Using the right contractors

Getting building work right the first time is a passion for the Brick and Blocklayers Federation (BBFNZ) as they introduce another imitative into their industry to improve trade skills – Master Mason.

BBFNZ have been concerned for several years that the skill level of those currently licensed does not meet the expectations of customers in the residential market and it is not improving on its own. 

 “BBFNZ is the place where good trade practice and manufacturers instructions get aligned as we have everyone involved in our building process sitting around the same table as partners” explains BBFNZ CEO Melanie McIver. 

One of the first outputs of this collaboration was the release of the BBFNZ Masonry (Brick) Veneer Best Practice Guide in 2015.  The guide is available online through the BBFNZ website ( . It has been designed to set out standards and tolerances as well as the trade practices required to achieve them.   

Over recent years BBFNZ have also introduced an endorsed veneer assessor network with a standardised reporting template and have worked with what had been a collection of regional trade associations to help them form the New Zealand Masonry Trade Association (NZMTA) which is the member-based organisation for brick and blocklaying companies.

NZMTA creates initiatives to keep members updated with new practice findings as well as compliance requirements and provides access to standardised forms and templates to help its members develop professional practices - 

“Master Mason is our next phase where we now use our assessors to check our NZMTA members work so we can acknowledge and identify those that are doing work to trade practice standards” explains Melanie.    “Our collective knowledge means that we know what a good veneer looks like, we know when a block wall has been constructed properly, we know what a safe worksite looks like for our trade, so we are the best people to judge whether someone is doing everything right and that’s what Master Mason is all about”.

Companies that engage masonry businesses to carry out their brick and blocklaying work will soon be given a very clear message from the industry that they need to lift their game with the contractors that they are using if they want a good result.  This is firstly by ensuring that it becomes a requirement that existing contractors join NZMTA and stay up to date with practices and then that they ask their contractors to get have a Master Mason assessment to confirm they are complying with industry acceptable trade practices.