Construction - HNC

UCAS Code:
Direct online application.
Part Time (2 years)
September 2016, September 2017
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Offering expert training for technologists in the design, production and management of buildings, and providing advanced entry to our associated degrees, this course has flexibility, practical focus and professional respect.

Giving you a broad introduction to the building industry, our Construction HNC offers a route towards a range of construction industry roles.

The skills you gain are very much in demand and graduates of the School have secured roles with major engineering and construction companies such as Laing O'Rourke, Currie and Brown, Taylor Wimpey, Thomas Vale Construction, an overseas Ministry of Public Works and Birmingham International Airport.

What's covered in the course?

Offering expert training for technologists in the design, production and management of buildings, this construction course has a practical focus and professional respect.

You’ll gain a sound understanding of the technical, legal and scientific principles of construction. Seminars and lectures are backed up by construction site visits which will bring your studies to life.

Students have even had opportunities to work as part of a project management team putting together a development brief for work on an actual site. 

Our close links with industry provide valuable connections. Student awards sponsored by Thomas Vale give you a chance to stand out and gain recognition.

Throughout your course, you’ll be supported by expert staff who have professional experience and in-depth insight. They’ve worked on multi-million pound housing and commercial developments and have excellent working knowledge of the construction industry.

You’ll benefit from having access to both state-of-the-art digital facilities and traditional resources. Using advanced CAD software, surveying equipment and a computer-generated virtual building site, you get accustomed to the technology used in industry.

Our city centre location is an inspirational place to learn. Being based near to construction sites as Birmingham develops presents fantastic opportunities to gain experience and contacts.

Why Choose Us?

  • Satisfying professional body requirements, the course places you in typical working situations, giving you vital experience.
  • Using advanced CAD software, surveying equipment and a computer-generated virtual building site, you get accustomed to the technology used in industry. When you enter your career, you’ll have the skills that give you a competitive advantage.
  • You’ll benefit from the invaluable industry insight of staff and guest speakers who have worked on major projects and developments.
  • You have the chance to take part in student awards with big name sponsors such as Thomas Vale. These give you the chance to gain recognition and make contacts which could prove beneficial in your future career.
  • Studying on a day-release, one day per week basis, you can build your course work around your working commitments.
  • • If you then proceed on to one of our Built Environment BSc courses, the average starting salary of a School of Engineering and the Built Environment graduate is £24,000 (DLHE 2012/13).
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Open Day - 19 November 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 19 November 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

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Young Innovator Prize

Young Innovator Prize 2017

Planning to study an Engineering undergraduate course with us? You could have the cost of your tuition fees covered in full. Register your interest, apply for a September 2017 start and you could be successful.

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*Terms and Conditions apply

This course is open to International students

School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Discover the School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Entry Requirements

UK students
Typical qualifications

220 points from at least one A Level, together with a grade C GCSE in English and Mathematics.

BTEC National Certificate/BTEC National Diploma in Construction or a related discipline.

Other qualifications and applications from mature students with relevant experience of at least three years will also be considered.

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

From at least one A Level

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
HNC Sep 2016 PT 2 years £775 per 15 credits
Sep 2017 PT 2 years TBC

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Guidance for UK/EU applicants

To apply, please complete the online application form using the link above.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

Guidance for international students

There are two ways for international students to apply:


Direct to the University – using our International Application Form.
If you need help, please email your questions to us at International Enquiries.


Through a country representative – find a representative in your country.
They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

Additional costs

You will need to pay a BTEC registration fee when you enrol. There are no additional compulsory costs for this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

Design Principles and Application
15 credits
Science and Materials
15 credits
Construction and Maintenance of Buildings
15 credits
Law and Contract Specialist
15 credits

Year two

Management Principles and Application Specialist
15 credits
Group Project Core
20 credits
Health, Safety and Welfare
15 credits
Research Projects or Work-based Learning and Assessment
15 credits

The course provides a solid grounding for a range of key professions within the construction industry. It is particularly useful in providing a transition between A Levels or National Levels to a degree course. You’ll be assessed through coursework, presentations, reports and exams and you'll develop your strong technical base, underpinning knowledge and understanding of the principles of construction, whether they are technical, legal or scientific.

The course will also provide a clear foundation for a range of key professions within the construction industry. The course is particularly useful in providing a transition between A Levels and National Levels to a degree programme of study. Evidence of the Construction Industry Council’s Common Learning Outcomes is paramount to your success in this course.

There are opportunities for field trips to construction sites around the Midlands and specialist seminars. This is particularly important if you are from a non-building background. For the award of the HNC, you must pass the four core units plus four other units, making eight in total.

Course breakdown

Year 1

Guided by our expert staff, you’ll study units to help you in your work role as either ‘Design’ or ‘Production’. The Design stream consists of Architectural, Building Control, Building Surveying and Property and Construction students. The Production stream consists of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management students. You’ll study three core units: Design Principles and Application, Science and Materials, Management Principles and Applications, and Group Project. You’ll also study specialist areas such as Technology and Law and Contract, selecting second year modules with your role in mind.

Year 2

Studying three core units and one specialist unit, you’ll gain more in-depth knowledge. You’ll be required to produce a portfolio of evidence for your learning. You’ll also take part in a group project, developing your teamwork, something Harvir Singh found invaluable: “It brings into reality what would be expected of professionals in the construction industry in work based situations and shows the importance of communication and teamwork.”

Students who wish to gain advanced entry on to one of the degree courses will be guided on what they need to do to progress.

Student stories – Luke Eversham


Luke was impressed with the practical elements of his HNC course.

He was awarded the Thomas Vale Prize for Outstanding Student of the Year and he believes it was a great acknowledgement of how students can succeed with this practical approach.

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further Study

Successful HNC students generally choose to progress to one of the six degree courses – architectural technology, building surveying, construction management, quantity surveying, and real estate and study either part-time or full-time. To do this, you will need to obtain Merit grades for your Higher National Certificate.

You will be encouraged to progress to one of a range of undergraduate programmes within the School. This would typically be to 2nd year full-time or 3rd year part-time (Level 5) in:

  • BSc Quantity Surveying
  • BSc Building Surveying
  • BSc Construction Quantity Surveying
  • BSc Property and Construction
  • BSc Architectural Technology.

Enhancing your employability skills

This is a part-time course intended generally for employed students, however when you study with us you’ll learn key aspects of the building industry that will help your promotion prospects, learning underlying concepts and principles to help you see the relationship between theory and practice.

You’ll learn how to use industry equipment and software, including CAD and surveying equipment. You’ll also have access to a virtual building site, giving you experience of real life scenarios.  Problem based learning scenarios based upon a real site will have developed your understanding of areas including surveying, design, construction, budget, health and safety, and management projects.

Awards and company links provide great opportunities. Student Luke Eversham won the HNC Thomas Vale Award for Outstanding Student of the Year. The recognition strengthens his CV, showing how he applied the theory he learnt in class to industrial work. Josh Prescott won the Best Student Prize in Birmingham City Council’s excellence awards and has now gone on to study a Construction Management BSc.

The course gives you a strong understanding of the construction process and types of construction methods used and the environmental, social and economic factors which influence changes in building design and usage for new build.

You’ll develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills. With group project work and individual tasks, you’ll learn how to work effectively and efficiently either on your own or as part of a team.


The delivery of the course is complemented by a range of visits to construction sites where you will be able to appreciate theory in context.

On completion of the Construction HNC, you can normally progress to the third year of an appropriate five-year part-time degree course or to the second year of an appropriate three-year full-time degree course within the school, providing you have gained the required standards and subjects.

Many of our students gain construction industry jobs in their specialist discipline. They have also found employment with private practices, main contractors, subcontractors and supply chains associated with the construction sector.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

The course is ideal if you’re looking for – or developing – a career in building surveying, architectural technology, building control, quantity surveying or construction management.

Graduates from the school have secured employment with:

  • Laing O'Rourke
  • Currie and Brown
  • Taylor Wimpey
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Thomas Vale Construction
  • Bigwood Associates
  • NHBC
  • Ministry of Public Works
  • Jones Lang La Salle
  • Birmingham International Airport.

Trips and visits

You’ll undertake trips to construction sites around the region, adding colour and relevance to your studies.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

Building work on our new Conservatoire began in the summer of 2015 – and is scheduled for completion in summer 2017. This, along with the construction of a new city centre accommodation block, means our students have access to their very own building sites.

We couple this with the more traditional, office-based facilities:

Surveying equipment

Part of your learning activity will be hands-on, including carrying out survey work using a range of equipment, such as levels, theodolites, measuring tapes.

Computer Assisted Design (CAD)

You will be provided with the latest CAD software – free of charge – to enable you to acquire the skills you need in a modern design office.

Learning from industry experts

Discover more about the industry experts you can meet on our Engineering degree courses.

Laura Layland is one of our lecturers, watch this video to find out more.

Antony Taft

Senior Lecturer

Antony is a Senior Lecturer in the Birmingham School of the Built Environment and Course Director for HNC Construction.

During over 33 years in the construction industry Antony has worked for Local Authorities, Developers, Civil Engineering Consultants ultimately as the Associate Director of a multi-national consultants and finally in the education sector. A period was spent in Nigeria working on social development projects.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295