Higher National Certificate

This course is subject to validation and approval

Accredited by University College Birmingham




2 years PT






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Department of Sustainable Construction
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217,000 new construction workers needed in the UK by 2025*

*CITB, 2021

Get a recognised Level 4 qualification while you work

The construction industry is in great need of new talent. With multi-billion-pound regeneration and home-building projects planned throughout the UK, the country is anticipated to need hundreds of thousands of skilled workers to join the sector in the next few years. If you want to be part of the solution, our Higher National Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment will arm you with the advanced knowledge to help you make your mark.

This is a part-time higher education course spread over two years. Offering flexibility and designed to fit around work commitments, it is ideal for those who want to continue their education through applied learning and develop their career in the construction industry. Our course explores a range of key themes for the sector, including science and materials, technology, surveying, construction drawing and more.

Throughout your learning, you will be supported by our brand new construction facilities on campus, giving you hands-on experience with the latest technology and equipment used in the industry. By completing our construction HNC course, you will gain a widely recognised Level 4 qualification, supporting your progression within the construction industry as well as opening up opportunities for further study.

Why should I choose this course?

  • PRACTICAL APPLICATION – Get hands-on experience studying in our cutting-edge construction facilities
  • FLEXIBLE LEARNING – Gain a Level 4 qualification studying part-time alongside your working commitments
  • EXPERT TUITION – Learn from experienced lecturers with a wealth of knowledge from working in the construction industry, as well as leading guest speakers
  • AWARD-WINNING UNIVERSITY – Study at the highest-ranking university in the region according to student choice (Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023)

Our facilities

Students on our construction and engineering courses will learn in brand new real-world training environments under development at University College Birmingham. Our Centre for Sustainable Construction at the iconic James Cond building will offer state-of-the-art facilities specifically designed to develop skills that support employers and their supply chains, along with further new facilities at Camden House. These will include:

• Training rigs
• Production line technology
• Industry 4.0 rigs
• Process manufacturing training equipment
• Hydraulics
• Pneumatics
• Renewable energy simulators
• Control engineering rigs
• Cyber physical system
• Mechatronics automation
• PLCs
• Fluid dynamics software
• MATLAB design software
• Enhanced IT facilities

James Cond

Formerly a print works, this historic art deco building is the home of our Centre for Sustainable Construction.

Camden House

Our refurbishment of Camden House will create a bespoke STEM education and training facility.

Course breakdown

Topics you will study

  • Pearson Set Individual Project Construction Technology
  • Science and Materials
  • Construction Practice and Management
  • Legal and Statutory Responsibilities in Construction
  • Construction Information (Drawing, Detailing, Specification)
  • Surveying, Measuring and Setting Out

You will also study two optional modules (TBA).

The modules listed above for this course are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up to date and informed by industry as well as the latest teaching methods. On occasion, we may need to make unexpected changes to modules – if this occurs, we will contact all offer holders as soon as possible.

Entry requirements 

Entry requirements

A-levels: An A-level grade profile of DD.

T-levels: A T-level graded Pass with a core component profile less than C.

BTEC: A BTEC grade profile of PP. This can be achieved from either an Extended Diploma or a combination of smaller BTEC qualifications.

Apprenticeship: Achieve an advanced apprenticeship (Level 3).

Tariff: Other Level 3 qualifications are accepted for entry. A minimum of 32 UCAS Tariff points will be required.

Access to Higher Education Diploma: 32 UCAS Tariff points.

Non-tariff: Non-UCAS Tariff-based Level 3 qualifications are also considered for entry.

GCSEs: You should also have a minimum grade 4 in GCSE Mathematics, or Functional Skills Level 2.

Work-based: We also give equal consideration to applicants who are currently in work and wish to apply to University College Birmingham. To apply, you must have a minimum of 3 years’ relevant work experience, demonstrating management or supervisory duties. Your application must also include a reference from your line manager supporting your entry to higher education. For further details, please contact Admissions.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

You will learn from experienced lecturers and industry professionals through a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, ‘real-world’ simulations and guest lectures. You will also have the chance to use our state-of-the-art facilities.

Assessment occurs through a combination of assignments and activities, with a focus on the holistic development of practical, interpersonal and higher-level skills. Many modules will require a practical demonstration of skills, while others will require you to carry out your own research and analysis, working independently or as part of a team.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

Tuition fees

UK students

If you are a UK student or an EU student with settled/pre-settled status enrolling on a full-time HND in 2023/24, your fee for this academic year will be approximately £9,250 per each full year. UK students do not pay tuition fees for any placement periods.

An HNC is a part-time programme, and the fees would therefore be approximately £4,625 per full year of the programme.

Unibuddy Community - meet other students on your course

Starting university is an exciting time, but we understand that it can sometimes feel a little daunting. To support you, you will be invited to join our Unibuddy Community, where you can meet other students who have applied for the same course at University College Birmingham, before you start studying here.

As soon as you have been made an offer, you will be sent an invitation email to complete your registration and join the Unibuddy Community. For more information, check out our Unibuddy Community page.

Tilbury Douglas is delighted to be working in partnership with University College Birmingham on the development of the new sustainable construction courses. As an employer, it is vital that our employees can access robust, fit-for-purpose qualifications that will address the skills shortage and provide our future and existing workforce with the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to demonstrate competency in their roles. We are passionate about recruiting and developing our own talent for the future, while ensuring we remain committed to sustainably delivering vital infrastructure to communities across the UK. This collaboration will help us to achieve this.

Tilbury Douglas

Career opportunities

The example roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.

Architectural technologist

Average Salary: £25,000

Building surveyor

Average Salary: £26,500

Civil engineer

Average Salary: £30,000

Town planner

Average Salary: £28,000

Building control officer

Average Salary: £41,000

Quantity surveyor

Average Salary: £26,500


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


Find out more

Engineering and Construction at University College Birmingham

Discover more about our new construction and engineering courses and facilities, including our state-of-the-art Centre for Sustainable Construction at University College Birmingham.

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Undergraduate students

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