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Construction - HNC

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....

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.

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • Award HNC
  • Start date September 2022
  • School School of Engineering and the Built Environment
  • Faculty Faculty of Computing, Engineering and The Built Environment

Overview

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.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this 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.

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.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: HNC

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 2 years
  • TBC

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.

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.

Printing

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.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

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.

Books (optional)

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.

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/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:

1

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

2

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.

Course in Depth

Year One

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

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. 

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):

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Employability

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.

Placements

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

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.

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:

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.

Facilities and Staff


Our Facilities

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.

The facility our students value most is not actually on campus, but is the location of the campus in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside opposite the new High Speed 2 station construction, and minutes from dozens of fascinating live projects within the city centre.

Birmingham as it changes constantly on our doorstep really is our ‘living lab’. By simply looking out the window of our classrooms you’ll be able to witness live projects as they’re happening around us. You’ll constantly be inspired by dozens of fascinating case studies just from walking from the station to the campus.

Software

Recognising the rapidly evolving digital built environment we are constantly reviewing software to best fit with the professions of the future.

Autodesk Accredited Centre Status, we use the latest integrated building modelling software across undergraduate courses, seeing Architectural Technology, Building Surveying, Construction Management, Property Development and Planning and Quantity Surveying students engaging in cross discipline information management projects modelling real life experience. Accredited Centre status allowing all students licence to download this software, and making available additional qualifications and certification to those demonstrating expertise and dedication to exploring their own and the limits of the Autodesk environment.

At course level, students engage with the latest and most appropriate software for their future professions. Real Estate students with CoStar, the leading industry database supporting valuations. Quantity Surveyors using Blue Beam, Revu and QS Pro, and along these Quantity Surveyors and Construction Managers use Synchro and Navisworks for 4D and CostX for 5D work. For Building Surveying and Architectural Technology routes, visualisation is important where Enscape, V-Ray Lumion and Sketch-up are available.

Built Environment Space in Millennium Point

The Built Environment Space in Millennium Point is available to all students with a huge resource of software-equipped laptops for loan on campus. For off campus working, much of the software we use comes with free student licences and all students will have access to the Windows Virtual Desktop, allowing access to our range of software from anywhere where the internet is available.

The Studio Space that we've created in Millennium Point is an open workspace where students can work on their design projects. We have all student work and examples that will change every week or month depending on what stage of a project we're at. And it's an open space for working on projects.

This is where our Architectural Technology students and our Building Surveying students in particular, spend a lot of their time.

Concrete and Hydraulics Labs

Our dedicated Civil Engineering facilities include a Hydraulics & Structures lab Concrete & Geotechnics lab as well as a bending rig.

The swollen concrete lab and hydraulics lab are the heart of our Civil Engineering course, where we have a range of test equipment. This is where our students can carry out experimental work as part of their course, either as part modules or using those labs to work on their final year project.