Construction and the Built Environment BTEC HNC Level 4

The new BTEC Higher National qualifications in Construction are designed to address an increasing need for high quality professional and technical education pathways at Levels 4 and 5, thereby providing students with a clear line of sight to employment or to progression to a degree at Level 6. Latest estimates say that the sector needs to recruit and train 158,000 people between 2018 and 2022. It is recognised that FE and HE colleges now need to seize the opportunity to contribute to closing the skills gap and hence increase productivity.

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Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals are designed to help students secure the knowledge skills and behaviours needed to succeed in the workplace. They represent the latest in professional standards and provide opportunities for students to develop behaviours for work, for example by undertaking a group project, or responding to a client brief.

Course overview

BTEC HNCs are work-related qualifications for students taking their first steps into employment, or for those already in employment and seeking career development opportunities. BTECs provide progression into the workplace either directly or via further study at university and are also designed to meet employer’s needs. BTEC Higher National qualifications are widely recognised by industry and higher education as the principal vocational qualification at Levels 4 and 5.

The Specification for the Course Framework is that produced by Pearson Education Ltd. for the BTEC Nationals in Construction RQF issue 1. The pathway chosen is that of Construction.

Key features of the HNC Construction and the Built Environment

Pearson BTEC Higher National qualifications in Construction and the Built Environment offer:

  • A stimulating and challenging programme of study that will be both engaging and memorable for students.
  • The essential subject knowledge that students need to progress successfully into further study or the world of work.
  • A simplified structure: students undertake a substantial core of learning in the Higher National Certificate and can build on this in the Higher National Diploma, with optional units linked to their specialist area of study.
  • Six specialist pathways in the Level 5 Diploma, so there is something to suit each student’s preference of study and future progression plans.
  • Refreshed content that is closely aligned with Professional Body, employer and higher education needs.
  • Assessments that consider cognitive skills (what students know) along with effective and applied skills (respectively how they behave and what they can do).
  • Unit-specific grading and Pearson-set assignments.
  • A varied approach to assessment that supports progression to Level 6 and also allows centres to offer assessment relevant to the local economy, thereby accommodating and enhancing different learning styles.
  • Quality assurance measures to ensure that all stakeholders (e.g. professional bodies, universities, businesses, colleges and students) can feel confident in the integrity and value of the qualifications.
  • A qualification designed to meet the needs and expectations of students aspiring to work in an international digital environment.

The Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment offers students a broad introduction to the subject area via a mandatory core of learning, while allowing for the acquisition of skills and experience through the selection of optional units across a range of occupational sectors at Level 4. This effectively builds underpinning core skills while preparing the student for subject specialisation at Level 5. Students will gain a wide range of sector knowledge tied to practical skills gained in research, self-study, directed study and workplace scenarios.

At Level 4 students develop a broad knowledge and awareness of key aspects of the construction sector through six core units, which include one unit assessed by a Pearson-set assignment.

Module map

This module map provides an indicative list of the modules that make up your course. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. You must take modules worth a total of 120 credits at each level of the course. 8 modules are covered over 2 years i.e 4 modules per year. The modules are as follows:

  • Construction Technology
  • Building Information Modelling
  • Science and Materials
  • Construction Practice and Management
  • Site Supervision and Operations
  • Legal and Statutory Responsibilities in Construction
  • Construction Information (Drawing, Detailing, Specification)
  • Individual Project (Pearson set)

About the Pearson-set unit

Each year, Pearson issue a Theme and a set of related Topics. Kirklees College will develop an assignment, to be internally assessed, to engage students in work related to the Pearson-set Theme.

The aim of the Pearson-set assignments is to provide a common framework for centres (such as colleges) to develop work that will allow cross-sector benchmarking, through the standardisation of student work, and identification and sharing of ‘best practice’ in higher education teaching and learning.

The course operates on a modular basis. Most modules count for 15 academic credits. Each 15 credits taken equates to a total study time of around 150 hours. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

The course has one start point in September.

Please also refer to the HE Policies and Relevant documentation section.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements 2019-20:     

Our typical offer is UCAS Tarrif points 64 (new), or equivalent

BTEC Extended Diploma at MPP and GCSE English and maths grade C or above (or equivalent point score)

For students who have recently been in education, the entry profile is likely to be:

  • A BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in a construction related topic
  • A GCE Advanced Level profile that demonstrates strong performance in a relevant subject or adequate performance in more than one GCE subject. This profile is likely to be supported by GCSE grades at A* to C (or equivalent)
  • Other related Level 3 qualifications
  • An Access to Higher Education Certificate awarded by an approved further education institution
  • Related work experience
  • An international equivalent of the above

Kirklees College will consider applicants’ prior learning when considering their acceptance on a BTEC Higher Nationals, through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


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Assessment Methods


The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final grade. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or “formative” assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Formative assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is also formal or “summative” assessment scheduled during each module. Assessment methods include essays, reports, presentations and examinations. The grades from formal assessments count towards your final module grade.

You will be required to produce a portfolio of evidence containing written assignments, examinations, presentations and Project Work.

A Project will be set and overseen by in-house tutors in conjunction with an external body (Contractor or Consultant).

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework is as follows:

80% coursework

20% combination of examination and assessed project work


You will receive feedback on all formative and summative assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Kirklees College aims to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of the submission date (summative assignments).


On successful completion of the HNC, there is also the option of continuing your studies for a further year (full-time students) to achieve a level 5 Higher National Diploma (HND)*.

*subject to a group size of 8 or more students (course confirmed by March each year)

The Level 5 Higher National Diploma offers the following specialist pathways for students who wish to concentrate on a particular aspect of construction:

  • Construction – Management
  • Construction – Architectural Technology
  • Building Services Engineering – Electrical
  • Building Services Engineering – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
  • Civil Engineering
  • Quantity Surveying

Holders of the Level 5 Higher National Diploma will have developed a sound understanding of the principles in their field of study and will have learned to apply those principles more widely. They will have learned to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems. They will be able to perform effectively in their chosen field and will have the qualities necessary for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making.

The Pearson BTEC Higher National Certificate provides a solid grounding in computing at Level 4, vendor-accredited certification and Professional Body membership, all of which students can build on should they decide to continue their studies beyond the Certificate stage. The Pearson BTEC Higher National Diploma allows students to specialise by committing to specific career paths and progression routes to degree-level study.

Entering employment

Continuing existing employment

Linking with the appropriate Professional Body

Committing to Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Progressing to university

The Level 4 Higher national Certificate is recognised by Higher Education providers as meeting admission requirements to many relevant digital-related courses, for example:

  • Level 5 HND in Construction and the Built Environment
  • BSc (Hons) in Construction and the Built Environment

Students should always check the entry requirements for degree programmes at specific Higher Education providers. After completing a BTEC Higher National Certificate or Diploma, students can also progress directly into employment.

The skills offered as part of the Pearson BTEC Higher National Certificate / Diploma can provide graduates with the opportunity to work in many different areas of the digital sector.

Below are some examples of job roles each qualification could lead to:

  • Assistant Design Co-ordinator
  • Construction Technician
  • Heating/Cooling System Designer
  • Building Services Engineering Technician
  • Site Engineering Technician
  • Quantity Surveyor

These job roles are based on descriptions from The National Occupational Standards for IT professionals – industry standards for skills, developed in collaboration with employers, professional bodies and others which make it easier for employers to describe job roles, externally and internally. The development of IT Professional Standards was undertaken by The Tech Partnership.

Fees & Funding


£7320 for the two year course which is on a part time basis, consisting of 1 day per week (Monday). Plus £185 examination fee.

These fees apply to the academic year 2019-20 and may increase annually by 5% for each further year of study (part-time students). Students will will be advised in writing by February if there is any intended increase in the part-time tuition fee.

These fees only apply to this HNC programme. Students intending to undertake further study (HND) will be advised in writing by February of any intended increase in tuition fee.

The following course-related costs are not included in the fees:

  • The cost of books that you might wish to purchase
  • Additonal printing over the termly print allowance
  • Any optional trips that may be offered as part of the course

Sources of financial support

If you receive funding from Student Finance England, you may be eligible to apply for additional benefits. Details can be found under Fees and Finance.


The College also provides a number of bursaries for full-time HE students, which you may be eligible to apply for. Some of these are available to students on any course, while some are course specific. You can check your eligiblilty for these types of financial support, along with their value below:


The following progression, subject-related and widening access bursaries are offered for students starting their studies in September 2018. These are be offered pro-rata for students studying part-time (based on the number of credits being studied).

Students are only be eligible for one financial bursary. These bursaries are not be available to employer-sponsored students.

  1. a)     Progression Bursaries

Progression Bursaries are offered to students progressing within the College from a Level 3 programme on to a full-time Higher Education programme. A phased cash payment of £500 is made in the first year of study only.

Students must have successfully completed a Level 3 programme at the College that is appropriate to allow progression to a full-time Higher Education programme. This award will be available to Kirklees College home students in receipt of the full HE maintenance grant or student support grant.

  1. b)    Local Student Bursaries

This bursary will target local students accepted on to a Higher Education programme at the College with a permanent home address in the local area (all West Yorkshire postcodes). A phased cash payment of £500 is made in the first year of study only. This award will be available to home students in receipt of the full HE maintenance grant or student support grant.

  1. c)     STEM Bursaries

This bursary will be available to any home student on Engineering programmes only. A phased cash payment of £500 will be made during each year of study (excluding any repeat year). This award will be available to home students in receipt of the full HE maintenance grant or student support grant. Students receiving this bursary are not eligible for any other bursary.

  1. d)    Kirklees College Widening Access Bursaries

The following bursaries are available to the following student groups:

Care Leaver Bursary – This bursary will offer support to any home student during each year of study (excluding any repeat year) and will be available to students who have left local authority care in the two years prior to enrolment on the first year of study, irrespective of postcode. A phased cash payment of £1000 is made during each year of study. Attendance at college must be 85% (other than mitigating circumstances).

Full-time Carer Bursary – This bursary will offer support to any home student during each year of study (excluding any repeat year) and will be available to applicants who have full-time carer responsibilities. A phased cash payment of £1000 is made during each year of study. This award will be available to home students in receipt of the full HE maintenance grant or student support grant.

Access to HE Diploma Bursary – This bursary will offer support to students during their first year of study and will be available to students who have success fully completed an Access to HE Diploma programme.

Students must have successfully completed an Access programme that is appropriate to allow progression to a Higher Education programme. A phased cash payment of £1000 is made during the first year of study only. This award will be available to home students in receipt of the full HE maintenance grant or student support grant.

The payment of these bursaries is subject to satisfactory completion of work and performance on the course. This requires students to have submitted all summative assessments and have engaged in formative assessments.

How to Apply/Enrol

To apply for a place on the course you will need to complete and submit a Higher Education application form.  You can access it here to download and print off.

If you would rather have one posted to you, please either e-mail or telephone 01484 437070 to request one, leaving your name and full postal address.

Additional Information

Teaching and Learning


Sessions are delivered using a varying range of formats and teaching and learning strategies. This includes the use of lectures, seminars, presentations, workshops, in class discussions, debates, analysing case studies or considering real business problems from the students’ own experience. Students are encouraged to be independent and autonomous; there is a significant focus and emphasis on independent study, which combined with taught sessions will stand you in good stead to achieve their potential. You will also have timetabled tutorials with your personal tutor. Group sizes are typically  10-15 and you will have around 10-11 contact hours per week in college.

Independent learning

When not attending  formal teaching sessions, you will be expected to contiune learning independently through self-study. Typically this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the Learning Resource Centre, preparing coursework assignments and presentations and preparing for any time constrained assessments. Your independent learning is supported by a range of facilities at the college including the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), HE Study Centre and the College Virtual Learning Enviornment (VLE) .

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity, with each 15 credits taken equating to a total study time of around 150 hours.


Academic support is available in the college providing help in the following areas:

  • Study skills
  • Academic skills
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking

Student Services can help students with additional needs.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.


For more information on applying for this course please see the Apply page.

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Course Leader Profile

Howard Jones B.Sc(Eng.);C.Eng.;M.I.Struct.E

Ever walked past a building and admired its construction? Yes? Well most of us have, what Howard has done however is point at that building and say, I helped build that!

Is Howard a real life superhero? Maybe.

With over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry, Howard Jones is a qualified professional with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his students. Howard’s career journey began at the tender age of 18 when he decided he was going to pursue Civil Engineering as a career. Howard Graduated from University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil and Structural Engineering.

Striving towards his career ambitions, Howard gained experience in the construction sector, giving him the unique opportunity to work with a number of Consultants and Local Authorities on significant projects in both bridgeworks and buildings.

Progressing in his career, Howard has held a number of senior positions including the post of Chief Structural Engineer for Sheffield’s City Council’s Design and Building Services Department. He has managed a team of 36 civil engineers and delivered multiple projects in both the fields of bridge and building construction. These projects were very diverse and even included the opportunity to project manage the demolition of 3 significant concrete multi-storey buildings situated near the main Sheffield to London railway.

Due to his passion for the Engineering field, Howard has won several awards by both the institutions of Structural Engineers and Civil Engineers both as a winner and in the highly commended categories. Howard is passionate about education and treasures the experience that he had growing up with education. Looking to diversify in his career Howard was offered two positions in different fields, including one job in a leading engineering Consultancy as a Technical Director and also the post of teaching at Kirklees College (Construction Section); Howard chose to teach the students as a way to contribute to the development of young construction professionals so badly needed within the Construction Sector.

During his career at the Kirklees College, Howard has taught many subjects including Level 3 (Extended Diploma) and Level 4 (HNC) in Construction and the Built Environment and is now the Course Leader for the HNC Course.

As an experienced professional, Howard is an asset to the college and is able to transform your dreams by equipping you with the right skills and teachings to help you become successful in the career you desire to be in.


Kirklees College