A career in demolition

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Kevin Rogers is one of a team of demolition operatives working in Halifax.

What does your job involve?

I am a qualified and skilled machine operator. I operate large machinery known as plant, safely taking down buildings piece by piece as efficiently as possible.

How do you spend your day?

The day starts with a briefing from my site supervisor or site manager who tells me what the job is going to entail that day, and he gives me instructions as to how to carry out the task. I work under the supervision of the site supervisor or manager, operating the plant alongside the other demolition operatives. The plant I use includes an excavator and a telescopic handler. We make sure that we are demolishing each building in line with industry guidelines so that everything is done safely and to a high standard.

Is your demolition job dangerous?

To a degree, all building, construction and demolition work is classed as dangerous. However, I always follow the company's health and safety rules, all plant is tested to demolition specifications on a regular basis, and all sites are run in accordance with the current health and safety regulations. I also wear personal protective equipment such as a high-visibility jacket, safety helmet and gloves.

What is your work environment like?

My working environment differs with each job, as I move around from site to site. The majority of my time is spent outdoors, which means I have to be able to work in all weather conditions.

What qualities and skills do you need?

You need to be reliable, adaptable and conscientious. You also need to interact well with colleagues and everyone else on site, as you all need to work well as a team.

Why did you choose this career in demolition?

I chose this career because I like working outdoors and in different locations. I have always enjoyed anything to do with the construction industry and driving machinery. I like working as part of a team.

What training have you undertaken?

I followed a Construction Industry Training Board Apprenticeship and gained my Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) card. The CPCS is a highly recognised scheme in the plant industry and the card helps to prove to employers my operating skills and health and safety awareness. I even gained the title of Demolition Apprentice of the Year 2004. I have also got an emergency first aid certificate. Apart from the formal training, I lean something new every day in my job.

What do you find challenging?

When my company buys new machinery, I have to learn to drive and operate it. This can be challenging because the controls are unfamiliar and I need to adapt to them.

What do you dislike about your job?

I enjoy most aspects of my work, but obviously it is better to work outdoors in the spring and summer than in the winter.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to have my own demolition business one day.

Kevin's route to working in demolition

  • GCSEs
  • Agricultural mechanics course at college
  • Worked as a mechanic
  • Construction Industry Training Board Apprenticeship in Demolition

Kevin's tips

  • Be enthusiastic and motivated
  • Believe in your own abilities

Demolition related jobs

Salary of a demolition worker

  • There are nationally recommenced minimum rates of pay for demolition operatives.
  • New entrants on minimum rates earn about £12,000.
  • Experienced demolition operatives on minimum rates earn about £18,000.
  • Senior operatives on minimum rates earn about £20,000.
  • Demolition operatives may earn more with overtime pay and may get extra payments for operating plant.

Getting in

  • Formal qualifications are not essential for this work, but some GCSEs/S grades (A-D/1-4) can be useful, including maths, English, science subjects, and design and technology.
  • Entrants need to be at least 18. People under 18 can train initially as construction plant operative. Also, a demolition operative Apprenticeship, run by CITB-Construction Skills, is available for entrants aged 16 and above.
  • All demolition operatives must be assessed for competence. They need to do safety training, and reach the required standard in a health and safety test. They also need to pass an operator test to gain a red (trained plant operator) CPCS card and be able to operate plant on site. This can be converted to a blue (competent plant operator) CPCS card with further experience and qualifications.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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