I read with interest the Brick Bulletin (13 June, page 83) and in particular David Szymanki's article (page 95).
He extols the virtues of brickwork and argues that there is no shortage of bricklayers in the UK. Although it may be true that there are sufficient bricklayers out there, what is clear is that the availability of well-managed, competent bricklaying gangs is at best patchy. The problem is really quite fundamental.

As a client, we want to purchase a product – a well-constructed brick wall. What we must purchase are bricks and sundries and, separately, the labour to construct the wall. Why is this still the case, when we can acquire other building elements on a supply-and-fix basis with an assurance of quality and deliverability?

The brick manufacturing industry really needs to tackle the needs of its clients and to supply a completed product. The BDA should campaign to encourage its members to train and employ bricklayers to the benefit of construction clients, the brick manufacturing industry, and the bricklayers themselves.

Alternatively, they could specify approved bricklaying gangs who meet certain standards.

If they fail to do this, despite the benefits of brickwork, their clients will increasingly choose to specify other methods of external cladding.