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HNC in Construction (Building Services – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)

If you are employed as a technician, in management or in designing HVAC systems in the building services engineering sector within the construction and the built environment industry, this two-year part-time course is an ideal way of moving your career forward. You can study this HNC qualification as standalone or as part of the higher apprenticeship standard “Level 4 - Building Services Engineering Senior Technician” which is also offered by the Professional Construction Department at DCG.

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Course Summary

Subject Area: Professional Construction
Higher Education
Location: The Roundhouse
Full Time or Part Time: PT
Level: 4
Number Of Years: 2
Interview Required?: Y
Weeks: 34
Hours: 8.00
Start: 16/09/2024
Tuition: £4250 Per Year
The Roundhouse

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Course Information for Students

Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals are designed to help students secure the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to succeed in the workplace. They represent the latest in professional standards and provide opportunities for students to develop behaviours for work, for example by undertaking a group project, or responding to a client brief. 

At the same time, the BTEC Higher Nationals are intended to keep doors open for future study should a student wish to progress further in their education. They do this by allowing space for the development of higher education study skills, such as the ability to research, problem-solving, cognitive, and interpersonal skills. 

If you are employed as a technician, in management or in designing Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in the building services sector within the construction and the built environment industry, this two-year part-time course is an ideal way of moving your career forward. You can study this HNC qualification as standalone or as part of the higher apprenticeship standard “Level 4 – Building Services Engineering Senior Technician” which is also offered by the Professional Construction Department at DCG.

Building services engineers play a key role in construction projects, having significant influence in assessing the energy demands and sustainability of a building. Within the sector, exciting opportunities are emerging in areas such as sustainability, low carbon technologies, energy management and renewable energy. Building services engineers therefore play a significant role in combating climate change, addressing the Net Zero Strategy and advising clients and architects on meeting current regulations.

Working in the industry and studying at the same time will require you to have good time management and organisational skills. However, it should also offer you the opportunity to utilise the skills you have learned in your professional practice. Your own industrial practice will be a welcome asset to promote experiential learning and peer support throughout the course.

This qualification has been developed to meet the requirements of several professional bodies including the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers (CIPHE).

You need to be highly motivated and working in the building services industry. You should have at least one of the following:

  • Level 3 qualification with an overall grade equivalent of “Merit”. This could be a BTEC Level 3 qualification in Building Services Engineering, a BTEC Level 3 qualification in Construction and The Built Environment, three A-Levels in relevant subjects or Level 3 in Engineering. An international equivalent of the above is also accepted.
  • Relevant work/industrial experience of five years (Full-time). If this work experience is not supported by education qualifications such as GCSEs then a minimum proficiency in Maths and English at Level 2 need to be evidenced.

Please note ‘In line with the Consumer Act and as articulated in our Student Protection Plan, we reserve the right to close a course, if there are insufficient students to make the course viable’.

The qualification is 480 guided learning hours (GLH) and 120 credits. You will study eight units in total over two academic years (four units a year, each unit is 15 credits). Seven of these units are mandatory whereas the eighth unit is optional and can be chosen by the college from a list of available units. The choice of the optional unit depends on several factors, such as meeting employers’ current demands, the construction sector’s developments, and the availability of specialist teaching staff for delivery of these units.

The units in this qualification include:

  • Unit 1: Individual Project (Theme is set by the awarding body) – Mandatory
  • Unit 2: Construction Technology – Mandatory
  • Unit 4: Construction Practice and Management – Mandatory
  • Unit 8: Mathematics for Construction – Mandatory
  • Unit 9: Principles of Heating Services Design and Installation– Mandatory
  • Unit 10: Principles of Ventilation and Air Conditioning Design and Installation – Mandatory
  • Unit 48: Scientific Principles for Building Services – Mandatory
  • Unit 16: Principles of Alternative Energy – Optional (choice of optional unit may be changed based on the availability of the teaching staff).

This course is delivered on-site in Hudson and Stephenson Buildings in the Roundhouse campus. This course is part-time which means you will attend college one day a week. The course has 480 guided learning hours (240 per year). Guided learning hours mean activities that directly or immediately involve tutors and assessors in teaching, supervising and invigilating students, for example lectures, tutorials, online instruction, and supervised study.

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. 

We work closely with our partners to engage them in the design and delivery of the curriculum where possible. This includes guest lectures from industry specialists, professional bodies and visiting academics.

During your study of this course, you will attend academic and study skills tutorials and have access to the college’s ‘HE 360˚ Hub’ which aims to enhance HE-learning and provide you with easy access to information and advice. The ‘HE 360˚ Hub’ consists of 4 support services:

  • Higher Education (HE) Academic Coaches who work collaboratively with HE students offering confidential, personalised support to help you develop the academic skills you need for your course.
  • Library services with a collection of core textbooks and journals (both physical and digital resources).
  • Careers and Employability Advice
  • Inclusion and Support: Whatever your inclusion need (learning difficulty or disability) we can work with you; develop your use of assistive technology and where needed help you apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).

In addition to the above, the Professional Construction Department at DCG offers HE students access to industry-standard software such as Autodesk and Microsoft Project as well as the Construction Information Service (CIS) online tool developed by IHS Markit and NBS. CIS gives you quick access to current regulations, construction standards, technical advice and industry news on building, engineering, design, and construction processes in the UK. Updated weekly, the CIS offers a powerful search engine to find authoritative information from over 26,000 documents for every stage of the construction lifecycle from design and completion to operation and maintenance. Easy-to-use search filters allow you to access full text copies of British standards, CIBSE documents, and technical data from over 500 publishers.       

Every term there is a Programme Committee Meeting (PCM) where the HE-Course leader, HE-teaching staff, and student representatives review the management, delivery, and assessment of the Curriculum. This is an ongoing process where we aim to improve the quality of the course.

Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals are also supported by a specially designed range of digital resources, to ensure that students have the best possible experience during the course. These are available from the HN Global website, 

For information related to the course assessment, please see the relevant section.

You will need to purchase a scientific calculator for the mathematical calculations in your course work. For voice-over PowerPoint presentations you will need access to a microphone. 

You will also need access to a computer or laptop with internet, Windows 7 Operating System or above, Microsoft Office 2010 or above, and the ability to run AutoCAD Architecture which can be downloaded for free. 

The purchase of appropriate books and e-books is encouraged and guidance on which books to purchase will be given by subject specialists. 

BTEC Higher Nationals are assessed using a combination of centre-devised internal assignments (which are set and marked by centres) and Pearson-set assignments (which are set by the awarding body and marked by centres). For this HNC, only one unit (Unit 1 – individual Project) is assessed by a mandatory Pearson-set assignment targeted at particular skills. The other seven units are assessed and marked by the college.

For your course assessments, you will produce academic reports and undertake technical assignments where you will have the opportunity to solve technical problems closely aligned with industrial building services and construction scenarios. Evidence for some of the assessments will be generated through a range of activities, including practical performance, verbal presentations and tasks/projects completed both individually and as part of a team.

The grade awarded to each unit is dependent on the level of achievement attained by the student for each of the assessment criteria related to that specific unit. 

  • To achieve a Pass, a student must have satisfied all the Pass criteria for the unit’s learning outcomes, showing coverage of the unit content and therefore attainment at Level 4 of the national framework.
  • To achieve a Merit, a student must have satisfied all the Merit criteria (and therefore the Pass criteria) through high performance in each learning outcome.
  • To achieve a Distinction, a student must have satisfied all the Distinction criteria (and therefore the Pass and Merit criteria), and these define outstanding performance across the unit as a whole.

After completion of assessments, each individual unit will be awarded a grade of either Distinction (D), Merit (M), Pass (P), or Unclassified (U). Units that have been attempted but not achieved, will appear as ‘Unclassified’, i.e. a ‘U’ grade, on the student’s Notification of Performance, that is issued with the student certificate.

To achieve a Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate qualification a student must have: 

  • completed 8 units equivalent to 120 credits at level 4.
  • achieved at least a pass in 105 credits at level 4 (i.e. passed 7 of the 8 units).

The calculation of the overall qualification grade is based on the student’s performance in all units. Students are awarded a Pass, Merit or Distinction overall qualification grade, based on unit achievement, and using the points gained through all 120 credits.

The table below shows the number of points available for completed units based on the grade awarded:

Points per grade per each unit of size 15 credits
Unclassified (U)Pass (P)Merit (M)Distinction (D)

The sum of the points from the 8 units will decide the qualification overall grade as illustrated in the table below:

Overall grade calculation for the BTEC HNC (120 credits)
Grade*Points threshold
Pass420 – 599 
Merit600 – 839 

*Please note students can still be awarded an HNC if they have not achieved a Pass in one of the 15-credit units completed, but have completed and passed the remaining seven units. Learners who do not meet the minimum requirements to be awarded a qualification grade may receive a Notification of Performance for the individual units they completed.

The purpose of BTEC HNC in Construction (Building Services – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) is to develop students as professional, self-reflecting individuals able to meet the demands of employers in the Construction and Building Services Engineering sectors and adapt to a constantly changing world. The qualification aims to widen access to higher education and enhances the career prospects of those who undertake it.

You could progress to an HND Level 5 or to a BSc/BEng degree or degree apprenticeship (Level 6) in a related discipline, drawing on the broad knowledge base you will have gained from this course.

Completing this Level 4 Higher National Certificate will pave the way into employment in one of the following job roles:

  • Heating/Cooling System Designer
  • Heating/Cooling System Installer
  • Acoustics Designer/Installer

We encourage you to become a member of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) at licentiate level.

For more information contact Derby College on 0800 0280289 or

In line with the Consumer Act and our Student Protection Plan, we reserve the right to close a course – if there are insufficient student numbers to make the course financially viable.

Course Information for Employers

If you are an employer and would like to know more about the apprenticeships and professional training we deliver or how you can get involved in co-creating and co-delivering curriculum, please contact us via email on, call us on 01332 387 421 or visit our employer pages here.

Career Information

This course could lead to one of these careers...

Building and Civil Engineering Technicians


Building and Civil Engineering Technicians

Roofers, Roof Tilers and Slaters


Roofers, Roof Tilers and Slaters


Engineering Professionals


Engineering Professionals

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Course Information Last Updated On: March 25, 2024 11:56 am