Brick Laying Jig

About Us

It all started after the completion of the concrete structure of an office building and parking lot at the corner
of Market and Nugget Streets in Johannesburg. We then began the brickwork, but two sides of the building were
right against the neighboring building, so we had to clad them completely for seven storey's.

At first it was fine - bricklaying is only physically demanding compared to say - carpentry. However, the sheer
monotony of doing the same thing over and over again drove me to think of something to break that
monotony. Whilst laying bricks I had an idea, the only difficulty was how to implement it. In the evening
I started drawing and sketching until I arrived at what I had envisioned.

Silvano Lencione, one of my colleagues, had just left the company F & C Construction to join his
father-in-law's business "The Gear Concern" and that helped me a great deal, also financially to get some
racks and pinions. A boiler maker that I knew named Castagno, who had previously made a mould
to build the concrete fence around my house in Germiston, assisted me further. He assembled a very
primordial car consisting of two G-clamps welded together, inserting a pinion with a shaft to be
connected to a rack fixed on a scaffolding pipe.

I could not think of any other innovation until I had tested it. A couple of months later in a shopping center, I
could prove the value of the system by laying 2800 bricks per day, all by myself for approximately two
weeks - I was 33 years old at the time!

Financial hard times and family problems forced me to stop the development of the system. I did however
continue to use it sporadically when the need arose. I was also in the process of developing the
imported "Foamcement" roof insulation, self-leveling screed and waterproofing. This bricklaying system was
probably a bit ahead of its time. I continued to believe in the system and gradually I developed the system
to what we have today. I could afford to register a patent on the system recently.

Stress Free

It is easy to lay a brick every 6 seconds once you have the mortar close by. Some bricklayers claim to lay 1000 bricks per day, however is this pace using the current bricklaying methods sustainable throughout the week? Only if the bricklayer has one labourer to lay the mortar and another to pass him the brick, will he be able to sustain such a high productivity through the week. The nylon line causes a certain amount of stress to the bricklayer as it is stretched from point to point, is flimsy, and the bricklayer must be cautious to place the brick at a specific distance from the line. However, with the Bricklaying jig, the brick can be placed flush with the profile by only the feel of the bricklayer's hand. All this makes the job easier and faster and the bricklayer has a valuable and sturdy guide in the steel profile. The Bricklaying jig gives freedom to the bricklayer to build, knowing that he is doing a good job every time. The productivity is all in the hands of the bricklaying team, provided that they have enough bricks and mortar close by.

Over the centuries the mason or bricklayer has been using the same method to build – plumb bob, line and trowel. This profession is very tiring and monotonous, and often leads to fatigue. The additional innovation of the Bricklaying jig is to add longevity to the career of the bricklayer as well as the help the bricklayer improve his productivity. It would be improbable for a sixty year-old bricklayer to lay 500 bricks per day using the traditional methods however; with the Bricklaying jig it could be possible. The system would allow the bricklayer to achieve their goals whilst expending less energy and reducing the stress as compared to conventional building.

Brick Easy: Labour Against Technology Or The Technology Of Labour

Bricklaying is considered one of the first trades in the pre-historic era, due to man wanting a safe ,dry, warm place to live.

The Bricklay jig system for bricklaying is the only answer to the building needs of South Africa, for both the professional builder and the avid DIY enthusiast.

A robotic machine is unable to match the skill and speed of three semi-skilled labourers laying three thousand bricks a day, every day like a professional bricklayer.

When developing the Bricklayjig no robotics were involved only common sense and years of building experience.

Strength

The system has been developed among other things, to facilitate the strengthening of the bricks. If a particular construction has to be solid, all parts have to be constructed to limit any weak points. This system helps to avoid all of this and can even do so in spite of the inexperience of the labourers. The short training stresses the importance of filling of the vertical joint, using the brick which is being laid. The mortar is fluid and can easily close the joint on the header and on the side of the bricks at the same time. This has been proven after years of testing. The English bond method used mainly for structural support, can be built easily using this system. It can be achieved with greater simplicity than the conventional stretcher course but will give maximum strength and satisfy regulatory requirements.

Unemployment or Innovation?

Most people are concerned about this dilemma. The concern is to give the bricklayer a breather in their day to day hard work. The system with the jig gives them peace of mind and they should not require the trowel. The system is set quickly and any obstacles are resolved prior to commencing of the building. This causes less strain on the builder and this is therefore an Innovation. The employer of the bricklaying team would be encouraged to pay the team according to their improved productivity, as it would benefit the employer to finish the project on time.

The Profile vs. The String

In the current system over the centuries, the string has played a major role to guide the bricklayer on laying bricks, blocks, stones and other ancient building materials. The bricklayer has been able to stretch it any length and put it in his pocket at the end of the day. The profile of the brick-easy system differs only in that the bricklayer is not able to put it in his pocket at the end of the day. For the rest, it can serve the same exact purpose of the string and in many more ways it is far better. It too can be made to any length, it can be "programmed" almost like a computer; one can place stoppers on the profile for various openings in the wall for doors or windows; one can set the courses or gauges; it will guide the mortar box; and align the vertical joint when laying face bricks. The profile can also be moulded into various shapes and sizes: columns, round, square, rectangular, round sections of walls, series of corners, resets, rondawels, etc.

The profile greatly facilitates the laying of bricks because of its solidity. When using the string, the bricklayer has to stay away from it and every brick at the face of the wall has to be two to three millimeters away and to the same height of the string. This is very demanding and time consuming, especially when you start the wall at the bottom lines. The profile however will eliminate all the above, its edge will act as the guide, and one only requires their fingers to adjust the brick at the line of the profile. At the same time, on the still fluid mortar, one can lay the next brick, pushing the mortar between the bricks and thus achieving a very solid wall. This can never be achieved using the string!!

Time is of the Essence

This phrase has become common in every business today. It has been adopted in every aspect of our lives, but mostly where business and money is concerned. One must deliver within the given time and therefore the allocated time must not be wasted or else you will pay dearly for it! Brick-Easy has the answer to this predicament, provided that you have a good supply of material close by. There will not be any interruption to the bricklaying action, as one only has to lift the profile to the next course which is guided by the gauge. Everything else is set at the start. For obvious reasons every 1.5m, the profile rack has to be lifted; however this only takes a couple of minutes.