HNC Construction and the Built Environment (Building Services Engineering)

Welcome to Building Services Engineering

This is a programme to address the national skills shortage within the field of building services engineering and specifically for plumbing/heating engineers and electricians. It is an excellent opportunity to gain both a qualification and skills within a challenging and rewarding discipline. There are a number of career paths and many job prospects both locally, nationally and internationally.

The programme will provide broad based core studies which will develop skills and knowledge to manage, design and install building services engineering systems. Optional modules will develop specialist pathways particularly in Electrical Installation and Mechanical Services Engineering.

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Course IntroductionModulesEntry RequirementsGraduate CareersAdditional

Your profile

You are ambitious, motivated and have an interest in design. You are analytical, enjoy problem-solving and want to explore your opportunities in the building services sector.

Your subject

Building Services Engineers play a vital role in the design, installation and maintenance of buildings and structures. They influence architecture and play a significant part in the sustainability and energy demands of a building; making them essential to the construction process. As concern for the environment grows, so too does the need for construction graduates. Across the world, buildings account for over half of all carbon emissions; meaning Building Services Engineers are vital in combating global climate change. Growth in renewable energy, sustainability, low carbon technologies and energy management has led to the demand for new roles within the sector, creating many opportunities for new graduates to take advantage of.

Your course

You will be at the cutting-edge of designing, developing and managing new technologies that help to reduce the carbon emissions of a building. You will explore issues relating to renewable energy, sustainability and energy management. You will develop skills and knowledge to manage, design and install Building Services Engineering systems. Units delivered throughout will cover a vast array of key skills and subjects, including science, maths, principles of heating services, principles of alternative energy, principles of air conditioning design and installation, amongst other units that are vital to the industry and the development of your key skills. This programme is designed in conjunction with industry professionals and professional bodies to deliver a broad-based education and understanding in electrical building services and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning routes.

Your future

Upon graduation, you will leave with the skills, knowledge, qualification and confidence to ensure you have a thriving career in the construction industry. You will benefit from the use of freshly developed transferable skills, such as the abilities to problem-solve and work well as part of a team while remaining self-proficient. You will join other successful University Centre Colchester construction graduates who have gone on to become facilities managers or project installation managers for private contractors or within large public organisations, such as the National Health Service (NHS).

Undergraduate courses operate on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Each module is worth a specified number of credits, with most modules counting for 20 or 40 academic credits (depending on the programme), with each credit taken equating to a total amount of study time which includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Most full-time students will take modules worth 60 credits per semester, with part-time students taking proportionately fewer credits per semester. A total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits are needed for an honours degree as a whole. Overall grades for the course and degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6.

Our teaching is informed by research, professional practice and industry engagement and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

Course Overview Course Modules

You will be expected to hold a Level 3 qualification in your occupational area, such as a City & Guilds 2330 Certificate in Electrotechnical Technology, a City & Guilds 6129 Plumbing or other equivalent qualification, as well as a minimum of two years’ experience in the relevant industry.

*UCAS Tariff points where shown, are for entry on to higher education programmes starting from September 2023.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0, with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Additional requirements for International Students:

  • You must provide evidence of having been in general education for at least 10 years and of having studied within the last five years
  • a face-to-face interview is required before an offer is made.

Our graduates who do not go on to further study, go on to a wide range of careers with in the construction industry. These career sectors include, but are not limited to, construction (supervising and operations), design (residential and commercial), electrical technology, building control, building surveyor, restoration and estimator.

Design: Designing layouts and requirements for building services for residential or commercial developments.

Construction: Supervising the construction of the building services, commissioning systems and ongoing maintenance and operation of services.

Environmental: Developing new energy saving methods for construction, designing new and improved energy conservation systems for buildings.

Plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)Specialising in the design, development, construction and operation of HVAC systems.

Electrical technology: Specialising in the design and development of electrical systems required for the safe and energy sustaining operation of buildings.

Timetables: Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week.

Teaching and Learning: You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practicals. Seminars enable smaller group discussions to develop understanding of topics covered in lectures.

When not attending lectures, seminars and practicals or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-directed study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, learning zone or technical learning resources, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations

Assessment: The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

 Feedback: You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

HNC Construction and the Built Environment (Building Services Engineering)
LevelLevel 4
Duration2 Years
Course CodeZT15841
Academic Year2023-2024
Study ModePart-Time
Campus / Adult Skills CentreUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2023
ApplicationsThis course is closed for applications
Fee(s)2024-25: TBC
Awarding/Validation BodyPearson
Course Overview

Building services engineering is the engineering of the internal environment and the environmental impact of a building. It essentially brings buildings and structures to life.  Building services engineers also work closely with other construction professionals such as architects, structural engineers and quantity surveyors.

Building services engineers influence the architecture of a building and play a significant role in the sustainability and energy demand of a building. Within building services engineering, new roles are emerging, for example in the areas of renewable energy, sustainability, low carbon technologies and energy management. With buildings accounting for around 50% of all carbon emissions, building services engineers play a significant role in combating climate change.

Course Modules

Module Code and Title:

R/615/1387 – Unit 1: Individual Project (Pearson-set) (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
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.

What do I learn?
You will be able to identify, define, plan, develop and execute a successful project by working through a clear process.

What’s the assignment?
There is one assignment which is set by Pearson but marked internally. Students will negotiate a project based around a theme identified by Pearson. The submission will involve the completion of a project file and a presentation.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Y/615/1388 – Unit 2: Construction Technology (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
This module is designed to inform the students’ knowledge of substructure, superstructure, finishes, building services, and infrastructure components.

What do I learn?
You will be able to analyse scenarios and select the most appropriate construction technology solution considering the ever increasing financial, environmental, legal, and economic constraints.

What’s the assignment?
There will be two assignments and one group presentation. The first assignment will be initial written work demonstrating theoretical understanding of substructure construction methods. The second assignment will investigate building services. The presentation will ask you to present structural form solutions to different scenarios.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

D/615/1389 – Unit 3: Science & Materials (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
This unit aims to support students to make material choices to achieve the desired outcomes of a brief.

What do I learn?
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.

What’s the assignment?
There will be two assessments to complete. The first will be an assignment to develop and write a report on the health and safety and environmental and sustainable aspects that influence the material choices for a construction project. The second assessment will be a written demonstration of your understanding of a range of issues related to human comfort requirements and the performance criteria of various construction materials.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

R/615/1390 – Unit 4: Construction Practice & Management (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
This module is designed to develop and provide students with a holistic understanding of construction practice and management processes.

What do I learn?
Throughout the module, you will develop your understanding of the various types of construction companies operating in the market place and will also focus on how health and safety has evolved and how Building Information Modelling (BIM) fits into construction projects.

What’s the assignment?
There will be three assessments to complete. One will be course work on the construction industry and company structures and the second will be the key stages in a construction project. The final assignment will investigate collaboration strategies in support of a greater recognition of health and safety.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

K/615/1394 – Unit 8: Mathematics for Construction (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
This module is designed to develop the students’ skills in mathematical principles and theories. Students will analyse and solve problems in a construction engineering context using statistical and mathematical methods.

What do I learn?
You will be able to employ mathematical techniques within a variety of contextualised examples. You will have the opportunity to expand your existing knowledge of mathematics but in a construction-related environment.

What’s the assignment?
There will be three assessments to complete. All will involve mathematical problems related to construction-based scenarios and will involve statistics, wave and vector functions, together with integral and differential calculus.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

M/615/1395 – Unit 9: Principles of Heating Services Design & Installation (15 Credits)

What’s it about?
This module is designed to introduce the students to the principles of design and installation of heating systems for non-domestic buildings.

What do I learn?
You will be able to produce design data for heating installations with the calculation of U-values, identify heating loads, losses, and plant capacity, and be able to specify heating systems and components. There will also be an investigation into commissioning, testing and handover procedures.

What’s the assignment?
There will be three assignments. The first part will be initial written work identifying the pre-design information required for a non-domestic heating system. The second will involve the analysis of heating loads and losses and the third a design of a non-domestic heating system for a given building type.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Y/615/1407 – Unit 21: Site Supervision & Operations (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

This module is designed to develop the students’ ability to manage the diverse groups of people on a construction site. It will also investigate how to monitor and assess work on site to ensure the successful completion of a project.

What do I learn?

You will be able to develop the skills and techniques necessary to manage the people and processes on a construction site ensuring the correct quality of work is achieved, safe working practices are maintained, and different trades are able to interact with each other.

What’s the assignment?

There will be three assignments. The first part will be initial written work demonstrating the evaluation of construction information to determine quality requirements. The second will require you to produce a report on construction and material defects and recommended remedial actions, and the third will require you to produce a health and safety plan and recommend methods for evaluating and improving the performance of site staff.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.


In addition students will study a minimum of four specialist units, some examples are:

  • Principles of Ventilation & Air-conditioning Design and Installation
  • Low Pressure Hot Water Heating for Non-Domestic Buildings
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
  • Heating Systems for Industrial and Specialist Applications
  • Piped Distribution Services for Non-Domestic Buildings
  • Electricity and Lighting
  • Electrical Installation for Building Services Engineering
  • Lighting Applications for Industrial and Commercial Buildings
  • Power Supplies for Building Services Engineering
  • Project Design, Implementation and Evaluation
  • Work-Based Experience


All Fees and prices shown on the website are for courses starting in the 2023-24 academic year and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

The course information describes programmes offered by University Centre Colchester at Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. University Centre Colchester at Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.