You know when you want something new, you have to get rid of the old useless junk first. It’s a process, but in the end it’s totally worth it. It’s the same in the world of construction. Demolition workers are professional destroyers.
Demolition workers tear down buildings and structures using explosives, heavy machinery, and manpower. In crowded urban environments, it’s often necessary to demolish things and start over from scratch.
A demolition worker salvages anything of value, destroys anything that’s worthless, and cleans up in preparation for the next architectural wonder.
Demolition makes space for new things. By destroying urban decay, condemned apartment buildings, fire damaged silos, bankrupt factories, asbestos and mold infested government offices, rotting piers, outdated casinos, and unsafe bridges. It allows for new neighborhoods, street side cafes, state of the art schools, luxury apartments, trendy casinos, or open spaced parks to be built. The destructive process leads to rebuilding that adds value to the community.
Building things is rewarding, but demolishing them is breathtaking. It’s amazing watching a wrecking ball swing though a wall, nailing an old chimney with a sledgehammer, or setting off an implosion with dynamite. It’s satisfying to see things crash to the ground, especially when you are getting paid for it. Like the sound of it? Don’t miss pyrotechnic jobs on JobMonkey.
Demolition is dangerous work and safety precautions must be taken. Explosives and heavy machinery are used to send bits and pieces of hard, sharp debris flying through the air. It’s a noisy job that often takes place in nasty conditions. Anytime explosives are involved it’s dangerous, but when you add in crumpling high-rise buildings it’s an even more hazardous.
The first step of demolition is realizing what you are working with. Buildings can be made of lumber, brick, concrete, metal, or even rock. Often there are useful things still in the buildings. The demolition team enters the building and guts it of anything that could be recycled like steel beams. Then they plan how to destroy the useless junk.
Demolition crews establish a perimeter or safe zone around the area. This is the area that must be maintained for ground control – keeping curious citizens out of the way of flying debris. They need to know local laws related to demolition procedures. This will dictate how the building will be taken down.
Most buildings are taken down using sledgehammers, axes, reciprocating saws, shovels, picks, and sheer strength. This is the best way to preserve valuable pieces, like bricks, for resale. A quicker method is to use heavy machinery. A crane operator will swing a wrecking ball through the building crushing anything in its path. Then bulldozers and gravity can finish off the rest.
When explosives are involved, a licensed blaster drills strategically placed holes in the building. The holes are filled with dynamite and this causes the structure to implode. Blasters know all about what kind and how much explosive to use, and where to put it. They are the ones who make the building go boom.
To get started as a demolition worker you may need to join a union.
All training is on the job. Most people get into demolition as helpers first. They connect wires and fuses and learn about explosives until they earn a state issued blaster’s license.
Demolition workers find work with demolition companies or wrecking and blasting contractors. The most, and highest paid work is in crowded, urban areas where there is less available land to be built on. On average a demolition worker can make about $36,000 a year for totally destroying things.
Does ripping things down, blowing them up, and obliterating buildings and structures into smithereens sound like fun? It is. You should try it.
Quick Facts About Demolition Work
Job Title: Demolition Expert
Description: Demolishes and cleans up structures using machines, explosives, or by hand
Certifications/Education: Blasters License
Necessary Skills: Strong, Knowledgeable about explosives
Potential Employers: Demolition Companies, Wrecking Contractors, Blasting Contractors
Pay: $36,000 per year