Demolition operative | Selby College
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Demolition operative

Demolition operatives dismantle buildings and structures, remove hazardous materials, and carry out salvage operations.

Potential salary

£14,000 to £30,000

Employment by 2024


Working hours

42 to 44 a week

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of maths
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Your tasks will depend on your role, and you could work as a:

  • labourer – preparing the site, putting up rails and safety screens, laying dustsheets and separating out re-usable building materials after demolition
  • mattockman or mattockwoman – stripping out fittings, removing doors and windows, dismantling roof structures
  • topman or topwoman – doing all the tasks of the others as well as cutting steel framework at heights, stripping off fragile roofs and instructing others in safe demolition practices

You might use:

  • tools like hammer drills and oxyacetylene cutting equipment
  • plant machinery
  • explosives
  • crane-mounted industrial magnets to recover metals
  • burners to incinerate materials
  • crushers to put concrete slabs through to make aggregate for road building
  • specialist equipment to safely remove hazardous materials like asbestos and toxic chemicals

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work on a construction site.

Your working environment may be physically demanding.

With further training, you could specialise in a particular demolition method, like explosives.

With experience you could progress into site supervision and management.

You can find out more about working in demolition from Go Construct.

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