Regarding residential construction, I've always believed that when bricking up and around openings, such as doors and windows, you should use a bat and a 3_4 brick versus any piece smaller than the width of the unit. My colleagues, however, think that the correct way is to cut the piece no matter how short it is as small as 1 inch, for example. They contend that using a 1_2 and a 3_4 brick changes the bond pattern and, for that reason, is wrong. What do you think?
In my opinion, your approach is better. Using a small bat at a window jamb is far more noticeable than a small modification in the bond pattern. Also, if significantly smaller than the width of a unit, the bat may crack free and fall from the wall over time because there is very little mortar to hold it in place. If the coursing is just slightly off, it may be possible to make up the difference by widening head joints. In other cases, to adjust the coursing, you may need to use several units in a row that are cut down to 3_4 size. In any case, you always should consult the architect or owner before making any decisions that affect aesthetics. The best way to avoid this problem is to select windows and doors for which the recommended rough opening is consistent with the module of the masonry units you are using. In other words, for a standard modular brick, the width of the rough opening should be an increment of 4 inches plus an additional 3_8 inch to account for the head joint. The height of the rough opening should be an increment of 22_3 inches. In this case, the lintel angle occupies the space of the mortar joint.