installing a bathroom exhaust vent through brick facade

Hi, First a little background: Our house, a raised ranch, was built in 1967 and the developer of this area was well known for cheapness and taking a lot of short cuts. The only good part is that all the owners are in the same boat and, as we share stories of remodeling surprises, it builds a bit of neighborhood camaraderie.
We want to do a minor remodel of our downstairs bathroom, mainly the bath surround and exhaust. The surround was put on regular drywall which wasn't a good idea as in the past decades the drywall has been breaking down. You can press on the surround and the wall behind it is soft. We want the drywall replaced with waterproof board (greenboard right?) and a new surround put in. Now the current bathroom ceiling exhaust set-up is incredibly dumb - the duct work runs 5 feet in the ceiling (toward the middle of the house) and then stops. It doesn't exhaust anywhere but in the floor joists (you should have seen the open mouthed, WTF faces when we figured that out). The exhaust fan is about 4 feet from an exterior wall that has a brick facade. One of our neighbors told us that we will have to run ductwork from the exhaust to the wooden facade side of the house (about 15 feet) since, in his opinion, it's too difficult to go through brick. I'm not too keen on that for many reasons. We would have to run the ductwork under the ceiling (unless we wanted to open up the drywall ceiling and cut into the joists since the direction of the duct is perpendicular to the joists) cutting through two interior walls, building drywall boxes around the ductwork and my gut feeling is that having a 15 foot horozontal duct is inefficient and perhaps hard on the exhaust fan motor.
Next week we are having a two recommended bathroom remodeling contractors come and look at this. I, however, want to gather as much information as I can beforehand. The brick and mortar is in excellent shape (we raise a toast to that long ago worker who did competent work despite the developer's urging to slap it together). Since this is a raised ranch, the exhaust vent would come out at about 4 feet above ground. So how hard is it to cut a rectangular opening through brick facade? Would installing an exhaust vent through brick be huge, medium or no problem at all for a competent carpenter? Does this require some sort of special worker/tool and is it unsually expensive? Is there risk of causing damage to the surrounding brick?
Thanks in advance for all advice and commentary.
Chris in hot yet still lovely Ithaca, NY
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I don't think you need worry about the small hole in the brick. A competent mason or general contractor should be able to remove the few brick required for the vent. Check the duct size against the brick wall, and you'll see how few ricks need to come out. I would think you want to make sure the wall behind the brick is well sealed. Bricks and joints in brickwork are not water tight.
I'll bet you can hardly wait for the snow.
TB
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Thanks for the comments. I figured that putting a vent through brick might be tricky but not impossible if you know what you're doing. How does one check if the wall behind brick is well sealed? I suspect it's OK. We owned a "rubble built" two story limestone house in Pittsburgh and from that experience I learned a little bit about the signs of stone & mortar trouble. The brick & mortar on this house look good and I've never seen any indication of water infiltration inside or out.
A high pressure front came through and the humidity dropped. The haze is gone and the skies are clear and crisp. I don't mind temps in the 80s now. I showshoe and my SO cross-country skis (did the Canadian Ski Marathon last year) so yes, we can't wait for the snow.
Chris in lovely Ithaca, NY
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