As a demolition operative you would demolish or dismantle old and derelict structures or buildings.
You could work in one of the following roles:
Labourer – preparing the site, putting up rails and safety screens, laying dustsheets and separating and recovering re-usable building materials after demolition
Mattockman/woman – stripping out fittings, removing doors and windows, dismantling roof structures
Topman/woman – all the tasks above as well as cutting steel framework at heights, stripping off fragile roofs and instructing others in safe demolition practices.
You would use tools such as hammer drills, oxyacetylene cutting equipment, plant machinery and explosives.
You might also use crane-mounted industrial magnets to recover metals, and put concrete slabs through crushers.
You would follow strict health and safety regulations at all times, and you would also be trained in the safe removal of hazardous materials like asbestos and toxic chemicals.
You could expect to work in all weather conditions, and the work can be dirty and dusty.
You would always wear protective clothing on site.
You might use specialist equipment, ie, breathing apparatus when removing asbestos or a safety harness when working at heights.
Your employer would usually provide you with induction and safety training, covering areas such as control of asbestos and lead, accident prevention, electrical safety, fire prevention and control, and demolition regulations
Work will involve travel from site to site and may include overnight stays.
You would work a basic 39-hour week but you may be required to work overtime and weekends.
Trainees can earn around £12,500 a year. With qualifications, this can rise to between £13,000 and £18,000. Experienced operatives can earn up to £23,000 a year.
Demolition operatives may earn much more for specialist duties, such as operating plant machinery or using explosives.
Overtime and various allowances could also increase income.
Although there are no set entry requirements to become a demolition operative, a background in general construction, as a labourer or tradesperson, may be helpful when looking for work.
You could apply for jobs directly with demolition contractors. Some employers may ask for GCSEs in maths, English, and design and technology, or equivalent qualifications.
You may be able to get into this career by completing a demolition operative apprenticeship, offered by CITB-Construction Skills.
If you are under 18, you would be trained as a construction plant operative, as you would need to be at least 18 to work as a demolition operative.
l For more information about the apprenticeship and general information on construction careers and qualifications visit the ConstructionSkills website.