Best Practice for Brick Sorting

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Best Practice for Brick Sorting

The Problem:

A considerable amount of colour variation in face brickwork is possible, with brick manufacturers, from one kiln batch of bricks to the next. This colour variation can result in portions of brickwork being defected once the bricks are laid due to the effect they produce. The photo below shows an example of unacceptable colour variation that would be defected on a new project. The extent of sorting will vary from job to job. The issue is particularly critical on large walls of architectural face brick work. Of course it is very difficult, expensive and delay creating to remedy such a defect once built. On projects where this risk needs to be mitigated it is critical to adopt a strategy before bricklaying starts.

The Solution:

The following notes recommend how bricks should be sorted, on critical projects, to blend them together so the colour variances will not be particularly evident in the finished wall:

  1. When bricks are delivered to site do not double stack pallets as it will make sorting too difficult and slow;
  2. After delivery remove the plastic wrapping to ensure that the bricks are aired;
  3. Cover loosely with plastic ensuring there is airflow around the bricks;
  4. Inspect pallets to determine initial quality of the bricks and the extent of brick sorting required;
  5. When sorting begins ensure the bricks are dry and free from any moisture so that the precise colour can be determined;
  6. Two labourers are needed for efficient sorting;
  7. If possible rotate labourers for sorting so that complacency doesn’t cloud the sorting decision;
  8.  Depending on the quantity required hand sorting is acceptable however a brick-grabbing tool (6 bricks at a time) should be used to minimise damage;
  9. Each of the two labourers take bricks from a minimum of 2 pallets and each place their bricks on the same new stack to form a new pallet, each time they pick up they are to alternate between each of their 2 pallets so that the one new pallet is formed from a minimum of 4 pallets;
  10.  All rejected bricks are to be stacked on a separate pallet for the sales rep to determine if a credit is required over and above the stated wastage percentage;
  11. Periodically the builders site Foreman and the bricklayers foreman are to check the newly stacked pallet for consistent quality;
  12. Always ensure that the bricks are stacked carefully to ensure that chipping is eliminated.

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