A demolition operative knocks down or dismantles buildings and other structures safely and clears debris from the site.
You could be:
preparing and clearing the demolition site
dismantling roof structures and cladding
cutting steel framework
stripping out fittings, doors and windows
using tools such as hammer drills or operating plant machinery
sorting the bricks, slates, stone and other materials according to their grade or use
preparing structures for explosive demolition
specialising in work like removing asbestos.
The figures below are only a guide. Pay rates vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of your company
the demand for the job.
There is a minimum wage for apprentices in Scotland. As of June 2022 the Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) rates for a 2-year apprenticeship based on a 39-hour week are:
Year 1 – £219.87 (£5.64 an hour)
Year 2 – £292.61 (£7.50 an hour).
Please note these rates may vary if the Apprentice is 21 years old or over and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship. National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will apply.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2022 the National Minimum Wage is £6.83 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £9.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage is £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over. With experience this can rise to over £12.00 an hour. If you have to live away from home you may get a lodging allowance.
You work outdoors in all weathers.
The environment can be dirty, noisy and dusty.
You work at heights and face hazardous situations.
Jobs are often on a contract basis, for a few weeks or months at a time.
You travel to different sites and live away from home.
The working day starts early and depends on the hours of daylight.
You often work overtime, including evenings and weekends.
There is heavy lifting.
You wear safety gear: hard hat, protection goggles, safety boots, gloves, respirators and ear defenders.
There are no formal entry requirements, although some employers ask for subjects at National 4 or 5 including English, Maths and a science or technological subject.
If aged under 18, you are likely to start by working on a building site as a labourer or general construction operative. (See the General Construction Operative job profile).
You must be over 18 to work on site as a demolition operative.
Many people enter through a Modern Apprenticeship in Construction Specialist.
You could study the Foundation Apprenticeship in Construction (SCQF Level 4 or 5) in S3-S6, which can help to get into a relevant Modern Apprenticeship.
You may have to sit an aptitude test as part of the application process.
You need a Certificate of Competence for Demolition Operatives (CCDO) which is linked to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) to work on most sites.
A driving licence is useful and is sometimes necessary.
There are opportunities with large building contractors, specialist demolition firms and local authorities.
What Does it Take?
to be able to follow strict health and safety rules
a head for heights, good co-ordination and balance
the ability to follow instructions
an understanding of construction methods
team working skills
good practical skills
to be reliable.
Training during an apprenticeship is mainly on the job with off the job training at college. You would work towards SVQ Demolition (Construction): Demolition or Plant at SCQF Level 5.
You would normally complete health and safety training covering: preventing accidents, manual handling, noise control and fire prevention and control.
You have to pass a health and safety test in demolition or demolition and plant.
After the SVQ and at least two years' experience, you could progress to demolition topman. Your extra duties would be preparing the site, stripping out windows, fixtures and fittings, cutting steel frameworks at heights, and showing others safe demolition practices.
With further experience and training, you can move up to demolition chargehand, which is a management level position.
You could study part time for an HNC in Construction Management.
You could then progress to site supervision or management with further study.
You could do a short course to specialise in asbestos removal or explosives.
For more information please see the list of organisations below: