OK, let’s go to the Ukraine! I have to say this was an awesome trip (except for the shooting down of MH17 on the day I arrived). There is so much brick construction in Ukraine – over 90% of all construction is brickwork and I had the opportunity to visit this extremely profitable brick construction site.
Check out this full brick Cathedral, now and in the construction stages.
This construction involved so many aspects of bricklaying that are not used in the western world – massive amounts of arches of all types and lots of corbelling. Reflecting on our methodology back home we have it so easy. The construction in these countries is so far behind us as far as working with modern machinery and safety procedures on building sites. However, they get the job done and in good time.
The walls are 1.4 metres thick at the bottom and deep attenuate as the construction gets higher. The bricks are normally classified at 90. To give you a comparison our bricks are classified at 15mpa equivalent to their 80, which is good in their conditions. However, the bricks on this site are classified 150 (so high quality). They have to cope with almost 70 degrees difference in temperature change and must eliminate the shrinkage, and (as most bricks are organic) eliminating the growth in the masonry and also the plastering is very important.
Notice the timber centres cut out for the windows made to scribe the brickwork around.
After removal these centres are sent to the window or framing shops and the windows are made from the centres. All this work is done by the bricklayers.
Appropriate bricks are set in specific locations, corbelling, bullnose and penny bullnose bricks are used.
Back to the main arch in the entrance, and notice the steel reinforcing attached underneath.
This is laid on the arch centre before construction of the brickwork around the centre. The dome and roof’s main super structure is steel that’s sheeted, then covered in masonry. Usually afterwards it is covered in ceramics or suitable tiles.
Also have a look first hand at the photo below. This is the construction in its juvenile stages before the plasterer makes it look like a precast concrete icon. Most people think that most of the building that look like this are made of concrete and moulded and precisely boxed and formed.
They give all credit to others. Now this is the living proof that behind all the façade is brickwork laid in a precise manner and formation to achieve the adequate outcome. In this case you have plinth, coping and arches as well as standard corbelling.
This is the art of bricklaying !
Again take note of the reinforcing under the corbelling, this is also helping support the corbelling and acting as a reinforcing in conjunction with aiding the plaster.
This is an absolute smorgasbord of so many facets of bricklaying. Even some of the arches are combined together to achieve required religious figures. The templates are the crux of the construction in these areas of bricklaying and some of us (bricklayers) are thinking how rough the common work is laid.
Well, you might be surprised to learn that after the brickwork was constructed, most of the bricklayers threw down their trowels and picked up the hawk and plasterer’s trowel and are the plasterers as well!!!
Have a look at the cranes. There is one at the back and one at the front of the job that run on railway tracks.
And I’m also throwing in a pic of a council cherry picker and a backhoe used in the major city of Kharkiv where this cathedral was built. And check out the scaffolding covered with 25mm pine boards. Sorry, couldn’t show you the temporary hand rail, I really have to keep it a secret.
Author of the book – Bricklaying the Art