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Higher National Certificate in Construction

Level 4
Course Code:
North Devon Campus
One year - full time; two years - part time

This specialist vocational programme is linked to professional body requirements and national occupational standards, with a strong work-related emphasis.

The qualification provides a thorough grounding in the key concepts and practical skills required in the construction and civil engineering sector.


During this course you will study the following modules:

- Design Principles - provides the learner with a fundamental understanding of the overall design process, and how the planning/design phases of a project are coordinated and managed. The module is intended to help learners develop the ability to understand and apply design in terms of the production and cost implications for construction projects.

- Science and Materials with Maths - provides the learner with an introduction to the scientific principles and a basic knowledge of the properties of materials. The module is intended to enable learners to apply scientific principles to construction-related situations. This module also provides the learner with the fundamental mathematical knowledge and analytical techniques to use mathematical processes in the solution of construction, civil engineering or building services engineering problems.

- Health and Safety - covers the knowledge and skills needed to identify hazards in the workplace, assess the level of risk, make recommendations to control the risk and review the results; this will be considered along with relevant safety legislation.

- Construction Management - provides the learner with an introduction to the principles of management as they relate to the technical and professional disciplines. Students will also learn how these principles may be applied to the management of construction and civil engineering activity through the application of recognised management techniques.

- Construction Technology 1 - provides the learner with an introduction to the fundamental aspects of construction technology. The module has been designed to enable learners to understand the standard design forms, site evaluation methods and methods of construction used in the modern construction industry.

- Professional Ethics and Practice - designed to introduce the learner to the concepts of professional ethics and the wider social, technical, economic and financial aspects of professional practice which must be considered alongside the core business activities.

- CAD - provides the learner with an introduction to the skills and knowledge required to use appropriate computer software as an aid to design for the construction industry. The difference in approach between manual and computer aided design (CAD) is explained.

- Production Management - develops the application of management principles and techniques at site management level. The module will provide learners with knowledge of the management of construction sites and will develop an appreciation of the interface between management, technology and productivity.

- Law and Contracts - intended to provide learners with an introduction to the national legal system and the Law of Contract. It is also intended that learners will develop knowledge and understanding in those aspects of contractual administration relating to the common types of contract used in the industry for building or civil engineering works of various sizes.

- Group Project - develops the learner's ability to resolve realistic practical problems within a given project and working within a team. It aims to apply the skills and knowledge developed in other modules of the course within a major piece of work that reflects the type of performance expected of construction professionals. It aims to develop a working knowledge of the types of procurement arrangements used in the industry.

- Site Surveying Procedures - provides an opportunity for the learner to undertake setting out and control of alignment of construction work and develops the knowledge needed to perform surveying calculations.
Assessment is based on completed assignments, and generally two assignments per module over a 15-week semester. There are no exams.
Five GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above

Students should ideally have a relevant BTEC or related vocational qualification. This profile is generally supported by GCSEs at grade 5/4 and above, or equivalent.
We welcome students over the age of 21 with no paper qualifications who can demonstrate that they have the potential to succeed on the programme, usually having construction-related work experience or experiences and transferable skills. Students who have successfully completed the BTEC qualification - and have no direct construction experience - will also be considered (subject to interview).
Successful candidates have progressed on to further Higher Education study to gain degrees within the construction environment at Plymouth, UWE and Cardiff University.

We have also helped students move up in their careers to site management, running their own business and surveying.

Successful students from this course may present themselves for admission to the Chartered Institute of Building, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, subject to the requirements of the body at the time of application.
We use the latest CAD programmes.
All staff are up to date with relevant industry information and are professional in their own right.
Please contact the HE Team on 01271 852335 for more information.
Q: I have been out of education for quite some time, will this course suit me?
A: If you have industry experience and a willingness to learn and carry out research, then this course can be achievable.

Q: How much will this course cost?
A: For more information about course fees, please visit

Course Fees

Annual Fee: £3700