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Demolition operative

Demolition operatives dismantle unsafe or obsolete buildings and structures. They strip out fittings, remove hazardous materials and salvage anything that can be reused, before employing tools, machines or explosives to demolish a structure.

Average salary*




Typical hours per week


How to become a demolition operative

While there are no formal qualifications needed to become a demolition operative, there are several routes you could take to help you pursue this career. You could complete a college course or an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer for work. 

You should explore these routes to becoming a demolition operative, to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.


To help you become a demolition operative, you could complete a college course, such as a Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills, Level 2 Diploma in Construction Operations or Level 3 Diploma in Demolition.

You'll need:

  • Up to 2 GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent (level 1 course)
  • 2 - 4 GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent (level 2 course)
  • 4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent (level 3 course).

> Equivalent entry requirements explained

> Find a course near you

> Funding advice


If you are over 18, you could complete a demolition operative intermediate apprenticeship to help you on your career path. If you are under 18, you could become a plant operative apprenticeship and move into demolition training once you reach 18.

You’ll need 2 - 3 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent for an intermediate apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

> Find an apprenticeship near you

> Guide to apprenticeships


You may be able to find work as a construction labourer and, if you are over 18, your employer may help you train to become a demolition operative.

Alternatively, if you already have experience as a labourer, you could apply directly to an employer for a job as a demolition operative. You may need some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths, or equivalent qualifications, for this.

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a demolition operative. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

> Find out more about work experience


Desirable skills and personal qualities for a demolition operative include: 

  • Ability to work thoroughly and pay attention to detail
  • Knowledge of public safety and security 
  • Ability to use your initiative
  • Knowledge of maths
  • Able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or similar.

What does a demolition operative do?

As a demolition operative you will be responsible for helping to clear a site ready for a new construction project. This could involve working with hammers, drills, or explosive.

The job role of a demolition operative involves the following duties:

  • Working closely with demolition topmen, who prepare sites for demolition.
  • Stripping out fittings, removing doors and windows, dismantling roof structures, cutting steel framework, stripping off fragile roofs and instructing others on safe demolition practices.
  • Using hammer drills, oxyacetylene cutting equipment and plant machinery. 
  • Preparing a structure for explosive demolition.  
  • Following strict health and safety regulations at all times
  • safely removing hazardous materials like asbestos and toxic chemicals
  • Planning, overseeing and reviewing the demolition of buildings and structures
  • Managing the project team throughout the process
  • Advising on the work being done
  • Making sure health, safety and environment requirements are being met
  • Looking after the administration of contracts
  • Looking after the financial control 
  • Managing sub-contractor governance
  • Looking after the daily on-site management of other construction workers
  • This role involves working outdoors and in all conditions.
  • It’s often dirty and dusty and is occasionally at height and may work longer hours over the summer months

How much could you earn as a demolition operative?

The expected salary for a demolition operative varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained demolition operatives can earn £17,000 - £20,000
  • Trained demolition operatives with some experience can earn £20,000 - £30,000
  • Senior demolition operatives can earn £30,000 - £45,000.*

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Check out the latest demolition operative vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

With further training and experience you could specialise in a particular type of demolition, such as explosives.

Alternatively, you could move into a supervisory or managerial role and oversee work on a construction site. 

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

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