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Construction - HNC

  • UCAS Code: Direct online application.
  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Part Time (2 years)
  • Location: City Centre
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Want a comprehensive introduction to the construction industry? Study HNC Construction and structure your coursework in your own way.

You’ll gain fundamental knowledge that will set you up to explore a range of construction roles. Plus, it’s a great way of progressing onto one of our Built Environment degree courses.

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, Mott MacDonald, Taylor Wimpey, Birmingham City Council and Birmingham International Airport.

What's covered in the course?

Offering expert training for technologists in the design, production and management of buildings, the HNC 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. You’ll also be supported by expert staff who have professional experience of working on multi-million pound housing and commercial developments, as well as having excellent working knowledge of the construction industry.

Close links with industry will provide you with valuable connections. You’ll have the chance to take part in student awards with big name sponsors, such as BAM, Bouyges, UK North and Midlands, giving you the chance to gain recognition and make contacts to help further your future career.

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

Birmingham’s cutting edge development presents fantastic opportunities to gain experience and contacts for our students based in the city centre location.

Why Choose Us?

  • Satisfying professional body requirements, this 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 will become accustomed to the technology used in industry so that 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 will 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.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our Virtual Open Day for this course will take place on 17 October 2020. Book now and we will email you with a link to the Virtual Open Day for your subject area of choice.

Book now

This course is open to International students

Built Environment Research degree

Building Birmingham Scholarship

Are you planning to study an undergraduate degree course in a Built Environment subject? If so, you may be eligible for grant funding of up to £9,500 to help you during your studies at Birmingham City University.

Building Birmingham Scholarship

Entry Requirements

UK students
Typical qualifications

88 UCAS tariff points from at least one A Level, together with GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English and Maths.

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.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Don’t meet our entry requirements?

You could apply for a foundation course or a course at our International College. These routes have lower entry requirements and act as the bridge to a full degree. To find out more, please select your status:

Home student International student

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: HNC

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 2 years
  • £4,630 per year

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

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.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement 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.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Fees for part time students

If you study this course part-time or via distance learning, you will be charged on a pro-rata basis. This means your fee will be calculated per module.

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.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

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

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

Construction Technology
20 credits

The basic principles of construction technology have not changed for hundreds of years. However, the materials and techniques used to achieve these basic principles are constantly evolving; to enable the construction industry to deliver better quality buildings. Scarcity of resources and the continuing demand of more sophisticated clients, end users and other stakeholder interests, are driving the construction industry to provide buildings which facilitate enhanced environmental and energy performance, and greater flexibility, in response to ever increasing financial, environmental, legal and economic constraints This unit will introduce the different technological concepts used to enable the construction of building elements; from substructure to completion, by understanding the different functional characteristics and design considerations to be borne in mind when selecting the most suitable technological solution.

Science and Materials
20 credits

The module combines environmental science, materials science, and principles of construction management, in order to provide the students with an awareness of the properties, behaviour, and use of construction materials and the application of scientific principles to the design and use of buildings. It encourages students to consider how these properties affect the design and use of buildings, both from a professional’s and a user’s perspective. 

Legal Obligations in the Built Environment
20 credits

This module is delivered to all HNC students in the built environment disciplines and provides you with the basic legal concepts and principles you will need throughout your professional career. The module introduces you to the different areas of law that are relevant to the construction industry throughout the development process. It covers the legal structure and processes of the English legal system and provides the essential foundation to the legal skills necessary for the provision of sound advice to your clients/colleagues later in your professional career. 

Year Two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 40 credits):

Management and Practice in Construction
20 credits

This module is delivered to all HNC students in the built environment disciplines and provides you with an opportunity to understand management practice and its application in the construction and built environment sector. It introduces learners to the principles and application of management as they relate to the technical and professional disciplines of construction, civil engineering and building services engineering. It is based on the principles of the Latham Report of 1994, which advocated non-adversarial, multidisciplinary team working. Learners will gain an understanding of how these principles may be applied to the management of construction, building services engineering or civil engineering activities through the application of recognised management techniques.

Individual Project
20 credits

The ability to define, plan and undertake a project is a critical set of skills needed in various roles within the construction industry. Identifying appropriate information and analysing this, to formulate clear results or recommendations, is required to underpin many of the processes that inform construction projects. The aim of this unit is to support students in using and applying the knowledge and skills they have developed through other areas of their studies to complete and present an individual project. In addition, this unit will provide students with key study skills that will support them in further study.


In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:

Planning and Design for the Built Environment
20 credits

This module aims to provide the students with a solid foundation of planning and design significance within the built environment. It takes an overarching approach of various aspects and elements which are crucial within the planning and design stages. The module commences with establishing an understanding of the key stages of planning and design process. It then identifies current key legislations and factors that affect the planning and design process. One of the module focuses is identifying current approaches and techniques with relation to sustainability and renewable energy. As part of the coping with the recent advancements within the construction industry, a focus will be drawn upon the integrated digitised delivery and the role of various disciplines involved.

Measuring and Estimating Practice
20 credits

This Module aims to introduce the students to the practice of measurement and tendering applied for a construction project. It provides the students with the knowledge basis that forms the essential understanding required for measurement and tendering. The module commences with establishing an understanding of cost planning techniques throughout the key stages of planning and design process. It then introduces the students to taking off and measurement techniques for different work packages based on industry standard with emphasis on the new rules of measurement. The module then focuses on identifying industry standard work stages and their relationship to the estimating and tendering process. As part of understanding one of the major issues and complexities in a tendering process, a focus will be drawn upon the estimating methods required for tender pricing.

Building Information for Construction
20 credits

This module will provide support for HNC students that wish to progress into the Architectural Technology and Building Surveying courses at undergraduate level 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.

20 credits

Valuation is a crucial skill across the built environment and is core to many professional pathways.

This module introduces the theory of valuation as a set of principles, financial mathematics, methods and techniques employed for identifying and understanding economic concepts of value and worth in a property context.

You will build an understanding of the central role of valuation for the efficient functioning of the property markets and the wider economy (regionally, nationally and internationally) and develop background knowledge of the tools and techniques required to provide prudent advice when dealing with property.

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, underpinned by knowledge and understanding of the principles of construction, whether they are technical, legal or scientific.

The course also provides a strong foundation for a range of key professions within the construction industry. It 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 in either ‘Design’ or ‘Production’. The Design stream consists of Architectural, Building Control, and Building Surveying students. The Production stream consists of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management students. You’ll study four core units: Design Principles and Application, Science and Materials, Construction and Maintenance of Buildings and Law and Contract.

Year 2

In Year 2, you will study three core units: Management Principles and Application, Health Safety and Welfare and a group project.   The group project will develop your teamwork skills, 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.”

You will also undertake a specialist module either in research or measurement, dependent on your future progression route. You’ll be required to produce a portfolio of evidence for your learning.

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

You will be encouraged to progress to one of a range of undergraduate programmes within the School. To do this, you will need to obtain Merit grades in your Higher National Certificate. This would typically be to 2nd year full-time or 3rd year part-time (Level 5) in:

  • BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying
  • BSc (Hons) Building Surveying
  • BSc (Hons)  Construction Management
  • BSc (Hons) Property Development and Planning
  • BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology
  • BSc (Hons) Real Estate.

Enhancing your employability skills

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

You’ll learn to use industry equipment and software. Building information management is essential in today’s world of design and construction and experience with industry-related software is central to our approach, giving you an insight into the world of virtual technology. 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 develop your understanding of areas including surveying, design, construction, budget, health and safety and project management.

Awards and company links provide you with great opportunities. Student Luke Eversham won the HNC Thomas Vale Award for Outstanding Student of the Year. This recognition strengthened 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, 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 are already employed within the construction industry in jobs in their specialist discipline.  For students not already in employment, there are a range of placement opportunities available in local companies. Students have found employment with private practices, main contractors, subcontractors and supply chains associated with the construction sector.

More about our placement opportunities...


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.

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:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

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

This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus. We offer a wide range of technology to help you with your studies.

We have an ongoing strategy to upgrade and further develop our well-equipped laboratories. These plans are supported by global technology providers such as PTC and Technosoft. These two companies alone have recently donated more than £11 million worth of computer aided design, product lifecycle management and knowledge-based engineering software.

In addition, more than £750,000 worth of capital investment has been made in upgrading our engine emissions test facilities, environmental laboratory and thermodynamics equipment.

Test Cell Facilities

The key features of our test cell include:

  • 340 kW fully transient dynamometer
  • Full exhaust gas analysis both pre and post after treatment system
  • Ammonia slip analyser, EGR CO2, THC and non-methane HC

Exhaust Analysis

The key features of our exhaust analysis facilities include:

  • Signal Group Analysers in 3 racks with heated sample systems
  • Sierra BG-3 particulate mini-tunnel
  • AVL 415S smoke meter

Environmental Lab

The environmental lab is part of the Centre for Low Carbon Research (CLCR) and is home of the bioenergy and bioprocessing research group at the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment.

The suite is divided into three main areas a wet lab/pilot facility a fully equipped analytical suite and a microbiological lab. This newly refurbished facility offers state of the art analysis and testing of environmental samples as well as scientific evaluation of lab scale and pilot scale technologies and processes.

More about our facilities