Demolition operative

Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would safely demolish and dismantle old and derelict structures and buildings. You’d responsibly remove hazardous materials like asbestos so buildings are safe for people to use.

You’d remove items from a building or structure for salvage or recycling so they can be re-used.

As a labourer you would:

  • Prepare the site
  • Put up rails and safety screens
  • Lay dustsheets
  • Separate out re-usable building materials after demolition

As a mattockman / mattockwoman you would:

  • Strip out fittings
  • Remove doors and windows
  • Dismantle roof structures

A topman/topwoman does all of the same tasks. In this role you would also:

  • Cut steel framework at heights
  • Strip off fragile roofs
  • Instruct others in safe demolition practices

You would use tools like hammer drills, oxyacetylene cutting equipment, plant machinery and explosives.

You might also use crane-mounted industrial magnets to recover metals and burners to incinerate materials. You would put concrete slabs through crushers to make aggregate for building roads.

You would follow strict health and safety regulations at all times. You’d use your training to remove of hazardous materials like asbestos and toxic chemicals safely. A knowledge of construction methods will help you to take down buildings safely.

Working conditions

Hours

You would work a basic 39-hour week, but you may be required to work overtime and weekends

Environment

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, for example breathing apparatus when removing asbestos, or a safety harness when working at heights.

Travel

Work will involve travel from site to site and this may include overnight stays away from home.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Following instructions
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

Entry varies for the three different types of work:

  • There are no formal qualifications required to become a labourer but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.
  • Entry as a mattockman or mattockwoman would require two years experience, knowledge of demolition and some units from Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Demolition (Construction): Demolition or Plant level 2 (SCQF level 5).
  • As a topman or topwoman you would be expected to have at least two years' experience, extensive knowledge of demolition and completed the SVQ level 2 (SCQF level 5).

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Practical technologies subjects

You will also need

  • To be at least 18 years old. 
  • To be physically fit with good eyesight and hearing

You will need a Certificate of Competence for Demolition Operatives (CCDO). This is linked to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) to work on most sites. 

You may have to take an aptitude test before entry.

 

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show an understanding of construction and practical skills, such as Skills for Work Construction Engineering (SCQF level 3) or Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5).

A driving licence can be useful. 

It is also useful to not have dust allergies.