Block Per Day Per Mason Calculations

Hello Rusty,
My name is Eric Green. I was a laborer for Bob at Advanced Masonry and met you at his company Christmas party about 8 years ago. Your website has been a resource for me through the years for your estimating calculators and free masonry tips. Thanks.

Brick Per Day Layout

Block or Brick Per Day Layout


I have an opportunity to do some work for a contractor friend of mine laying block. He is asking me to estimate how many days it will take me to complete his project (block laying only). My experience is limited to two years as a laborer/apprentice and perhaps a dozen side jobs building patio walls, thus I am poorly qualified to give him an accurate estimate.
His patio wall is 90 feet long, 7 feet high and includes 4 – 32″x32″ pillars. This patio wall will have a stone veneer and stucco finish.
I realize there are many factors that go into determining an accurate estimate. My friend will be content with a rough estimate. My scope of work is the block laying only. I have one very experienced and excellent mason tender to assist me.
Here are my Questions:
Does 5-7 work days sound reasonable for this size project?
Is 150 block installed per day a challenge for the average block layer under average conditions?
How many blocks (8x8x16) do you think you or another expert mason could install in an 8 hour work day under average conditions?
How many CMU can an average block layer install per day (very roughly)?

If you have time to respond, thank you for your help.
Thanks again for your helpful website.
Good luck with all you do including your song writing!
Eric


Hi Eric,

You are welcome. Your email is kind and thoughtful. On my best day I laid 1500 8x8x16 – someone spreading my mud and I did no jointing, I was 24 years old and so healthy I ate nails for breakfast. On my worst day, laying with a level spreading my own mud, in poor walking conditions, 100 per day.

We have a well written program you can purchase that will answer all your questions in depth:

So here are some answers:
Does 5-7 work days sound reasonable for this size project?

  • So far I hear columns (level work) and straight wall.That would be two divisions of productivity.
  • Take a good look at each portion of your patio wall and make a calculated guess as to the conditions you can control and weigh your time/option of leveling dirt to make the conditions speedier -vs- laying in rugged uneven terrain to save time with a shovel in your hand in order to be laying block.
  • Lay all straight portions of the patio wall before you insert columns so you can lay them with a string line – thus making them into production walls. Divide your wall into sections of productivity.

Wall height, scaffold setting et cetera all change the productivity of the wall. Make a guess about each portion. These variables are what you need to factor:

Is 150 block installed per day a challenge for the average block layer under average conditions?

  • Probably around 150 – 200 per day?  I know nowadays block per day are much lower than in my day, but given my ruined wrists and bad back, perhaps that is a good thing.  You are much more qualified than I to say how many block per day you can lay than I am.

How many blocks (8x8x16) do you think you or another expert mason could install in an 8 hour work day under average conditions?

  • Wall height – scaffold, hop boards et cetera
  • First coursing – how deep is the footing below grade – how level is the footing
  • Production wall (long straight and laid to a string line)
  • Rakes and angles – designs, arches and template building, masonry cuts and miters… et cetera
  • Curved Walls and columns – all level work – can one edge of columns be laid to a string line? if so do that to raise productivity – speed-leads are cheaper than labor, especially when it is your labor!
  • Joints and wall treatments – are you striking and cleaning the wall? – Depressed or concave joints? Is the wall painted or exposed?
  • Is the wall stuccoed so you can cut the weep and move along? A wall laid for stick on stone is a bit faster than one for stucco since you do not have to be as careful with weep.
  • Getting mortar and stock to the wall location – can your supplies be dropped adjacent to the wall location (6′ from footing)?
  • Distance from mixer to wall? Will your laborer be by your side the whole time?
  • Distance to site from company location (drive time to the job site)
  • With a good laborer and you do no stocking or set ups guess how many 88s you lay in a day for each wall portion?
  • Divide that by hours per day available to pure block laying.
  • Divide your best guess of block/day by poor conditions or a portion of wall that requires level work by a factor of 2 or three – count the block in that portion of the wall and divide it by your guesstimated output.

How many CMU can an average block layer install per day (very roughly)?

  • 600 block in columns / 100 block per day = 6 days
  • 160 block first course / 80 block per day = 2 days
  • 1800 block in production wall / 450 block per day = 4 days
  • Add all the days together. Do that with each portion of the wall.

I hear your excitement and I am very happy for you.  Good luck with your new endeavor! Send me a video or two :) and a couple of pictures!

Yours in Masonry,
Rusty
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny. ~Gandhi ~

More info on… Block Patio Walls & Retaining Walls – Holding back the Earth

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