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Brickies ‘earn more than architects’

Bricklaying raker

The average bricklayer earns 10 per cent more than the typical architect, according to new research

A poll of 320 members by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found that small builders across the UK were paying an average annual salary of £42,034 to brickies.

This compared with a median annual pay of £38,228 for architects across the UK stated by the Office for National Statistics in its draft 2017 earnings figures

Floorers, scaffolders and plasterers all earn more than architects, according to the FMB report. One firm was paying London bricklayers £90,000 a year.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: ‘Money talks and, when it comes to annual salaries, a career in construction trumps many university graduate roles.

‘The average university graduate in England earns £32,000 a year, whereas our latest research shows that your average bricky or roofer is earning £42,000 a year across the UK.

‘In London, a bricklayer is commanding wages of up to £90,000 a year. Pursuing a career in construction is therefore becoming an increasingly savvy move. ’

Average annual salaries:

  • Plumbers £48,675
  • Electricians earn £47,265
  • Civil engineering operatives £44,253
  • Steel fixers £44,174
  • Roofers £42,303
  • Bricklayers £42,034
  • Carpenters and joiners £41,413
  • Plasterers £41,045
  • Scaffolders £40,942
  • Floorers £39,131
  • Plant operatives £38,409
  • Architects £38,228**
  • Painters and decorators £34,587
  • General construction operatives £32,392.

Source: FMB poll of 320 members
**Median annual pay in latest (draft) ONS earnings figures


Readers' comments (15)

  • Taking into account the length of architectural training, the rewards seem even less appropriate.
    On the other hand, construction work can be tough, working outside, heavy lifting. Not many are still working at retirement age. Although they may have been able to retire early with the pay figures quoted.

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  • Now there's a campaign worth fighting for, terrible fees equalling terrible salaries.

    The RIBA actually seems to be promoting working for nothing judging by recent emails we've received which is surely counter to the code of conduct.

    It doesn't really stack up when you put this against promoting architecture as a career choice for those who don't have private incomes to sustain them or would simply like to be properly paid for all the effort we are expected to put in.

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  • Good to see that our hunch is finally being recognised as a reality.

    Sadly, what the study doesn't seem to take into account is the vast amounts of 'extra hours' that the typical architect works - which would undoubtedly make these figures seem even more bleak.

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    Well, that's what the construction industry values us at, so it must be right.

    It is pretty much undeniable that many architects create huge value for their clients, finding sites, working out what's possible, getting the planning approvals. -and then not getting paid appropriately if at all.
    However it is also undeniable that many contemporary 'master-builders' couldn't draw an efficient plan to save themselves, wouldn't know the cost of some pretty funky looking detail, and couldn't keep the rain out. Some people should just stop at the CGI stage and leave the building construction to others. That is a failure of training, both in the office and in the Architecture School, but it is also a failure of the feescales and creative artist's naivity.

    The RIBA should be actively involved in splitting the profession into two. Concepts and Buildings, and only a few firms should try and do both.
    The smaller, regional practices who are usually highly competent, should keep doing what they are doing and should form a union to protect themselves. The should know by now that the Institute won't help them.

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  • This is not an accurate reflection of remuneration. It takes 7-9 years to qualify with crushing debts. Then you are expected to work 10-25 extra hours per week. How often do brickies and electricians work past midnight? If they took that into account we'd be earning £15,000 / year.

    And yeah, working outside is tough. But sitting in a chair for 14 hours a day every day will kill you 10 years sooner.

    Forget the RIBA, join a union. This is NOT going to change until architects organize.

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  • We live in a mature capitalist society and the poor pay can only mean there are far too many architects and not enough work.

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  • Yeah, but brickies go home about 4pm, and don't normally get to work weekends without overtime. When did you ever see a brickie working till 7 or 8pm in winter?
    I know a gyprocker who is so dyslexic he is illiterate and he retired a millionaire in his early thirties. Great bloke.
    And a shearer, similar except he was literate and became an architect after retirement, had a successful partnership which sucked up his fortune and he retired broke.

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  • So after working hard at school, spending 7 years in higher education and a masters...I'm getting paid less than Bradley Web who left school without ever attending and his only achievement was removing his super-glued hand from his face.

    Who's the idiot now.

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  • There is a wider debate to be hard here, without it degenerating into general complaining about our life decisions. We are architects because frankly, it is a great way to spend your working career, if you don't feel the same, do something else.

    Architects have to want to change the situation, stop working for nothing, stop working extra hours without pay, stop working for clients that simply don't value what we do, walk away from clients who just want the cheapest price, so on and so forth. We are highly trained, talented professionals, we need to act together as a community to effect change. We also need to demonstrate why we're charging the fees we do and the associated value, instead of just deciding that we're more valuable than other professionals in the construction industry.

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  • Let's face it, architecture considers itself a third sector profession.

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