School of Architecture, Design and Environment

BSc (Hons) Building Surveying and the Environment

Lay the foundations for a successful career as a building surveyor, as you build your knowledge and skills in the physical care, repair and refurbishment of buildings. The combination of lectures, field trips, site visits, tutorials and an optional year-long paid industry placement will prepare you for a range of potential routes in the construction sector including building surveying, quantity surveying, property management or building regulation.

Key features

  • Launch your career – 85 per cent of graduates from this programme are in professional or managerial employment within just six months of graduation (unistats).
  • Our building courses were ranked sixth in the country in the The Times and the Sunday Times League Table 2015.
  • Explore the industry with site visits and field trips (including a fully funded European field trip), observing construction practices within and outside the UK.
  • Learn from leaders in their fields - our staff come from both industry and research backgrounds. You’ll have the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals and have access to an exciting and diverse programme of visiting speakers.
  • Lead the way in the industry - the environmental focus of our course enables you to place yourself at the forefront of the sector, able to embrace the trend of stricter environmental and energy-based legislation.
  • Gain valuable workplace experience with a paid year-long placement in a leading construction company in the UK or abroad. Our industry links will help you find a placement, boosting your studies with practical experience and cultivating the contacts that can lead to future employment.
  • Have a real-world impact as you engage in industry-led group projects with genuine project briefs and clients. Guided by our panel of industrial advisers, you’ll develop the professional skills and networking to stand out in this sector.
  • Our course is fully accredited by the leading professional bodies recognised for building surveyors including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)  and the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In Year 1, you'll develop your understanding of the principles of low-rise domestic buildings, including building technologies, services, construction methods, and materials of both new and existing buildings. You’ll also gain knowledge of construction and project management practices, preparing you to take on building projects of your own. An industry-led group project will see you work as part of a team to design an energy efficient housing development.
    Core modules
    • BLDG403 Building Science and Services

      This module introduces students to building science and physics, necessary to appreciate how buildings perform. Laboratory-based sessions allow students to experience the measurement and assessment of building performance by practical experimentation with thermal comfort, daylighting, noise levels, and electricity consumption. Students also gain an understanding of the nature and provision of services in domestic buildings.

    • CIVL102 Construction Materials and Site Surveying

      This module provides a theoretical and practical understanding of key construction materials and site surveying practices. The origins, properties, quality, specification, sustainability and environmental impact of a range of construction materials are investigated. This is combined with an appreciation for the need to accurately locate features on site.

    • ATE402 Design Praxis and Technology

      This module will provide the opportunity for students to develop their designing skills in response to people, place and Tectonics, and foster students¿ creativity through the development of their practical and intellectual skills.

    • BLDG401 Fundamentals of Construction

      This module introduces students to the construction industry and the relationship between construction and the local, regional and global environment and presents the characteristics and requirements of the different professional disciplines involved in construction industry. It also provides students with fundamental knowledge, underlying concepts and principles in the areas of domestic building technology and the construction process.

    • BLDG404PP ICT for Architecture and Construction Projects

      This module provides students with the information, communication, graphical representation and digital modelling skills needed for the design, construction and management of building projects by means of a combination of lectures and 2D CAD and BIM practicals, which will incorporate support on a one-to-one basis.

    • BLDG402 Principles of Economics and Management

      This module presents the fundamental economic and financial techniques used to critically analyse the cost of a project and its financial feasibility. The module also introduces the students to the communication and team management theories and techniques necessary to successfully complete construction projects.

    • FAPY100 Stage 1 Placement Preparation

      If you’re undertaking a company placement in your third year, this module helps you find a suitable placement, and prepares you for the placement itself.

  • Year 2
  • Delve more deeply into the principles of non-domestic buildings in Year 2, including building technologies, services, construction methods and materials. Advance your knowledge of building lifecycles, domestic building defects, diagnosis, and building condition surveying. Your industry-led group project will see you design and build, or retrofit, a complex high-rise building. Top it all off with a fully paid European field trip.
    Core modules
    • BLDG505 Building Services Engineering

      This module provides students with further knowledge, underlying concepts and principles in the areas of building science and building services for large and innovative buildings. Students will employ a range of techniques for the quantification of buildings performance and services, including computer simulation.

    • BLDG504 Building Surveying Principles and Practices

      This module aims to ensure the students acquire and practice knowledge and skills that are essential to core building surveying practice. The module will help students gain knowledge of building pathology and forensics, including diagnosis of common building defects in domestic scale buildings, causes of building deterioration, development of a professional condition survey, and health and safety practices in remediating building defects.

    • BLDG506 Contract Procedures

      Construction projects normally involve a large number of individual companies due to the fragmented supply chain in the sector. This module allows students to appreciate the complexity associated with procurement and project contract administration. It provide students with a deeper understanding of cost estimating, project feasibility studies and dispute resolution in the construction industry. Students will also gain practical experience of using computer programs used for cost estimating.

    • ATE502 Integrated Design 2

      This module introduces students, issues of site and context leading to an architectural design project (a public/semi-public building) is the focus for considering how the coherent integration of a range of factors impinge upon the development of a design at a detailed scale with an emphasis on issues in constructional, environmental and structural systems, (building physics). Students will demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of these, through application to given studio design projects.

    • BLDG502 Property development and refurbishment

      This module will introduce you to the reuse and adaptation of existing buildings, as well as provide a detailed understanding of the technical, environmental and regulatory aspects associated with building refurbishment and the retrofitting process. The module will also provide you with an understanding of planning and development procedures for existing building projects.

    • FAPY200 Stage 2 Placement Preparation

      Building on the Level 1 module (FAPY100), this module continues to support you with the search for your placement and preparation for the placement itself.

    • BLDG501 Technology of Large and Innovative Buildings

      This module will expand the knowledge in building technology and processes gained in Year 1. Focusing on the design and construction of framed buildings, the module provides the student with a full understanding of current and innovative building technologies, materials and systems used in high performance framed buildings.

  • Placement year
  • Take advantage of an optional year of paid professional training by undertaking an industry placement with a company in the UK or abroad. During your placement you will work alongside an experienced building surveyor, allowing you to put into practice the knowledge and skills gained in your first two years of study. The practical skills gained help prepare you for both the final year of your degree, and most importantly for entering the workplace after graduation.
    Core modules
    • FAPY302 Building Surveying and Construction Management Placement

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study and to prepare for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Final year
  • Cement your skillset as you build an in-depth knowledge of the diagnosis and solution of building defects. Develop an understanding of facility management, project management, team management, and risk management, and apply these skills through an industry-led consultancy project of a site development. Lead your own research project in a building surveying subject of your choice.
    Core modules
    • BLDG604 Building and Property Law

      This module focuses on the complex legal environment faced by construction professionals. It provides the students with an understanding of key legal principles in negligence, nuisance, trespass and other torts as well as key concepts in property and construction law. It also examines obligations and liabilities in a construction and property context.

    • BLDG607 Building Surveying Professional Practice

      This module addresses a detailed appreciation of the core activities undertaken and managed by practising building surveyors, including diagnosis and remediation of complex building defects, facility management, and other professional services provided by building surveyors. The module focuses on embedding knowledge and understanding issues faced by modern professionals in delivering their services in a professional and ethical manner.

    • BLDG602 Dissertation Project

      The dissertation project provides students with a vehicle to undertake in depth research in a subject of their choice. Students undertaking this module will have developed a research proposal that is based on a solid general knowledge of the discipline of construction in BLDG601. This module builds on this introduction to research methods and carries out the actual research.

    • BLDG605 Multidisciplinary Project 3

      This is primarily a student led project module encouraging the integration of knowledge and skills developed on the programme. The module involves applied research and undertaking a realistic professional commission in a collaborative and multidisciplinary computer mediated exercise, where each student is required to complete those tasks relevant to the specific discipline.

    • BLDG601 Research Methods in the Built Environment

      This module provides students with a solid basis to undertake in depth research in a subject of their choice. It requires students to develop a research proposal that is based on a solid general knowledge of their discipline in construction. For students progressing to BLDG602, this module provides students with an understanding of the research methods necessary to undertake a dissertation in a built environment related topic.

    • BLDG603 Sustainable and Safe Construction

      With the aim of achieving a more sustainable and safe construction industry in mind, this module provides students with in-depth understanding and critical awareness in sustainability and safety related issues related to the built environment. The module focuses on developing the skills to critically appraise and reduce the impact of buildings and construction on environmental, economic, social and health and safety aspects whilst meeting the needs of a sustainable built environment.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Hons Building Surveying and the Environment 0747

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS Tariff
300 points from a minimum of two A levels.

International Baccalaureate
32 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma

Mathematics and English Language grade C.

All relevant international qualifications will be considered - please contact

  • Other combinations and non-A level qualifications also considered.
  • Second year entry possible with a good HNC/HND or equivalent.
  • Equivalent qualifications and industry experience can be considered.
You will be required to attend an interview.

Candidates concerned about meeting this offer are encouraged to contact

English language requirements

Fees & funding

New students 2015-16

Please note the fees listed are per annum.

Please use the tables below to find your tuition fee if you are a new undergraduate student beginning your studies in 2015-16. Please note the fees listed are for 2015-16 only.

If you can’t find the answer to your query in the information provided here please get in touch, we’ll be happy to help. 

Email us at or call us on +44 1752 588130.

Full time Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Management, Government and Law Foundation - Year Zero £7,500 £10,300 £9,000
2 year fast-track £9,000 £12,250 -
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Master of Architecture (MArch) £9,000 - £9,000
PGCE £9,000 - £9,000
Management Practice (Online) (First year - part time) £3,996 £3,996 £3,996

Part time (per 10 credits) Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £750 £1,045 £750
Management, Government and Law Foundation - Year Zero £625 £860 £625
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
PGCE £750 - £750

*The tuition fee for students transferring to Plymouth University from a partner institution is £9,000. 

**Please refer to the policy for capping of international student tuition fees.

***‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Continuing students

Please note some fees for continuing students may differ slightly. 

For a full listing please visit our fees for continuing students 2015-16 page

Further information

Download our fees brochure

Read our Student Fee Policy for the Ordinary Degree route

Plymouth University provides a wide range of financial support to help you during your time with us. For more information regarding tuition fees and scholarships and bursaries please visit our fees and funding pages.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.


The Times and Sunday Times University League Table 2015 ranks our construction and surveying courses sixth in the country for the subject area of Building.

The high ranking of our building courses nationally is testament to the huge team effort in delivering high quality teaching and research.

Industry-led group projects

Put your knowledge and teamwork skills into practice in professional industry scenarios, with a real client and project brief

Benefit from the expert advice of more than thirty industry professionals providing guidance via seminars and tutorials

Find out more about the industry-led projects

Industry placement

A placement year gives you access to professional knowledge, experience and contacts. It may even lead directly to employment.

Kick start your career with a year long paid placement in a leading construction company in the UK or abroad.

Find out more about placements

European field trip

Observe building energy efficiency strategies and construction practices in exemplary European cities.

The trip will give you a great opportunity to engage with your fellow students and lecturers in a new environment.

More about the field trip

Graduate Profile - Oliver Werby

I was sold on Plymouth University after attending an Open Day there. I spent my placement year at Malcolm Hollis LLP in their Birmingham office and on the back of my placement year I was offered a job with their London Office.

BSc (Hons) Building Surveying and the Environment graduate Oliver shares his insights about his time with Plymouth University.

Read more about Oliver’s journey through to beginning his career

Plymouth University Building Society

PUBS is a society for those studying construction related degrees who want a head-start in the industry

With the student society for Environmental Building you can participate in site visits, guest lectures, socials and trips away

Visit the PUBS website for more information

Environmental building with the School of Architecture, Design and Environment

Future buildings should consume less materials, be energy efficient, durable and comfortable, whilst also attractive and useful for society

Learn how to design, construct, upgrade and operate the buildings of the future with the environmental building discipline.

Learn more about environmental building

Applicant buddies

Are you an applicant or thinking of applying to university? Do you want to speak to a current student about their experiences? We know that thinking about coming to university can seem a bit daunting, so we have a scheme to help - applicant buddies.

Dr Steve Butts, Associate Dean: Teaching and Learning

Chat to our applicant buddies