Masonry (Brick, Stone and Concrete Work)

Understand different types of materials and techniques to create buildings, interior and exterior building features and landscape features. Training for new employees, or professional development for anyone on a building site.

Course Code: BSS101
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to work with Brick, Stone and Concrete

Masonry commonly refers to construction with brick, stone or concrete units joined together with mortar to create structures. Those structures may be buildings, fences, walls, or perhaps something else.

Definitions of masonry vary though. One definition may be the work undertaken by a “mason”.  Some definitions describe masonry as working with clay or concrete bricks and stone. Other definitions may consider masonry as working with a more diverse range of materials including glass bricks, cobbles and ceramic blocks and tiles.

Develop your skillset

This course is mostly about understanding materials used by bricklayers, stone workers, concreters and masons; and expanding your knowledge of the different ways those materials may be used to both build and repair things. You are encouraged to conduct your own research along the way and to watch videos on the internet to add to your understanding. You will also need a basic set of masonry tools and access to some brick, stone, concrete and cement, as well as basic masonry tools. 



Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Masonry
    • terminology
    • masonry tools
    • ready mix or hand mixed concrete
    • masonry materials
    • types of stone
    • legal requirements
    • foundations
    • joining
  2. Cement and Concrete
    • cement
    • cement terminology
    • the American society for testing and materials (astm)
    • concrete
    • what is the difference between drying and curing?
    • psi strength of concrete
    • concrete masonry units
    • concrete foundations
  3. Construction Method and Structural Considerations
    • setting out levels
    • understanding loads
    • types of walls
    • making construction stronger
    • dealing with movement
    • movement joints
    • using moisture controls
    • using metal
    • copings and caps
  4. Working with Brick
    • types of bricks
    • laying bricks
    • bonding
    • choice of bond
    • locking your construction in place
    • how to cut bricks
    • damp-proofing
    • building a brick garden wall
    • how to construct brick arches
    • piers
    • cavity wall construction
    • wall openings
  5. Working with Stone
    • types of stone used in construction
    • stone walls
    • stone walls for landscaping
    • free standing stone walls
  6. Construction for Fire: Fireplaces, bbq’s, kilns, ovens and fire pits
    • how to construct fireplaces and chimneys
    • chimneys that do not work
    • indoor slow combustion burners and wood/coal burning stoves
    • brick barbecues
  7. Landscape Applications & Hybrid construction
    • paving
    • outdoor steps
    • other garden features
    • furniture
    • pedestals and plinths
    • wishing well
    • letter box
    • follies
    • water features
  8. Repair and Miscellaneous Work
    • paints and sealants
    • plastering walls
    • fixing plaques to masonry
    • damaged walls
    • surface damage and structural damage
    • problems with paving & driveways
  9. Building Applications: houses, farm and commercial buildings
    • choosing a site
    • setting out buildings
    • legalities
    • special project

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe the materials, tools and equipment used for masonry construction, and the nature and scope of work that might be undertaken by those skilled in the use of those tools and materials.
  • Explain how to use cement as a mortar or in concrete appropriate to the circumstances of construction
  • Explain how to construct with brick stone or concrete in a way which is structurally sound and appropriate to the circumstances.
  • Explain how to work with different types of bricks for different construction purposes
  • Explain how to build different things with different types of stone.
  • Explain how to build fireplaces and other structures that will be exposed to fire.
  • Explain the use of masonry in the landscape
  • Explain how stone, brick or concrete should be maintained and repaired when damaged
  • Explain the construction of a house and other type of building with brick, stone and concrete.

What Do You Need To Know?

Masonry work involves joining individual pieces of brick or stone together to create walls or other structures.
The strength and durability of any construction will depend upon the way the different components are joined.
Typically, they are stuck together with cement; but not always.  
Cement may be applied in different ways to the gaps between bricks or stones.


  • The quantity of cement used can vary
  • Reinforcing materials (usually metal), may be embedded in the concrete to strengthen the wall by tying the bricks or stones together.
  • Utilities (eg. water or gas pipe, electric wiring) may be embedded in a wall during construction
  • A waterproof barrier may be embedded in a wall
  • Joins (joints) between two bricks or stones may be treated various ways to create different affects; eg. cement can be raked to create a recessed surface, may be scraped so it is flush with the surface (or bricks) or may be allowed to spill out beyond the surface of stones or bricks. There are many different ways to rake cement in a wall

Learning More About Cement is Fundamental

Cement is a powder made by heating up raw materials containing calcium in a kiln to create dark pellets called clinkers; which are then mixed with gypsum to create a fine grey coloured powder.

The raw materials may be various combinations of limestone, sea shells, chalk, clay and other materials including and, shale and iron. These are ground into small pieces up to 2cm diameter; before heating to temperatures as high as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The final product commonly contains a mix of calcium, silicon, aluminum, and iron and is called Portland cement or type 1 cement.

Cement can become useless if it gets wet before use, do bags should be stored as follows:

  • in dry water proof areas
  • where humidity is low
  • where there is a dry floor
  • stack in a header footer fashion
  • stack on raised boards
  • use oldest bags first

Different types of cement can have different characteristics. Physical requirements that may be variable between different cements include strength, heat of hydration, setting time, air content, expansion and fineness.

To undertake any new masonry work; or repair anything old, it is fundamental that you learn about the materials you are working with. That starts with cement, but there is so much more to learn in the course, both about cement, and everything else.

Benefits of Studying This Course

This course is designed to be of benefit to people who are interested in learning about how to build foundations, walls, driveways, buildings or other solid constructions, for self-interest, business or work purposes. It will also be of value to those who are operating an existing businesses which involve masonry work.

Take this course if you would like to:

  • Find ways to improve an existing construction business.
  • Enhance your employability in construction and maintenance positions.
  • Improve your knowledge of building techniques.
  • Develop your skillset for freelance work in construction-related fields.

This course may be studied by itself or along with other modules as part of a learning package.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
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UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
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Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

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We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

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We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
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There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

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