Install rigid block surfaces

Business Sectors (Suites): Horticulture
Developed by: Lantra
Approved on: 31 Jan 2019


This standard is for those who install rigid block surfaces. 

This standard is one of a series of six aimed at those who install the various forms of hardstanding surfaces that are used within the landscaping industries.

This standard is targeted at operatives working under limited supervision and focuses on the skills required both to understand the structure and to undertake the installation of hard surfaces while working to specifications.

You will be expected to understand the impact of the installation on the immediate environment, and the impact of the environment on the structure.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. assess the risks associated with the site and the proposed work
  2. select, prepare and use tools and equipment for the installation of rigid block surfaces, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protective equipment (RPE) safely and correctly
  3. keep damage, unnecessary waste, unwanted impact on the environment and pollution to a minimum
  4. set out for line and level
  5. place and prepare a suitable laying course lay rigid blocks by hand to a suitable pattern
  6. check completed rigid block surface for compliance and rectify any problems
  7. cut-in blocks to required standard
  8. fill and point joints to required finish
  9. maintain a clean surface, free from cement or mortar stains keep the site in a clean and tidy condition
  10. clean, maintain and store tools and equipment promptly and securely after installing rigid block surfaces
  11. protect working areas correctly against weather and use until they are in a suitable condition
  12. leave the site safe, tidy and suitable for intended use
  13. maintain working relations with all those involved in, or affected by, the installation of rigid block surfaces
  14. maintain communication with all those involved in, or affected by, your work
  15. carry out your work in accordance with relevant environmental and health and safety legislation, risk assessment requirements, codes of practice and organisational policies

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the weather conditions that are appropriate for installation of rigid block surfaces
  2. how to carry out a risk assessment for installation of rigid block surfaces and decide on safe working methods
  3. how to interpret rigid block surface installation specifications
  4. how to measure to ensure work is within tolerances
  5. how falls, lines and levels are determined and set out
  6. how to select and prepare the correct tools and equipment for the task, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
  7. how to use, maintain, clean and store the required tools and equipment safely and correctly
  8. use of cutting tools including splitter, saw and trimming tools
  9. the importance of dust-suppression and respiratory protective equipment (RPE) when using a cut-off saw
  10. the importance of edge restraints
  11. how to calculate the quantity of paving materials required
  12. how paving materials should be stored on-site, how they are delivered to the laying face, and how they are positioned for the laying operative
  13. the range of blocks available and their suitable applications
  14. how a rigid laying course is prepared, the working life of the bed material, and the importance of not preparing too large an area in advance of the laying face
  15. the range of block patterns commonly used on-site, their relative strengths and weaknesses, and how they are established
  16. the importance of mixing and randomising blocks from three or more packs prior to laying
  17. how surfaces are continuously checked for compliance to line, level, joint width and block competence during the laying process
  18. how cutting-in is achieved following the principles of minimum block size and inboard cutting techniques
  19. the importance of using the correct jointing material and its role in the performance of the completed surface
  20. the range of jointing materials available, how they are prepared, their working life and how they are used within rigid surfaces
  21. the importance of maintaining a clean and stain-free surface
  22. removal and replacement of defective blocks
  23. the importance of final compliance checks
  24. the importance of maintaining communication with those involved in, or affected by, your work and how this should be done
  25. the importance of following relevant environmental and ecological best practice to help minimise the impact of your work on the environment
  26. your responsibilities under relevant health and safety legislation, codes of practice and organisational policies


A.      select and use the following types of tools and equipment when installing rigid block surfaces:

  1. hand tools
  2. pointing/jointing tools and surface cleaning equipment
  3. guillotine splitters
  4. cut-off saws

B.      undertake the following construction tasks when installing rigid block surfaces:

  1. block laying
  2. cutting-in
  3. compaction
  4. compliance checks
  5. jointing
  6. lift and repair

C.      use the following types of material:

  1. conventional concrete blocks
  2. conventional clay blocks

D.      work with the following block patterns:

  1. stretcher/running bond
  2. 90° herringbone
  3. 45° herringbone

  4. basket weave

Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Block patterns:

  • stretcher/running bond
  • 90° herringbone
  • 45° herringbone
  • basketweave

Construction tasks:

  • block laying
  • cutting-in
  • compaction
  • compliance checks
  • jointing
  • lift and repair

Instructions: verbal or written.


  • conventional concrete blocks
  • conventional clay blocks

RPE: Respiratory Protective Equipment.

PPE: Personal Protective Equipment.

Specifications: drawings, schedules, method statements, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), manufacturers' guidelines, organisational policies.

Tools and equipment:

  • hand tools such as floats and trowels, brick/scutch hammers, paving hammer/maul/
  • mallet, block extractor, alignment bar, string lines, line pins
  • pointing/jointing tools and surface cleaning equipment
  • guillotine splitters
  • cut-off saws
  • appropriate PPE and RPE

Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

31 Jan 2024





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations


SOC Code



block; paving