Department of Sustainable Construction

School of Engineering, Digital and Sustainable Construction

Welcome to our Department of Sustainable Construction

Thank you for taking the time to come and check out what we offer at University College Birmingham, the highest ranking university in the region as voted by students at the 2023 Whatuni Student Choice Awards. Our student support is award-winning too, as is our provision for international students.

If you are looking at joining us to carve out a career in construction, here is a glimpse into our student and staff community - with insight into the placements and enrichment we offer - to see if we are right for you. 

Find out about our Whatuni awards

Deborah Bunce
Head of the Department of Sustainable Construction

Welcome from Deborah Bunce

Construction is a rapidly growing sector locally and internationally in both new build and retrofit. And we have sustainable construction running through all our qualifications, with options including trade skills at Level 1 through to higher levels for those looking to progress in management.

Whether you want to learn a trade such as carpentry or electrical installation or go into a professional role such as quantity surveying, you will be taught at our new construction skills centre, and we are very proud this building itself has sustainable retrofit credentials.

Here, industry experts will teach you how to meet the challenges of a low carbon world through a blend of theoretical and practical work. We look forward to welcoming you to our new department.

eavy structures and large-scale sustainability projects before moving into education. 
“If you're anything like me, you'll have always been fascinated by how things work and are built, and if you are joining our university, you really will get the very best, most advanced training, with access to incredible networks and opportunities."

Rosa Wells Executive Dean, School of Engineering, Digital and Sustainable Construction

Edward Bird
Deputy Dean (Engineering, Digital and Sustainable Construction)

Meet Edward Bird

My role across the School of Engineering, Digital and Sustainable Construction is quite broad, with responsibilities for quality, teaching and learning as well as curriculum development and innovation, ensuring that we are at the cutting edge of our subject sectors.

The school is developing rapidly and there has been a huge amount of interest in our courses both at college and university level. We are currently expanding our postgraduate offer to include an MSc in Computer Science and MSc in Engineering Management, both from September 2023.

We have worked closely with the West Midlands Combined Authority, the Institute of Technology and employers to ensure that all of our courses offer excellent opportunities for students to progress into fulfilling careers in STEM or further study.

*Edward has a background in software and web development.

Read more about Edward

Our teaching and learning 

Whether you are studying to be an electrician or quantity surveyor, or are learning the ropes for management, our aim is simple - to turn you into a stand-out professional. We have an award-winning reputation for the highest quality courses and a learning experience that sets us apart from bigger universities.

Our degrees are designed to develop you personally and professionally, with graduate advantage, employability and enrichment sessions threaded throughout the curriculum, sitting alongside really interesting theory modules. Our partnership with the University of Warwick, a top-ranking Russell Group university, also brings extra opportunities including access to guest speakers and additional resources.


Our courses are developed and taught by experienced lecturing staff, meaning they can draw on their industry expertise and years of experience to make scenario-based discussions, debates and concepts come to life, supporting the linking of theory to practice.

You will learn so much from our lecturing teams, who are passionate about their profession and eager to inspire and nurture the next generation of construction professionals.

We also have many invited guest lecturers from industry participate in our courses, sharing their knowledge and experiences to enhance your learning.

Students also have a lot to bring and as a team, we will also learn a lot from you! We encourage you to share your perspectives and viewpoints, especially when reflecting on your own life and placement experiences.


Placements are key to success as employers want you to have real experience. We have excellent links with organisations such as the GBSIoT across the region and beyond, as well as globally, so we can allocate you to a diverse range of placements.

This exposure to different learning environments opens opportunities for you when you qualify. And you will get plenty of real-life experience learning in our retrofitted Sustainable Skills Centre.


Our support is exceptional, so much so, our students voted to make us the winner of the Student Support award at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022 and we came a close second in 2023.

Throughout your studies, you will not only have a personal tutor, but a link tutor during placements and module leaders to support you through academic modules. And we have a whole range of additional support services available, providing you with as much or as little support as you need to succeed in your degree. Our smaller teaching groups enable all students to grow and flourish, with strong peer support and friendship.  

Our Learning and Teaching Strategy 2021-24 is key to how we approach the educational journey, focusing on three main pillars that set out our commitment to your learning and teaching experience while you are studying with us.

  • Pillar 1 – Provide accessible and inclusive teaching and learning across a wide range of vocationally-led courses
  • Pillar 2 – Develop next generation opportunities and skills through innovative, future-focused curriculum and pedagogy
  • Pillar 3 – Shape local and global sectors, promoting sustainable futures and global citizenship

Read our Learning and Teaching Strategy

Sustainable Construction Skills Centre

Opening in September 2023, our brand new Sustainable Construction Skills Centre will offer state-of-the-art facilities specifically designed to develop skills that support employers and their supply chains. These will include:

  • Training rigs
  • Retrofit zone
  • Housebuilding zone
  • Enhanced IT facilities
  • Glulam workshops
  • Modular building workshop
  • Bench joinery workshops
  • BIM labs
  • CAD studios
  • Modern methods of construction workshop
  • Green technologies workshop

Find out more about our facilities

We look forward to seeing you on campus

As you prepare to join us, here's a refresher on some of the essentials:

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