. BASIC PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTING WALLS
The four key features of successful brickwork are that it is constructed level, vertical (plumb), to gauge and in line. Bringing these four features together means adopting the fundamental principle that walling, even one short course of bricks, is constructed by first building the ends or corners of the wall plumb, level, and to gauge, and then filling in the brickwork in between, by ‘running-in’ (see Fig 123). The accuracy of the in-filled brickwork in terms of level, plumb and gauge can only be as accurate as the corners or ends of the wall. Any mistakes or inaccuracies in the corners or
ends will be transferred to, and replicated in, the middle section of the wall when it is run-in in between.
Fig. 123 First, the ends or corners of the walling are built and then the brickwork is run-in in between.
This principle applies to all brickwork projects, from the largest to the smallest. After running-in, the process of building ends or corners is repeated on top ready for running-in again. Stepping the brickwork back as the end or corner is built is referred to as ‘racking back’ and is the most practical and common method of temporarily terminating brickwork. It allows it to be built on to later with no loss of strength where new brickwork meets old.
Brick for brick, when compared to running-in, building the ends or corners of walling is by far the most time-consuming aspect of bricklaying, because such care and attention must be given to levelling, plumbing up and ranging in every brick, to ensure accuracy. Accordingly, it is a false economy to set up large, high corners, as a disproportionate amount of time will be wasted on such activities. It is much more efficient in terms of time to build two or three small corners rather than one big one, as more time will be spent on the faster task of running-in. There are a number of methods for ensuring the accurate construction of corners and running-in, but first it is necessary to address issues of gauge, level and plumb.