10 Construction and Demolition Career Myths

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Modern worksites can be known to induce stress, especially when one pops up in your neighborhood. Early morning hammering, clouds of dust in the air, the possibility of asbestos, a lack of parking on your street, and the question: When will it be over?

However for centuries, construction and demolition have been a necessity in order for communities and civilizations to thrive and survive. Landmark, skillful feats of construction are traceable through both literature and time. According to The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, by Richard Diven and Michael Taylor:

When the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the remains of Homer’s Troy, he found it was the seventh city built on the same site. In the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, it was a common practice for the new ruler to tear down edifices built by his or her predecessor and to reuse the material to build a new palace or tomb. Portions of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England were recycled to build housing and commercial structures in Newcastle and other towns in the region.

Nowadays, a career in construction management boasts a median salary of about $83,000, according to the most recent numbers crunched in 2012 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction managers and demolition teams are sharply skilled workers and here are a handful of facts that bust the stereotypes about careers in construction and demolition.

Construction Workers Don’t Just Stand around All Day

What does a construction manager actually do? The daily grind is not just hammering a nail. In fact, the large expanse of tasks for this career holder may surprise you. The construction manager plans, organizes, directs, controls and evaluates a project from beginning to end—all while knowing and maintaining the budget and defined schedule. The manager also hires and supervises the responsibilities of everyone including subcontractors and subordinates.

Construction Workers Are Skilled Laborers

To become a construction manager, one typically needs to accrue a degree in civil engineering or construction technology; several years of hands-on experience in the construction field; and even hours clocked as a construction supervisor or field superintendent. Depending on the position, there may also be a requisite for a master’s degree in project management.

Construction Managers Are Skilled in the Art of Negotiation

As a leader, an effective, talented construction manager understands the need to communicate well with partners. Transparent, even-keeled conversations are necessary and help when negotiating contracts or revisions, which take place with architects, consultants, clients, suppliers and subcontractors.

There’s More to C&D than Constructing and Demolishing

Jobs in construction and demolition go beyond just building structures and then knocking them down. A recent report from the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association states the field ofconstruction and demolition recycling has added an estimated 19,000 jobs in 2012, and a direct annual output of $7.4 billion, not to mention numerous benefits to the environment.

Construction Requires a High Level of Self Motivation  

More than half—54 percent—of construction managers are self-employed, according to Student Scholarships. Meaning, on top of their skills, many have the motivated mindset of a savvy business owner, of which, self-direction is mandatory in order to succeed.

Construction Management is Steady

About only 2 percent of construction managers are unemployed, compared to nearly triple that percentage for other occupations, according to Student Scholarships.

Construction and Demolition is Strategic

When a large pile of rubbish suddenly stands where a building once stretched, it was done strategically: “Safe and efficient building demolition requires careful planning,” according to The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice.

Demolition is More than Just Blasting Down Walls

In addition to making room for new structures, demolition encompasses the rehabilitation of existing structures and creating new ones from existing materials.

Half of Projects Involve Demolition

You may not think that you see demolition often, but it’s all around town from an office building down the street that’s being gutted for new apartments, to the removal of rundown houses. In fact, architects now work specifically on demolition work for nearly half their projects, according to the trends of a survey noted in The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice.
All in all, construction and demolition requires crucial, important skills and are highly respected careers that are not for the faint of mind.