Higher National Certificate (HNC) Construction and the Built Environment

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This certificate is awarded by Pearson. Build up your technical construction skills and gain an industry recognised qualification.

The course will prepare students for a range of technical, professional and management careers, such as building surveying, build control and construction management.   

This course is ideal for a day release from an employer and mature students looking to refocus their careers. 

What I'll learn

Year one develops the underpinning knowledge and skills of construction through units such as Construction Technology and Construction Practice and Management. Students will explore different types of construction activity, develop a vocabulary of construction terminology and understand the underlying principles in people and project management.  

Year two focuses on advanced principles including Surveying, Measuring and Setting Out and Tender and Procurement. Providing a well rounded education that provides essential skill with management qualities.

All students will also complete their own Independent Project, many of whom choose to complete within their own work environment to the benefit of their employers.

Year 1 units:

  • Construction information (drawing, detailing, specification)
  • Construction practice and management
  • Surveying, measuring and setting out
  • Construction technology

Year 2 units:

  • Science and materials
  • Legal and statutory responsibilities
  • Individual project
  • One additional unit TBC

The Construction HNC prepares students for employment in the construction and built environment sector, including surveying, architecture, civil engineering and structural engineering.  Students can also progress onto other higher education courses.


How I'll learn

The units are delivered through a variety of techniques to suit different learning styles. You will be supported by a dedicated team to achieve through groupwork, pair activities, action research, discussions, presentations and build projects.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, online learning and practical sessions. You will have the opportunity to implement your own building and design within several of the modules which count towards your overall assessment for the module. 

Online learning is designed to facilitate your own learning and provide a platform to gain knowledge at your own pace, alongside your scheduled lectures.

Class sizes are usually around 17 students, providing the opportunity of full interaction and discussion between the group. 

In addition to your taught lectures, there will be tutorial sessions. These sessions are a combination of taught tutorial time, focusing on the progression of your academic and employability skills, one to one tutorials with your tutor, and a series of seminars and guest speakers to aid your learning and introduce you to new and exciting concepts within your field of study.

You will receive around 7 hours contact time per week, typically consisting of: 

  • 6 hours lectures
  • 1 hour seminars or tutorial time

When not attending guided learning time, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles, books, working on projects and preparing coursework 


How I'll be assessed

The assessments you undergo could be formative or summative:

Formative - Designed to provide you with feedback on your progress and inform you of your on-going development. Formative assessments, such as class exercises, tests, activities, do not form part of your grade.

Summative - Designed to provide a measure of your achievement and performance against learning outcomes, using end of unit assignments to determine your grades.

At each level of study, you will be asked to participate in formative and summative assessment procedures which require you to consider and grade your own work against the agreed assessment criteria. This allows you to reflect upon your own practice with tutors, and to take responsibility for areas of strength and weakness in your work.


Entry Requirements

A typical offer is 64 UCAS points. This may be from:

  • Two A Levels at grade A-C
  • Level 3 National Diploma grade MM
  • Level 3 Extended National Diploma grade MPP
  • Access to HE Diploma; MPP

In addition, applicants should possess GCSE English and Maths at grade C or above (or equivalent).

We also welcome students returning to education who possess strong industry related experience. We support widening participation and encourage applicants with non-standard qualifications.  

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate that their level of English is acceptable, by achieving a score in a recognised test such as:

  • British Council IELTS: normally a minimum level 6.0 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in the reading and writing components
  • TOEFL minimum score of 550 paper-based or 213 computer-based or 80 internet-based.  

Credit transfer and Accreditation of Prior Learning

Applicants with prior certificated or experiential learning may be admitted with credit for up to a maximum of 120 credits at Level 4.


How to Apply

Applicants should apply directly to Reading College. Call 0800 371 434 for more information.

Home/EU Fee for 2019 entrance: £3,200 per year  

Additional costs: Optional trips, additional printing over and above the £5 allowance provided by the college, cost of books that you might wish to purchase. We strongly recommend purchasing a laptop for your course.  

For more information, please contact the HE Admissions Coordinator, Sue Taylor on

International Fee: Please contact the HE Admissions Coordinator, Sue Taylor on


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