BTEC Level 2 First Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment
The BTEC First Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment is a one-year introductory programme for learners who want to study in the context of a vocational sector. It follows GCSEs and supports young people to progress to a Level 3 course or apprenticeship.
Course Information for Students
Who is this course for?
The BTEC Level 2 First Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment is a one-year course awarded by Pearson and designed for those who would like to gain a broad knowledge and understanding of the construction industry. They can then progress to a Level 3 Diploma or Extended Diploma in either Construction and the Built Environment or Civil Engineering, which are all offered by Derby College Group.
The BTEC First will give learners the opportunity to develop and apply skills in English and mathematics in naturally occurring, relevant contexts. Learners who have GCSE grades in Maths or English below 4 can attend relevant classes while they are on the BTEC Level 2 course and re-sit their GCSE exams before progressing to the Level 3 in Construction and the Built Environment in the following academic year. Please note that progression from the BTEC Level 2 to our Level 3 is subject to achieving a minimum of a Level 2 Merit: MP grade as well as having Maths and English GCSEs at grade 4 or above.
In addition to the main units that you will do in this course, you are expected to complete a minimum of 40 hours work placement in the industry. Participation in work placement preparation workshops and career events would count towards the work placement hours you need to complete. The College will aim to help learners secure a suitable industrial placement, but we encourage students to initiate contact with construction employers for securing a placement themselves and we will provide guidance throughout the process.
You will also participate in tutorial sessions and join our Professional Construction Employment and Skills Academy which has outstanding links with – and support from – numerous local construction companies including contractors, architects, building services firms, civil engineers, quantity surveyors and structural engineers.
In summary, BTEC First will aid progression to further study and, in due course, prepare learners to enter the workplace in one of the following areas: architecture, construction design, building information management, building surveying, quantity surveying, site management, construction project management, site engineering, civil engineering or building services engineering.
You need to be highly motivated and demonstrate a keen personal interest in pursuing a professional construction role. Offers of a place on the course are dependent on your achieved qualifications and successful interview. You will need the following:
- A minimum of four GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including either English or Maths.
Maths is a critical element of this programme and is embedded in the units taken. An additional assessment of suitability may be taken.
What will you learn?
This course allows you to study construction and the built environment, giving you the opportunity to gain a broad knowledge and understanding of the industry. You will develop skills such as interpreting and analysing information, identifying the infrastructure required for safe and efficient work and understanding how client needs can shape building design.
The qualification is 240 Guided Learning Hours (GLH). GLH means activities that directly or immediately involve tutors and assessors in teaching, supervising and invigilating students, for example lectures, tutorials, online instruction, and supervised study. This qualification is aimed at everyone who wants to add breadth to their knowledge and understanding of the construction and the built environment sector as part of their career progression and development. It gives you the opportunity to learn about one of the most important sectors of the UK economy.
These qualifications are built on four mandatory units that form the fundamental knowledge and understanding of construction principles. These units are:
- Unit 1: Construction Technology (30 GLH) – this unit covers the different forms of construction that can be used for low-rise offices, retail units and homes. Learners will develop an understanding of the structural performance required for low-rise construction and explore how substructures and superstructures are constructed. This unit will be externally assessed.
- Unit 2: Construction and Design (30 GLH) – in this unit learners will develop a broad understanding of the construction industry, the sort of projects it undertakes, and the contribution it makes to wider society. Learners will also look at how client needs can shape the design of a building and develop their own design ideas to a given brief.
- Unit 3: Scientific and Mathematical Applications for Construction (30 GLH) – in this unit learners will apply scientific and mathematical knowledge, understanding and skills to practical construction contexts. Learners will develop an understanding of the scientific principles affecting the performance of construction materials and develop skills to perform mathematical calculations in construction contexts.
- Unit 11: Sustainability in Construction (30 GLH) – this unit has been included as a mandatory unit within this qualification as it has been highlighted by employers and stakeholders as a key element in the sector. In this unit learners will develop a broader understanding of the important topic of sustainability and how construction can have an impact on the environment. They will also examine techniques that can be used within construction projects to reduce the impact on the environment and improve the long-term sustainability of a project. This unit will be externally assessed.
In addition to the four mandatory units above, you will study three specialist units chosen by the College. These units are:
- Unit 5: Construction Drawing Techniques (30 GLH)
- Unit 12: The Construction Industry (30 GLH)
- Unit 25: Exploring Building Services Engineering (Double Unit 60 GLH)
Your weekly timetable will include sessions for the seven units detailed above as well as the following timetabled sessions:
- GCSE Maths or English classes
- Employability and Study Skills sessions
How will you learn?
This course is delivered on-site in the Hudson Building on the Roundhouse campus. The course has 240 guided learning hours.
Your weekly timetable will include sessions that cover the topics of the qualification in addition to GCSE Maths or English classes. You will also attend tutorial sessions weekly to develop your employability skills, industrial placement preparation, personal development, social action, performance, wellbeing, and the next steps following your graduation from the course.
We work closely with our partner employers to engage them in the design and delivery of the curriculum where possible. This includes guest lectures from industry specialists and site trips to live construction projects and relevant museums.
Students are expected to undertake private study, preparation for assessment and undertaking assessment when not under supervision, such as preparatory reading, revision, and independent research in order to complete and show achievement for the qualification.
Delivery strategies will reflect the nature of work in the construction and the built environment sector by encouraging learners to research and carry out assessment in the workplace, or in simulated working conditions, wherever possible. The College will engage with local employers for support and input. Learners are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and achievement, taking account of industry standards for behaviour and performance.
For information related to the course assessment, please see the relevant section.
What will you need to bring with you?
We encourage all our learners to comply with our dress code of a uniform shirt (with the Derby College Group Professional Construction logo), smart trousers/skirt, and sensible work shoes (not trainers).
You will also need to purchase various items of equipment, including safety boots for site visits, a scientific calculator and technical drawing equipment. The purchase of appropriate books and e-books is encouraged and guidance on which books to purchase will be given by subject specialists. There may also be a request for contributions to trips and visits as part of our Employment and Skills Academy activities.
How will you be assessed?
The Pearson BTEC First Certificate is a Level 2 qualification; the grades range from Level 2 PP to Level 2 D*D*. Learners who do not achieve at Level 2 may achieve a grade of Level 1 Pass. Learners whose level of achievement is below Level 1 will receive an Unclassified (U) result.
The course is assessed by a mixture of internal and external assessments. It has 25 per cent of the qualification (60 GLH) that is externally assessed; Pearson sets and marks these assessments. This means that two of the units are externally assessed units:
- Unit 1 Construction Technology: this unit is externally assessed by 1 hour and 15 minutes examination in January/June using a paper-based exam marked by Pearson (full mark is 60). The assessment must be taken by the learner under examination conditions. All learners registered from Sept 2018 can resit the external assessment once.
- Unit 11 Sustainability in Construction: this unit is externally assessed by 1 hour and 15 minutes examination in January/June using a paper-based exam marked by Pearson (full mark is 50). The assessment must be taken by the learner under examination conditions.
The external assessments of these two units will help learners as they progress either into higher levels of vocational learning or to related academic qualifications, by providing independent assessment evidence of learning alongside the portfolio-based assessment. This approach will also assist learners in developing a range of transferable skills, and in applying their knowledge in unfamiliar contexts.
The remaining units (Unit 2, 3, 5, 12 and 25) are internally assessed. Internal assessment enables learners to develop a wider range of skills and provide evidence towards meeting the unit assessment criteria. Evidence for assessment can be generated through a range of activities, including written work, practical performance, and verbal presentations.
There is one internal unit, Unit 2 Construction and Design, which has synoptic assessment requiring you to select and integrate knowledge from across the qualification and enables learning to be brought together and related to a real-life situation. Unit 2 requires learners to apply their learning in construction technology to design a client brief for a building. The learners will use mathematical applications from Unit 3 in the design process.
Each individual unit will be awarded a grade of Level 2 Pass, Merit, Distinction or Level 1.
Distinction* is not available at unit level. Learners whose level of achievement is below a Level 1 will receive an unclassified (U) for that unit.
To achieve a Level 2 qualification, learners must:
- complete and report an outcome for all units within the permitted combination (NB Unclassified is a permitted unit outcome) and
- achieve the minimum number of points at a grade threshold from the permitted combination: see the Calculation of Qualification grade table.
Learners who do not achieve a grade at Level 2 may be entitled to achieve a grade of Level 1 Pass where they:
- complete and report an outcome for all units within the permitted combination (NB Unclassified is a permitted unit outcome) and
- achieve the minimum number of points for a Level 1: see the Calculation of Qualification grade table.
The table below shows the number of points scored per unit at each grade.
|Points per grade per 10 guided learning hours|
|Unclassified||Level 1||Level 2 |
|Level 2 |
|Level 2 |
Example: A learner achieves a Level 2 Pass grade for a unit. The unit size is 30 guided learning hours (GLH). Therefore, they gain 12 points for that unit, i.e. 4 points for each 10 GLH, so 12 points for 30 GLH.
The sum of the points from the seven units (240 GLH) will decide the qualification overall grade as illustrated in the table below:
|BTEC First Certificate (240 GLH)|
|Level 2 PP||96|
|Level 2 MP||114|
|Level 2 MM||132|
|Level 2 DM||150|
|Level 2 DD||168|
|Level 2 D*D||174|
|Level 2 D*D*||180|
Following the completion of the BTEC First Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment, learners can progress to the:
- Full-time BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment
- Full-time BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Civil Engineering
Alternatively, and with employment in a qualifying role, students could progress to one of the Level 3 Construction Apprenticeships we support, which will be combined with either:
- Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment
- Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Civil Engineering
Please note all the above courses are offered by Derby College Group. However, progression to our Level 3 courses is subject to achieving a minimum of a Level 2 MP grade in the BTEC First Certificate course as well as having Maths and English GCSEs at grade 4 or above.
This course will pave the way for learners to further their education and eventually purse a career in one of the following job sectors:
- Surveying Technician
- Civil Engineering Design Technician
- Digital Engineering Technician
- Civil Engineering Technician
- Architectural Technician
- Construction Design Coordinator
- Transport Planning Technician
- Rail Engineering Design Technician.
- Building Services Engineering Technician
- Site Engineering Technician
- Site Supervisor
Who do you contact for more information?
For more information, contact Derby College Group on 0800 0280289 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Course Information for Employers
Information for Employers
This course could lead to one of these careers...
Building and Civil Engineering Technicians
Architectural and Town Planning Technicians
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Course Information Last Updated On: October 24, 2022 11:59 am