From a bricklayer’s point of view a mortar should be ‘fatty’ – in other words, it should handle well without being sticky, spread easily and set at the right pace to allow time to finish the joints in all weather conditions. If a mortar satisfies all these requirements it is said to have ‘workability’. Harsh mortars with low workability slow down the bricklaying
process and reduce a bricklayer’s output. Picking up and spreading the mortar is more difficult, as is placing the cross-joints on the ends of bricks – harsh mortars tend to have poor adhesion and will fall away from the brick and/or trowel. Workability is much improved by the addition of plasticizers or lime to the mix. In achieving ‘workability’ a number of other factors must not be overlooked.