)

Trent ‘pointing’ the blocks (finishing off the joints)

What are you going to see?

There are a variety of different types of finish for bricks or blocks, but they can be narrowed down to two main types: applied finish or natural finish. An applied finish is when you add a coat to cover the bricks, such as a render or paint. In that instance the bricks don’t need to be kept clean or finished to a high standard because they will be covered up. A natural finish requires more care to be taken when laying the bricks and finishing the mortar joints in between. As a designer I prefer the honest expression of materials – let the material be what it is.

 

A beautiful straight, level blockwork wall

A beautiful straight, level blockwork wall

 

The finished blockwork

The finished blockwork

 

The invoice...

The invoice…

 

Costs: blocks – $953; sand and cement – $430; bricklaying – $790

 

Disclaimer: Any advice contained within this blog is of a general nature only and cannot be relied upon. Details provided are in good faith and relate specifically to this project. Any author will not be held responsible for advice or information presented.

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