Building Surveying with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)
Looking to become a Building Surveyor? Our BSc (Hons) Building Surveying with Foundation year degree. matches the needs of industry, based on real-life building practice, building pathology, construction technology, and the legal framework for industry, risk management and building surveying practice....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Looking to become a Building Surveyor? Our BSc (Hons) Building Surveying with Foundation year degree. matches the needs of industry, based on real-life building practice, building pathology, construction technology, and the legal framework for industry, risk management and building surveying practice.
Much of your learning will be hands-on, you’ll carry out survey work using a range of equipment and you will also be provided with the latest CAD software.
The course is founded on the core competencies of the Building Surveying profession, preparing you to pursue your journey to full professional chartership.
The Foundation Year course option enables you to study for our BSc (Hons) degree over an extended full-time duration of four years by including a Foundation Certificate (year one of four). The Foundation Certificate provides a broad study programme that underpins the follow-on degree. In order to progress to the next year of your degree, it is necessary to achieve a pass in all of the modules of the Foundation Certificate.
What's covered in this course?
The course not only encompasses the conservation, repurposing and adaptation of the existing built environment, but also embraces innovation, preparing you to contribute to the success of the profession and supporting the development of a sustainable society for the twenty-first century and beyond.
During this course, you will develop a range of academic and technical skills relevant to the building surveying profession. As in industry itself, this course demands a broad range of technical and creative skills.
We focus on the core technical knowledge, such as building pathology, construction technology and sustainability, as well as the legal framework knowledge required for a career in building surveying.
As the industry changes and adopts new approaches, by working with our industry partners gives you the opportunity to learn about the innovative changes impacting the industry today.
The course aims to produce building surveyors with a well-rounded ability to mix technical, creative and business skills, ready to join an equally fast-moving built environment. You will therefore be industry-ready and can look forward to a fulfilling and enjoyable career as a building surveyor.
This course is accredited by:
Why Choose Us?
- Accredited course - Accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
- A leading provider - We are ranked 6th in the UK for courses in Land and Property Management (The Complete University Guide, 2020).
- Industrial placement year option - Gain desirable employability skills and work experience with the option of an industrial placement year, that will take place between your second and final year of the course.
- Site visits and industry talks - These opportunities enhance your learning experience and help explain how to gain employment within the built environment world.
- Scholarships - You might be eligible for grant funding of up to £9,500 towards your degree, through the Built Environment Scholarship. You may also be able to gain funding through our travel scholarship scheme.
- State-of-the-art facilities - You will be based at our Millennium Point campus in City Centre, where our facilities have undergone a £6.5 million investment to provide you with the very best learning experience.
- Flexible course - this course is available to be studied full-time or part-time to suit you.
- We are an Autodesk Training Centre (ATC) -This national and international recognition will give you access to on-campus training by certified Autodesk instructors, providing you with digital skills that will be highly sought after by employers. Autodesk applications play an important part in supporting the digital transformation of Architecture, Engineering and Construction.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
BB or 80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||
|Scottish Intermediate 2||
|Scottish Credit Standard Grade||
|Scottish National 5||
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A level and Advanced VCE||
|Access to HE Diploma||
Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate - Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015)
Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma – Core (awarded until 2016) ESW/KS Combined component
International Baccalaureate Diploma
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications|
6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||
1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.
2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates.
Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level)
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
As part of the application process you will be invited to attend an applicant visit day where you will undertake a short one-to-one interview with an academic member of staff. This is your chance to show us how passionate you are about the subject and it will help us make a decision on your application.
This will provide you with more information about the School and your course. In addition, it will give you a chance to meet and our staff and students to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be a student here.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BSc (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BSc (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £13,500 per year
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Field trips (optional)
This course may involve local site visits relating to essential module coursework where you would pay transport costs to and from the site. This course may also include the option of additional trips to complement your studies; these would be at extra cost.
Guidance for UK students
UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
Applying through UCAS
Register with UCAS
Login to UCAS
Complete your details
Select your course
Write a personal statement
Get a reference
Pay your application fee
Send UCAS your application
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
The Built Environment is a complex, unpredictable and unique in its own way. This module aims to provide an introductory platform towards understanding the elements and factors that influence the built environment, which support shaping the context of built environment. This module will also walk you through different built environment professions.
Within the built environment, many traditional and modern techniques are being incorporated in order to cope with the nature and functional requirements of a building. This module aims to draw focus upon high level elements that are present in every building including building structure, enclosure, materials and environmental factors. Building on the knowledge that you developed from “Built Environment Context and Practice”, this module compliments the importance of different professions within the built environment
The use of numbers within the built environment is inevitable, unavoidable and impactful in many ways. This module aims to provide an overview over the use of quantitative methods within the built environment and their relationship to different scenarios and identifying their value allowing you to develop the necessary foundation skills. This module acts as a preparatory stage in terms of both enhancing and developing your mathematical and quantitative abilities before commencing to Level 4. It also develops your awareness of the quantitative-related matters within different professions.
The use of computing and technology have become an essential part in our daily routines. This module aims to focus on many of the daily utilised computing technologies such as ICT, programming, graphics and effective use of visualisation tools. It then draws the attention towards built environment computing technologies, demonstrating how different professions utilise it to communicate, exchange and interpret information. Regardless of the built environment profession that you aim to specialise in, this module embeds computing technology-related knowledge that will support you at different levels during your degree.
Academic and personal study skills are essential elements which should be applied in order to be successful in Higher Education. This module aims to help you in developing basic research skills, academic writing and reflection skills. These skills are inevitably important and will support your transition to the higher education levels of study associated with your chosen degree programme.
During the journey within higher education, developing your independent study is an essential skill to support shaping the knowledge to become more useful and applied within practice. This module aims to provide you with necessary skills and tips that should support you to work independently within your discipline and to successfully apply project management tools and techniques to a mini project related to your subject discipline.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
This module introduces, for all of the built environment professions, a range of concepts relating to the technology of construction. It provides you with an understanding of modern and sustainable methods of construction. We use the example of low rise residential construction as it is relatively straightforward and allows us to introduce and explore these issues appropriately.
Environmental and materials science is an important area of study for all disciplines involved with the design, planning, developing and management of the built environment. This module encourages you to consider how the properties, structures and performance of materials influence why buildings and structures function. You will be encouraged to consider how these properties impact construction from a design and practical use perspective. This module will therefore enable you to develop innovative solutions for more robust, resilient, safe and sustainable buildings and structures.
This module is delivered to all of the undergraduate programmes in the built environment disciplines and provides you with the basic legal concepts and principles you will need throughout your professional career.
This module explores how key ‘actors’, including professional bodies, landowners, developers, investors, politicians, members of the public, and the state, etc. influence the development of the built and natural environment.
Digital construction is an integral component of contemporary design, development and maintenance of modern residential development. Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology is at the forefront of the progressive movement towards total digitalisation of the built environment.
This module will support the Architectural Technology and Building Surveying courses and aims to:
- Provide you with a broad based study of Architectural Technology together with the personal qualities of observation, analysis, judgement and communication appropriate for the profession.
- Provide you with a clear understanding of how their decisions regarding technology, materials and design impact on the environment.
- Provide you with the ability to communicate effectively using appropriate technical language and drawings associated with the practice of Building Surveying.
- Provide you with an understanding of the whole life structure and fabric of the built environment.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
The benefits of automation and digitalisation have steered government reforms globally towards embedding digitalization throughout architecture, engineering, construction and operations sectors. For example, the UK government’s strategy ‘Digital Built Britain 2025’ is an ambitious plan to digitise these sectors. This strategic vision has similarly been enacted via the BIM Level 2 mandate to extend digitized design, construction and asset handover for commercial developments.
Against this backdrop, this module aims to provide a foundation for you to successfully develop a Digital Execution Plan (DEP), understand BIM processes, develop commercial project documentation, and achieve interdisciplinary understanding of roles and responsibilities on a single simulated commercial project.
This module supports the Architectural Technologists’ and Building Surveyors’ need for specialisms and will see you focus on specialist professional development and allow you to build on the Level 4 Design and Surveying Skills module (or other approved study) to extend both your specialist CAD skills of computer aided drawing and contextualisation, and to develop further your building design and presentation skills.
The module introduces advanced applications to develop and explore sustainability, urban streetscapes and building forms. It will also allow you to engage with current image creation/transformation software to create advanced display material. You will be provided an opportunity to implement professional skills appropriate to design and surveying, particularly sustainable design and then implement design decisions and focus on professional display using 2D and 3D formats.
This module develops your ability to assess the needs of clients. It provides a broad based study of Architectural Technology (AT) and Building Surveying (BS); combining the personal qualities of observation, analysis, judgement and their ability to communicate effectively using appropriate technical language and drawings associated with professional practice.
This module builds on your foundation of knowledge gained around residential technology in the Built Environment Technology 1 module at Level 4 (or any other accepted prior learning) and develops your understanding of commercial construction techniques and methods, it will also provide you with an understanding of modern and sustainable methods of commercial construction. Relevant Building Regulation, Health Safety and Welfare legislation will also be reviewed concurrently.
This module will develop your intellectual appreciation of the theory and practice of Facilities Management and Building Information Modelling (BIM) and how these subjects contribute to the successful design, specification and management of existing buildings. You will develop skills in critical thinking and problem solving to make well informed decisions at both design and operational stages within the commercial built environment.
The module covers the basic requirements for property professionals engaged with the existing built environment to appreciate varying needs to clients in relation to property, to identify methods of construction, appraise the condition of a building, and make recommendations to achieve client’s aims. The module is designed to give you the opportunity for practical application of your learning to a relevant case study.
This module will focus on extending and providing appropriate evidence of your professional skills and development. Within an applied socially responsive framework, you will examine a range of issues related to the client, the site, planning, financial/development appraisal, design technology, legal and regulatory, health and safety etc. These will be covered in conjunction with other professional courses or your own discipline as appropriate, given that all built environment professions and recent reports such as the Farrell Review place increasing stress on interdisciplinary understanding and working.
This is a design-led module, allowing you to implement and practice advanced design skills in response to a small-scale design project. This module is underpinned by a series of lectures relating to the history and theory of urban and architectural form and design; and time is also devoted to studio-based and lab work that helps develop and enhance your design enquiry and creative drawing / model-making skills. The module also encourages you to explore the wider role of, and connections between, design theory & practice, governance, planning and how innovative design strategies might be used to resolve complex issues associated with contemporary urban challenges.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide upon your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be aligned to the programme you are studying, and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.
At this level, you will be expected to work independently but you will receive additional one-to-one support from your supervisor, who will be familiar with your chosen topic area. As you progress on the module, extra support will be available and this may take the form of group seminars, workshops and online materials that will help to develop your project.
This module is designed to prepare students for employment and to commence the RICS Assessment of professional competence (APC) professional training programme. This module will draw together aspects of professional practice, legal and regulatory compliance, design, specification and costing.
The module is designed to enhance your existing skills in the core technical competencies of building surveying: building pathology, inspection, & legal and regulatory compliance as applied to commercial and industrial buildings.
Just like the building surveying industry, this course will require you to develop a demandingly broad range of technical and built environment knowledge.
The assessment methods used reflect the course philosophy, with a particular focus on the ability to produce consistent work in line with the high standards and competencies RICS expects.
The first year of the BSc focuses on developing your fundamental skills and knowledge in the residential area of the built environment. You will explore the traditional areas of the built environment gaining an insight into how your future role is relevant to it. You will be introduced to the innovations of a modern construction project through the Building Information Modelling (BIM) environment, the requirements of the law and an understanding of the key technology relating to residential built environments.
Your skills will be developed further in your second year, with specialist modules and more challenging projects. You will learn more about commercial technology and surveying practice and experience working collaboratively with students from other courses. You will also develop specialist skills in building pathology, advanced design skills and facilities management. Your level of understanding of the built environment will increase as you start to learn about commercial structures within the built environment.
Your final year will see you refine your skills and realise your full potential. You will undertake surveys and prepare for your RICS Accreditation of Professional Competence through a series of events which are designed to prepare you for your first steps in industry.
There are 24 weeks of teaching in each academic year.
A typical week on this course will include 20 hours per week of contact time over two to three days, plus 15 to 25 hours of self study.
A typical week on this course will include six to nine hours per week over one day, plus 10 to 20 hours of self study.
Student stories – Sam Towers
Sam gained a BSc (Hons) degree in Building Surveying from Birmingham City University in 2012. Upon graduating university, Sam joined Savills in June 2012 with the intention of becoming a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in the Autumn of 2014. His experience has been gained through a diverse client base including those from the public and private sectors.
Sam is based within the Birmingham commercial building consultancy team where he has gained a broad range of experience within the commercial property market through his building surveying role.
Student stories – Craig Chatwin
The surveying course content was extremely beneficial in providing Craig with the necessary skills to put him on the path to become a chartered surveyor, and has provided him with a sound grounding for him to develop as a surveyor.
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
The Chartered Institute of Building is at the heart of a management career in construction. Its focus is on those entering and already in a management career in construction, by delivering qualifications and certifications that meet the needs of a changing industry. It works with members, employers, academia and governments across the globe to drive forward the science, practice and importance of management in construction.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
RICS is the world's leading professional body for setting standards in the surveying industry.
It has members all around the globe delivering knowledge and serving the public interest at a local level. In their work, they draw on RICS' ever-growing range of globally applicable and regionally specific standards and guidance.
Accreditations shall be renewed in accordance with the accreditor’s standard review process and subject to the University maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.
Enhancing your employability skills
Our graduates have a thorough skillset, understanding complex legal issues, building design, contract administrative procedures, building maintenance and business systems.
Engaging with industry and gaining work experience during your studies is essential if you are going to be taken seriously in the job market. Getting work experience in building surveying can be challenging, so we encourage you to be agile and engage with the broad range of opportunities available. We support you through our virtual learning environment, Moodle, where we have a dedicated page which is regularly updated with potential opportunities for experience, placement opportunities and employment offers for students at all levels of your degree.
The University is eager to recognise students have made the effort to gain industry experience and stand out from the typical graduate, and thus it offers a range options for you to get extra awards and recognition for your work in industry.
You have the option undertake an assessed sandwich year between your second and third year, which will provide you with valuable work experience and give you the real-life skills you need.
The University has a Graduate+ programme, an extracurricular awards framework that is designed to augment the subject-based skills that you’ve developed throughout the programme with broader employability attributes, which will enhance your employability options upon graduating.
There are a range of opportunities for student to gain industry experience, examples of student activities include:
- Working part-time for a building surveying practice
- Doing a placement year between the second and third year of the course
- Working directly for clients
Willmott Dixon placements
Building Surveying graduate Jessica Van Rensberg secured a placement with Willmott Dixon. “It was extremely rewarding, I gained lots of experience,” she said. “I learned how a commercial construction site is run and gained experience with sub contractors on how to engage with people on a day to day basis.”
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.
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:
Facilities and Staff
The School of the Built Environment provides the best possible equipment and facilities for all students. Our gallery below showcases the Built Environment’s learning spaces, civil engineering lab and state of the art computer aided design labs.
The facilities on offer to our students reflect the work environment you will enter as you start your career. We ensure that you are equipped to participate fully and possessed with the equipment needed to support your studies.
Computer Assisted Taking Off (CATO)
In offices today, much of the pen and paper approach to quantity surveying has been replaced by the use of specialised software systems. Here at Birmingham City University you will make use of commercial software as part of your assessment. Work is carried out in well-equipped and air-conditioned laboratories.
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.
Part of your learning activity will be hands-on, including carrying out survey work using a range of equipment, such as: Levels, Theodolites and Measuring tapes
Computer-generated virtual site
The use of a virtual building site will help you to appreciate the surroundings of a typical construction site and experience some of the challenges you will face in practice.
Built Environment live sites
Birmingham is undergoing huge regeneration. One of the city's two new HS2 stations will be built right outside our City Centre campus and there will be many opportunities, now and in the future, for those with built environment qualifications.
Paul is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment and Course Director for BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology.
Paul was originally a site manager. He moved into design management and from there became an Architectural Technologist. He taught at Northumbria University and then moved back into industry as a developer, before returning to education at Birmingham City University in 2005.More about Paul
Senior lecturer Sue Hayhow is a former associate partner of Lawrence and Wightman who moved into Social Housing, managing large regeneration projects in the West Midlands.
Sue is a member of RICS and has been training and assessing young surveyors since 1994. She's recently been a judge for the RICS regional awards.More about Sue