Types and uses of mortars used for brick and block work

The purpose of training against this standard is to provide candidates with an overview of the different mortar types and uses used in masonry.

CITB has developed this standard in discussion with industry


Minimum 3 learning hours


The purpose of training against this standard is to provide candidates with an overview of the different mortar types and uses used in masonry.

The scope includes:

  • An introduction to the general considerations when selecting mortar, including appearance, structural requirements, type of construction and position, exposure, compatibility
  • Specification
  • Prescribed mortars and designed mortars 
  • Defects and hazards when mortar is not mixed correctly 
  • Different joint profiles 
  • Mortar components
  • Workability and performance
  • Mortar types
  • Mortar storage and delivery
  • How to follow manufactures’ instructions on proportions 
  • Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH) and health & safety
  • Traditional lime mortars

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard would be relevant to the following occupational groups:

  • operative and craft
  • supervision.

Candidate pre-requisites

There are no candidate pre-requisites as part of this standard. However, a basic knowledge of masonry terminology and techniques would be beneficial.


As a minimum, course instructors must be able to demonstrate that, in relation to this standard, they have:

  • A train the trainer or instructional techniques course certificate
  • Successfully completed training to this standard 
  • At least 2 years relevant industrial experience
  • A verifiable CV.


Delivery may be in an on or off the job environment.

All materials and equipment must be of a suitable quality and quantity for candidates to achieve learning outcomes, and must comply with relevant legislation.

The class size and candidate/instructor ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable candidates to achieve the learning outcomes.

The following delivery methods may be used in the delivery of this standard:

  • classroom.

This standard is considered to contain 51 per cent or more theoretical training.


For the successful completion of training, the trainer will be required to make a declaration of the learner’s contribution during the course and that they are confident the learner has understood the content of the course.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance against this standard will require initial approval of the training organisation and their content mapped to the standard. 

CITB will also conduct an approval intervention, either desk-based or centre visit, to ensure the training organisation can meet the requirements of the training standard. 

Approved training organisations (ATOs) will be required to present information on records of training and assessment upon request to CITB for desk-based analysis. They will also be visited annually by the CITB quality assurance team.


There are no mandatory renewal or recommended refreshment requirements for this standard.

Approval date

November 2018

Review cycle

Either on request or in 3 years from approval date.

Learning outcomes

The candidate will be able to


Additional guidance to support learning outcome


Identify the general considerations when specifying mortar

See the BDA publication Mortar for brickwork

List the different joint profiles and describe the desired look and application methods for each


Name the mortar components


Describe what admixtures are and what they are used for


Identify different mortar types


Discuss lime mortar use including what the differences are between hydraulic and non-hydraulic limes


Identify the hazards when using lime mortars


Discuss mortar storage including; ready to use wet mortars, ready to use dry mortars, silo types


Additional information about this standard

It is recommended that candidates use a copy of Mortar for brickwork when training to this standard

This standard was written by the Association of Brickwork Contractors who deliver training against this standard through the ABC Assessment Centre. 

Any guidance or support with training to this standard can be sought from the Association of Brickwork Contractors and the Brick Development Association.