Building Studies

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Qualification type: Higher National Certificate (HNC)
Level: Level 4
Awarding body TU
Academic year: 2018/2019
Start date w/c 10 September 2018 (TBC) 9am - 6pm
Duration 2 years
Location: Darlington College
Attendance: Part time

Course overview

Construction is a big industry, employs 10% of the UK working population and is looking to recruit a further 185,000 over the next five years. (Source: Born to Build)

There are more than two million people in the building sector, meaning it’s one of the biggest and most diverse in the country.
(Source: Go Construct)

Once you are working in the construction industry, there are plenty of opportunities available for developing your skills and knowledge. Your career path is likely to be varied and may well change as you begin to specialise. Careers in this industry include;
• Architect
• Architectural Technologist
• Construction Management
• Building Surveying
• Project Manager
• Quantity Surveyor

This course is suitable for many career paths within construction and allied professions. The HNC is universally accepted and is the recognised progression route to undergraduate degree qualifications and also Higher National Diplomas (HND), but more importantly will advance your career potential.

The Higher National Certificate in Building Studies is a well proven course that allows you to develop your chosen career and increase your earning capabilities.

The course is designed for technicians in architecture, site/building management, quality surveying, and building surveying to name a few. It explores both the construction of new properties and the adaptation and refurbishment or restoration of existing buildings. You are introduced to all aspects of construction, including management principles, building construction technology and materials, and how these elements come together to provide both commercial and residential buildings.

The HNC in Building Studies provides a specialist work-related programme of study that covers the key knowledge and competencies required in the building sector. The HNC leads to a nationally recognised qualification offering opportunities for career progression and professional development.

The overall aims of the programme are to:
• Develop the education and training of engineers / technicians to a professional level in a variety of types of technical, professional and
management careers in construction and the built environment sector.
• Provide opportunities for engineers / technicians to achieve a nationally recognised Level four vocational qualification.
• Develop higher level skills in a technological and management context.
• Provide opportunities for students to develop and apply a range of skills techniques and attributes essential for effective performance at work.
• Produce Higher National graduates with the requisite skills, knowledge, understanding and personal attributes necessary to contribute
effectively to their chosen profession.
• Provide the opportunity for progression to a Level 5 qualification.

This course in partnership with Teesside University is currently being updated and some module elements may be subject to change.

All units and titles are to be confirmed at the point of enrolment.

Achievement rates for this course 2016-2017:

  • Programme pass rate - 100%
  • Distinctions awarded - 34%
  • Merits awarded - 50%


Entry requirements

• BTEC Level 3 National Diploma or Certificate in Construction, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Construction or BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Construction or equivalent.

• At least one A level in an appropriate subject (or equivalent qualification)
• Relevant industrial experience.

All applicants will be interviewed. You must be at least 18 years of age or over.

How to enquire/apply

To apply for this course please complete the Teesside University Online Application Form. Once your application has been received you will receive an acknowledgement from Teesside University. Following this you will be contacted by either the course tutor or the Admissions Department at Darlington College with regards an interview.

Studying and learning

To gain the qualification, 8 units must be completed over the 2 year period.

Aim of the course:
Four core units must be studied over the 2 year period. These could comprise of the following (unit titles are subject to approval and therefore could change):

    • Health, safety and welfare
    • Group project
    • Management principles and application
    • Construction technology

4 specialist units will be studied over the 2 year period.

The course lasts for 2 years, whereby 8 units must be completed to gain the qualification.

NOTE: All units and titles are to be confirmed at the point of enrolment.

Where will I be studying?
This course is held at Darlington College, Central Park, Haughton Road. All students also have access to all the facilities at the Teesside University.

When will I be expected to be in college?

  • Each year comprises one day per week. Attendance is usually one day per week, beginning in September until May. (Day of the week to be confirmed)
  • 9am - 6.15pm, for 31 weeks over 3 terms.

How will I learn?
Classes are a range of tutor led sessions, practical sessions, tutorials, case studies and site visits. Students will need to allow for 2-3 hours per week for homework, which would consist of coursework.

Each unit is assessed by written coursework, group projects, presentations or exams.

How will I be assessed

You will be assessed by class coursework assignments, exams, phase tests and group presentations. All pieces of work must achieve at least a pass grade to gain the unit. Each unit will be graded at a pass, merit or distinction.

You must complete and pass ALL year 1 units before being able to progress onto year 2.

Things you may need

Please note that suggested books will be provided by the tutors as appropriate for each unit.

Textbooks that may be useful:

  • Building Construction Handbook – Chudley, R 9th Edition – ISBN 978-0-08-097061-5 - Cost approximately £20
  • Architect’s Pocket Book – Hatreed, J; Ross, A; Baden-Powell, C; Architectural Press; 4 edition; ISBN: 978-0080969596 - Cost approximately £15
  • Construction Practice, Cooke, B. ISBN 978-1444336689
  • Dictionary of Building – Penguin Books – ISBN 014051239X - Cost approximately £10
  • Mitchell’s Structure and Fabric Part 1 and 2 – ISBN 9780131970946 – Cost approximately £35
What next

Further study
This course will enhance job progression and can lead onto a full or part time degree, for example BS (Hons) Architectural Technology, BSc (Hons) Construction Management, BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying, BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering and/or CIOB course. Usual entry is onto the second year of the programme, although this does depend on the university requirements. During 2016-2017, 50 percent of our students progressed onto part time university degrees.


There are lots of opportunities in construction for both males and females, of all backgrounds, with both academic qualifications and practical skills.
(Source: Born to Build)

Previous students have progressed within their employment to senior management positions. Many continue their studies at university to gain a degree whilst others choose to continue to study towards CIOB qualifications. The HNC is a well proven and respected qualification accepted throughout industry.

Student perspective:

RF: “I have completed the HNC in Building Studies to extend my knowledge of the construction industry from the National Diploma in Construction. We have completed a number of topics such as design and surveying which have helped me throughout my job training to be an Architectural Technician. I wish to carry on my part time education to a BA (Hons) in Architectural Technology at Northumbria University. “

RB: I have completed the HNC in Building Studies at Darlington College to further my understanding of the whole construction industry, also to give me the opportunity to further my career within the industry. The completion of the course has opened many doors to me as to what I can do once I have completed the course. I am now in the position to improve myself further by continuing my studies at university.”

JP:The HNC Building Studies course is enabling me to have a better understanding of my job. The course has been interesting and enjoyable due to the different modules covered, presentation work, outside work covering surveying, and showing us that we can work as a team e.g. group project. After the course has finished, I will be continuing with my current job, putting into practice everything I have learnt.”

Information, advice and support

Darlington College offers a wide range of support including careers guidance, financial assistance, additional learning support, childcare and many more. For more information on any aspect of student support contact the Student Services Team on 01325 503030 and they will direct your call to the appropriate college support team.

Fees and funding

This course is an award of Teesside University delivered in partnership with Darlington College.

Course fee is paid directly to Teesside. Full details of course fees are available from Teesside University. All fees are per year.

This programme is franchised from the Teesside University. All queries regarding programme fees should be directed to the University on 01642 218121. Help may be available with fees, please ask.

What if I need support?

Here at the college we have outstanding support. Our support staff are dedicated to providing you with all the help and guidance you may need throughout your college journey.

You might need help and advice on a wide range of issues such as childcare, counselling and additional learning support. For more information on any aspect of student support contact the Course and Information Team, who will direct your call to the appropriate member of the college support team, call: 01325 503030.

Enquiry Form

If you have any questions about this course, send us a message using the form below.

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