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BTEC Higher National Diploma in Construction & Built Environment (Civil Engineering)
Department of Construction & Civil Engineering

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Awarding Body  Pearson Education Course Title  Construction & Built Environment (Civil Engineering)
Award  BTEC Higher National Diploma   Award Level  RQF 5
UCAS Code HND(RQF)302H Study Mode  Full Time Weekend
Start Dates September 2018 Duration 2 years
  1. About this course
  2. What you will cover
  3. Entry Requirements
  4. How to apply
  5. Fees and Finance
  6. Careers and employability
  7. Professional Recognition

About this course

The BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) in Construction and The Built Environment (Civil Engineering) is aimed at students wanting to continue their education through applied learning.

This course will provide you with a wide-ranging study of the construction and the built environment sector. You will be studying a range of units such as construction technology, practice and management, materials, structural design and procurement.

BTEC HND in in Construction and The Built Environment (Civil Engineering) is designed for students who wish to pursue or advance their career in construction and the built environment. In addition to the knowledge, understanding and skills that underpin the study of the construction and the built environment sector, it will give you experience of the breadth and depth of the sector that will prepare you for further study or training.

This course will develop you as a professional, self-reflecting individual able to meet the demands of employers in the construction and the built environment sector and adapt to a constantly changing world. The qualification aims to widen access to higher education and enhance the career prospects of those who undertake them. You will gain a wide range of sector knowledge tied to practical skills gained in research, self-study, directed study and workplace scenarios.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical laboratory sessions. 

You will be assessed through projects, case studies, oral presentations, time-constrained and written assignments.

General Entry Requirements

    If you are under 21 years of age at the start of the course, you must have at least one of the following:
    • At least one GCE A-level pass. In addition, you should have appropriate supporting passes at GCSE (including English and Maths at grade C or above) or Key Skills Level 2 qualifications in communication, IT and Application of Number or equivalent.
    • A Level 3 qualification such as: BTEC level 3 Diploma, National Diploma, Advanced GNVQ/NVQ, AVCE/VCE, Foundation Certificate in a relevant subject
    • Access to Higher Education in a relevant subject
    • Advanced Modern Apprenticeship with Level 3 qualifications in a relevant subject
    • Baccalaureate/International Baccalaureate
    • An equivalent foreign qualification
    • Any other level 3 qualification in a relevant subject

    If you are over 21 years of age, you may demonstrate a more varied profile of achievement that is likely to include relevant work experience and/or achievement of a range of professional qualifications in their work sector.

Careers and employability

BTEC Higher National Diplomas are well-established and internationally recognised qualifications offering graduates progression directly to employment. This course will prepare you for a range of construction and civil engineering jobs, such as: 

  • Assistant Design Co-ordinator
  • Design & Build Co-ordinator
  • Construction Site Supervisor
  • Construction Design Technician
  • Site Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Health & Safety Manager
  • Planning Supervisor Site Engineering Technician
  • Structural Engineering Design
  • Civil Engineering Design
  • Transport Engineering Design

 You can also study further for a BSc(Hons) Top Up degree in Civil Engineering.

Professional Recognition

The following is an indication of relevant professional bodies that recognise BTEC Higher Nationals in Construction and the Built Environment (Civil Engineering) and their recommended unit structure, as qualifications that contribute towards their requirements:

  • Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Institution of Structural Engineers
  • Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • Chartered Institute of Building
  • Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists
  • Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers
  • Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating and Engineers

With their agreement we have secured exemptions from certain memberships for students achieving BTEC Higher National qualifications in Construction and The Built Environment (Civil Engineering). This adds value to the qualification by offering students access to Continuing Professional Development.

What you will cover

    You will study these modules:

HNCB 1Individual Project415
HNCB 18Civil Engineering Technology415
HNCB 2Construction Technology415
HNCB 20Principles of Structural Design 415
HNCB 3Science and Materials415
HNCB 6Construction Information (Drawing, Detailing, Specification)415
HNCB 8Mathematics for Construction415
HNCB 22Group Project (Double Module)530
HNCB 28Further Mathematics for Construction515
HNCB 29Geotechnics and Soil Mechanics 515
HNCB 30Advanced Structural Design515
HNCB 35Alternative Methods for Construction515
HNCB 38Personal and Professional Development515
HNCB 43Hydraulics515

Online Application & Eligibility Assessment

Note: Please scan your supporting documents, such as a photo, passport, visa, qualifications, references etc before starting the application form. You will also need access to your e-mail.

Apply through UCAS [Prefered]

Apply Online Directly

Please click here to proceed with Direct Online Application (opens in new window)

Fees and Finance

Tuition Fees for Academic Programmes

More Information:

Tuition fees for Full-Time Programmes - 2017/2018

Study Programme Yearly Fees
UK/EU Students
Higher National Certificate £6,165.00   1 year
Higher National Diploma
£6,165.00   2 years
Foundation Degree FdA £6,165.00   2 years
BA/BSc (Hons) £6,165.00   3 years
BA/BSc (Hons) Top-Up
£6,165.00   1 year

Tuition fees for Part-Time Programmes - 2017/2018

Study Programme Yearly Fees
UK/EU Students
Higher National Certificate
£4,500.00   2 years

Higher National Diploma

£4,500.00   3 years
Foundation Degree FdA £4,500.00   4 years
BA/BSc (Hons) £4,500.00   5 years
BA/BSc (Hons) Top-Up

£4,500.00   2 years

Important Notes

Undergraduate funding (2017/18)

Student Finance England

Full-time study
The majority of undergraduate funding comes from the Student Loans Company and is assessed by your funding authority. Please visit Student Finance England (SFE) website pages for detail information.


Eligible Undergraduate students can apply for a tuition fee loan of up to £6,165 to cover the full cost of their annual tuition fees. A maintenance loan (for living costs) of up to £8,430 is also available. This can be used to pay for general living costs, accommodation, travel and other course related costs.

The simple online calculator (https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator) will give you an accurate idea of what level of student funding you will be eligible for.

Part-time study
If you are a part-time student you can apply now for a tuition fee loan. The maximum tuition fee loan you can get if you are a part-time student is £4,500 per year.
The amount you get depends on the cost of your tuition fees and not on your household income.
The tuition fee loan is paid directly to your university or college.
For more information and downloadable guides, visit the Direct Gov website

Repaying loans
You will not start repaying your student loans for fees and living costs until you have finished studying and you are earning over £21,000 a year. For more information visit the Direct Gov website https://www.gov.uk/repaying-your-student-loan

Other Sources of Funding

You do not have to apply for a tuition fee loan from the Student Loans Company to fund your studies. Some students use private funding or employer sponsorship to pay for their course.


Individual Project [HNCB 1]

Unit type:Core

    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.

    Students will be able to 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. Students will provide a work and time management plan, keeping a diary of all activities, reflecting on their process and their learning throughout the project.

Civil Engineering Technology [HNCB 18]

Unit type:Specialist

    This unit explores the role of professional civil engineers, their essential involvement in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure, and the key technologies they apply. The technologies and processes of civil engineering, in the development of highways, bridges, drainage systems, substructure and superstructure, are crucial to support contemporary societies.

    Topics included in this unit are: earthwork activities, temporary and permanent dewatering procedures, methods and techniques used to create substructures, highways and superstructures and the common hazards, technical problems and solutions associated with modern civil engineering activities.

    On successful completion of this unit students will be able to describe, analyse and evaluate modern civil engineering procedures, apply this skill and knowledge to the design of infrastructure and produce solutions to address hazards and problems encountered in civil engineering projects.

Construction Technology [HNCB 2]

Unit type:Core

    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.

    Topics included in this unit are: substructure, superstructure, finishes, building services and infrastructure components. On successful completion of this unit a student will be able to analyse scenarios and select the most appropriate construction technology solution.

Principles of Structural Design [HNCB 20]

Unit type:Core

    Buildings, bridges, roads, and many other types of man-made structures are critical to the economic and social well-being of our societies. We rely upon these structures to provide us with suitable spaces and infrastructure to support our daily lives. 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 included in this unit are: methods and techniques used to determine bending moments and shear forces in simply supported steel and reinforced concrete beams; deflection in simply supported steel beams; and axial load carrying capacity of steel and reinforced concrete columns. 

    On successful completion of this unit students will be able to determine and analyse forces within fixed structures and understand the fundamental concepts of structural design.

Science and Materials [HNCB 3]

Unit type:Core

    Science and material performance are intrinsically linked through the need to create structures and spaces that perform in both mechanical operation and in providing human comfort.

    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. Material choice is developed through the understanding of testing procedures to establish conformity to standards and define performance properties. The performance of materials to satisfy regulations and provide appropriate comfort levels is addressed through design and calculations.

    Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to make informed decisions regarding material choices; based on understanding the structural behaviour of materials established through recognised testing methods, sustainability, context of build, and health & safety. Students will also be able to perform the calculations necessary to establish anticipated performance of the materials in-use and therefore determine their compliance with regulations and suitability.

Construction Information (Drawing, Detailing, Specification) [HNCB 6]

Unit type:Core

    To achieve successful projects in the built environment requires a range of different types of information: to describe the project, quantify the materials, provide clear instructions for assembly and erection, and to allow for accurate costing and management. Throughout the process of design, construction and post-occupancy management, information is critical.

    Through this unit students will develop their awareness of different types of construction information and their uses in the process. 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.

Mathematics for Construction [HNCB 8]

Unit type:Core

    The aim of this unit is to develop students’ skills in the mathematical principles and theories that underpin the civil engineering and building services curriculum. Students will be introduced to mathematical methods and statistical techniques in order to analyse and solve problems within a construction engineering context.

    Topics included in this unit are: dimensional analysis, arithmetic and geometric progressions wave and vector functions, differential and integral calculus, binomial and normal distribution, sinusoidal waves, and trigonometric and hyperbolic identities, among other topics.

    On successful completion of this unit students will be able to employ mathematical methods within a variety of contextualised examples, interpret data using statistical techniques, and use analytical and computational methods to evaluate and solve engineering construction problems. Therefore, they will also gain crucial employability skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, analysis, reasoning, and data interpretation.

Group Project (Double Module) [HNCB 22]

Unit type:Core

    While working in a team is an important skill in construction projects, collaboration goes beyond just teamwork. The success of a project relies not only on the ability of each person in a team to do their work, but on each individual’s awareness of how their work relates to the work of others, how to ensure that information is shared effectively and that roles and responsibilities are clear.

    Through this collaborative project-based unit, students will explore how to define roles within a collaborative team, recognising the skills (and ‘skills gaps’) of each member of the group. Together students will work to develop a construction project; based on their research and analysis, in response to the Pearson-set ‘theme’.

    Content in this unit will typically include role identification and allocation, collaborative structures, human resources management, project management, procurement, tender documentation, information/data sharing, meetings, health & safety, project costing and Building Information Modelling.

Further Mathematics for Construction [HNCB 28]

Unit type:Core

    The understanding of more advanced mathematics is important within the civil engineering and building services engineering industries. Students must be introduced to additional topics that will be relevant to them as they progress to the next level of their studies; advancing their knowledge of mathematical theory gained in the Level 4 Unit 8: Mathematics for Construction.

    The aim of this unit is to teach students to analyse and model civil engineering or building services engineering situations using mathematical techniques. Among the topics included in this unit are: number theory, complex numbers, matrix theory, linear equations, numerical integration, numerical differentiation, and graphical representations of curves for estimation within an engineering context. Finally, students will expand their knowledge of calculus to discover how to model and solve problems using first and second order differential equations.

    On successful completion of this unit students will be able to use applications of number theory in practical construction situations, solve systems of linear equations relevant to construction applications using matrix methods, approximate solutions of contextualised examples with graphical and numerical methods, and review models of construction systems using ordinary differential equations. As a result they will develop skills such as communication literacy, critical thinking, analysis, reasoning and interpretation, which are crucial for gaining employment and developing academic competence.

Geotechnics and Soil Mechanics [HNCB 29]

Unit type:Core

    This unit explores the essential relationship between civil engineering and the Earth’s crust, in the support of built structures and highways. The ability to understand, evaluate and develop solutions; related to soil and rock, is a key aspect of civil and structural engineering.

    Topics included in this unit are: rock types, soil description and classification, methods and techniques used when undertaking site investigations and laboratory testing, determination of soil properties and the importance of these geotechnical procedures and resultant findings to civil engineers.

    On successful completion of this unit students will be able to analyse and evaluate modern geotechnical methods and apply these skills and knowledge to the initial design of infrastructure.

Advanced Structural Design [HNCB 30]

Unit type:Core

    With the development of new materials and processes, along with technologies that allow us to design and model more complex structures, the demands on structural design become more complex. The ability to conceive of and accurately model complex buildings, bridges, roads and other types of structure, pushes both the aesthetic and technical envelope.

    In managing the design and construction of modern structures, the civil or structural engineer must be able to carry out more complex calculations; dealing with dynamic conditions, while maintaining an awareness of the overall design intention. 

    Extending areas of study, from Unit 20: Principles of Structural Design, this unit will support students to extend their ability to design, test and quantify more complex structural conditions.

Alternative Methods for Construction [HNCB 35]

Unit type:Core

    The construction industry seeks to be dynamic and forward thinking, but in reality most buildings are still constructed using many of the same materials and processes that have been utilised for centuries. While there is accumulated knowledge in the use of ‘tried-and-tested’ methods, these are not always the most efficient or cost effective. Combined with this is the fact that the construction industry is one of the largest contributors to CO2 emissions and is under increasing pressure, and legislation, to improve its processes and practices.

    However, the industry also faces other challenges. As one of the most important sectors of the global economy, it is imperative that construction is able to meet the demands for housing, office, institutional and commercial development. Continuing to build, using traditional methods will not be sufficient. One of the ways in which the sector is exploring how to address sustainability and increase productivity is through the development and implementation of alternative forms of construction.

    On successful completion of this unit students will have examined how the construction industry impacts on the environment; explored alternative construction methods which are fit for purpose; government policy implications and health & safety constraints associated with alternative construction methods; and designed a fit-for-purpose structure using an alternative construction method.

Personal and Professional Development [HNCB 38]

Unit type:Specialist

    As a professional, learning is a continuous and lifelong process. Within the construction industry there are constant changes in technology, materials, processes, legislation and practice. In order to remain up-to-date, it is necessary to recognise the potential of both structured, classroom-based learning and the learning that is gained through professional activities ‘on the job’.

    This unit provides a framework in which students have the opportunity to reflect upon and contextualise the learning that they gain from working within the industry. 

    In co-ordination with tutors and their employer, students will define the scope, duration and content of their expected work-based learning experience. Throughout the period of their work-based learning experience, students will be expected to record and reflect upon their own learning.

Hydraulics [HNCB 43]

Unit type:Core

    The action, management and distribution of fluids, in relation to built structures, is critical. In civil engineering, it is necessary to ensure that we are able to manage the pressures that water may put on structures, either through its flow or the forces exerted and how to resist these. In building services, the balance between necessary pressures to ensure flow and distribution of fluids (through heating/cooling systems or domestic water supplies), and the sizing of pipes to support this flow, will determine efficiency and effectiveness of a system.

    However, fluids are dynamic; their behaviour changes based on a range of factors. Thus, the ability to estimate and manage their forces, rates of flow and suitable systems for control requires specialised calculations, equipment and maintenance.

    Through this unit students will explore principles of hydrostatic and hydrodynamic fluids, calculate a range of factors and use these calculations to arrive at practical hydraulic solutions.

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