External masonry walls

6.1.19Handling materials

Materials shall be handled in such a way as to ensure that the construction is neat, clean and undamaged upon completion.

Materials should be stored properly. Issues to be taken into account include the following:

  • deliveries should be undertaken safely to protect both the operatives and materials only using pallets provided by the manufacturer
  • stacks of bricks and blocks should be protected from rain and mud splashes, etc. by covering them with waterproof covers
  • a suitable level and safe place should be identified on each site for the Masonry deliveries
  • cement should be stored off the ground and protected from weather
  • sand should be prevented from spreading and be protected so that it remains clean
  • insulation materials should be handled and stored in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Normally insulation materials should be protected from the weather.

Materials should be handled with care during construction to avoid damage and staining. Chipped or fractured bricks are not acceptable for facework.

Bricks that are tipped on delivery or moved about the site in dumper trucks often have a high degree of wastage.

The unloading of all bricks and blocks, especially facing bricks, should be:

  • by mechanical means
  • directly onto a firm level surface.

Unless bricks have been blended by the manufacturer, bricks from different batches should be mixed to avoid colour patching.

To reduce the risk of efflorescence, newly erected masonry should be covered. This also prevents the mortar being washed out of the joints by rain and stops masonry becoming saturated. Bricks and blocks that become excessively wet can suffer from:

  • staining and efflorescence
  • increased drying shrinkage, with a greater risk of cracking
  • lack of mortar adhesion to mud-stained surfaces.

The work place should be kept clean to reduce mortar splashes to a minimum. Any accidental mortar smears should be lightly brushed off the face after the mortar has taken its first set.