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Pearson BTEC HNC in Construction and the Built Environment (Construction) *

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Institution code: 
Suffolk New College


1.5 years part-time

* Subject to validation

This Pearson Higher National award is delivered, assessed and quality assured by East Coast College, working in partnership with the University of Suffolk.

This course is delivered on a day-release basis over a period of one and a half academic years so that, by following on to the HND programme, an HND in Construction and the Built Environment can be gained over a three year period. 


This HNC in Construction and the Built Environment is an excellent first step into Higher Education for those who already have a level 3 qualification or are mature applicants, with appropriate workexperience. The course is specifically aimed at providing a broad-based but highly relevant qualification in support of professional development across a wide range of construction roles including design, construction management, estimating, quantity surveying, facilities management and recycling.

This course is delivered on a day-release basis over a period of one and a half academic years so that, by following on to the HND programme, an HND in Construction and the Built Environment can be gained over a three year period. Students who successfully complete this HNC may, of course, take a break in their studies before considering any options for further study in the future. This qualification will assist successful students in their pursuit of professional membership of their chosen professional body.

Course modules

Individual Project (Pearson set)

Students will identify, define, plan, develop and execute a successful project by working through a clear process. They will develop a project brief; outlining a problem that requires a solution, as well as a project specification, the specific requirements of which the final outcome must meet. They will research the problem, undertaking a feasibility study, and consider a range of potential solutions using critical analysis and evaluation techniques to test, select and contextualise their preferred solution.

Construction Technology

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. Topics included in this unit are: substructure, superstructure, finishes, building services and infrastructure components.

Science & Materials

This unit aims to support students to make material choices to achieve the desired outcomes of a brief. This is approached from the perspective of materials being fit for purpose; as defined by testing standards and properties, but also by consideration of the environmental impact and sustainability. Awareness of health & safety is considered alongside the need to meet legislative requirements. The topics covered in this unit include: health & safety; storage and use of materials; handling, and problems associated with misuse and unprotected use; environmental and sustainable consideration in material choices; and human comfort performance parameters

Construction Practice & Management

The unit compares and investigates small, medium and large construction companies within the market place and how construction processes, for development, have evolved. Students will also explore how health & safety has evolved within the industry, including how the major stakeholders, from companies to site operatives, have embedded health & safety into their preferred areas of development and careers. In addition, students will explore Building Information Modelling.

Legal and Statutory Responsibilities in Construction

This unit will introduce the different areas of law that are relevant to the construction industry throughout the development process. This includes applying for planning approval to undertake construction activities and using building control regulations to evaluate building design and alterations at the preconstruction stage. The unit will explore the laws of occupiers’ liability, trespass and nuisance to manage construction activities on-site, and the legal aspects of the sale and leasing process involved in the disposal of buildings; using the law of contract and land law.

Construction Information (Drawing, Detailing, Specification)

Students will engage in the production, reading and editing of construction information, in order to understand how this information informs different stages of the process. Using industry standard tools and systems, students will consider the ways that information may be shared and, through this, the value of collaboration in the information process. Topics included in this unit are: construction drawing, detailing, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Building Information Modelling (BIM), schedules (door, window, hardware, etc.), specifications, schedules of work, bills of quantities and information distribution and collaboration.

Surveying, Measuring & Setting Out

This unit explores the techniques used to set up controls and conduct topographic surveys. It also covers communication of results and methods of setting out structures. On successful completion of this unit students will be able to set up and assess the accuracy of control points. From these or any other control points the students will be able to complete a topographic survey or set out a structure. The students will also be able analyse errors in setting out and surveying.

Principles of Structural Design

This unit explores the fundamental principles of structural design, codes of practice and standards required to construct safe, effective static civil engineering structures commonly used in today’s infrastructure projects. Topics include methods and techniques used to determine bending movements and shear forces in steel and concrete beams. On successful completion of this units students will be able to determine and analyse forces within fixed structures and understand the fundamental concepts of structural design. 

Career opportunities

This HNC in Construction and the Built Environment will support the professional development of those working in a very wide range of construction-related roles. Whilst it is anticipated that most students will probably already be in employment and will be sponsored on this course by their employers, it is also recognised that some students will be in the process of finding a suitable route into their chosen career. Students may be aiming to work in one of a range of construction roles including design, construction management, estimating, quantity surveying, facilities management and recycling. The kinds of employers that students work for range across design specialists, building contractors, local and regional government as well as being self-employed.

Fees and finance


  • UK full-time Tuition fee: £6,168 p.a. 
  • UK part-time Tuition fee: £771 per 15 credit module (Please contact the Student Centre for further information). 
  • International Tuition fee: £6,750 p.a. 

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for.  

Further Information 

Entry requirements

60 UCAS tariff points or above (or the equivalent)

Facilities and Resources

General purpose classrooms equipped with web-access, computers and projector; the Suffolk New College library; a well-equipped laboratory covering soils, structures and materials disciplines; modern surveying and setting out equipment; and an excellent array of online databases and libraries.