Bricklaying is one of the most fundamental trades there is, literally the building block that forms the basis of many other jobs.
With such an important element of building work as this, it’s vital that you find the right bricklayer to carry out your job.
We spoke to some of the experienced tradesmen/helpers to find out the key things you should know in order to make the right choice:
Keeping this in mind can help you focus on what to look for when you’re meeting with tradesmen/helpers and getting quotes for the work.
Look out for experience as much as accreditations
When we picture a builder hard at work, it is often bricklaying we can imagine them doing.
However, although it is one of the most fundamental of all building jobs, bricklaying in itself is a specialised trade, with many tradesman/helpers focusing their attention entirely on building and maintaining brick walls and other structures.
Although general builders, handymen and other tradesmen may be able to carry out bricklaying tasks such as building a garden wall or repointing your home, a specialist will always be best placed to carry out these kind of jobs.
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When looking for a tradesman/helper for your project, it’s sensible to speak to ones who have performed plenty of similar jobs to the one you have planned. As well as seeing previous examples of their work that they can show you as part of their portfolio, you may also be able to arrange through them to visit their previous jobs – they should be happy to put you in touch with previous clients they have done work for before. This can also be checked on their Helper.ie profile.
There are other things you can do to check their experience, for example; looking at their feedback on the jobs they have undertaken for homeowners, as well as seeing pictures of the jobs they have taken on.
Don’t be afraid to ask them questions as well, about any qualifications they may have, their length of time in the business, or how they’ll approach your own particular job. Many will have specific qualifications, such as NVQs or City & Guild diplomas. Others will have learnt on the job, apprenticing as part of the crew of a more experienced bricklayer.
Some tradesmen/helper may belong to Irish trade associations. Bricklayers may belong to a number of trade bodies, which can cover a variety of different disciplines. These include:
Federation of Master Builders (FMB): Ireland’s trade association for the construction industry, all members are inspected by the body and expected to uphold standards and follow a code of conduct. There are different levels of membership, with the highest, Build Assure, offering the option of an insurance-backed building work guarantee.Guild of Builders and Contractors: Members of this body who become a “Trusted Member” have to demonstrate three years of trading with customer and financial referees, and abide by certains standards such as providing written contracts and clear payment plans.
Guild of Master Craftsmen: Covering a variety of trades, each full member is assessed in person by the Guild to ensure they are reaching high standards of work. The Guild also provides a conciliation service for disputes between homeowners and member tradesmen.
Construction Industry Federation: Members must provide business and financial references, have public liability insurance and adhere to a code of conduct. Although it does not offer a guarantee against work, it operates a complaint procedure.
FairTrades Association: The FairTrades Association covers multiple trades and works to ensure standards, encouraging its members to offer insurance-backed guarantees on their work. Membership of a body such as this is a good indication that a tradesman is competent and working up to certain standards, however, there are many experienced tradesmen who do not belong to these bodies – there is no obligation to be signed up, unlike membership of the Gas Safe Register, a legal requirement for tradesmen who work with gas in the home. While trade body membership can be seen as a good seal of approval, it is experience that is the most important thing to look out for. Also check out Make sure you are comfortable with your bricklayer.