Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Building Construction: Analysis and Improvement

Course summary

Course code: BUIL1173
Level: 5
Credits: 30
School: Architecture, Computing and Hums
Department: Built Environment
Course Coordinator(s): Stephen Rickards


Pre and co requisites



The aims of the course are:
Analyse and reflect on examine historical and contemporary construction techniques across a range of commonly encountered buildings.
To investigate and examine the types of defects exhibited in the above, and review the effect of such defects upon the building fabric.
To identify commonly encountered remediation works and assess the impact of such works on the structure.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully you will be able to:
Demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of historic and contemporary construction techniques and building defects likely to be encountered during surveying activities.
Apply your knowledge and use site observations and other information to diagnose cause and mechanisms of failure.
Give reasoned advice and make appropriate recommendations, including the preparation and presentation of reports explaining the cause of failure and proposed remediation works.

Indicative content

This course will cover:
Commonly encountered and unusual construction techniques including: Historic Timber Framing, modern timber framing, masonry (brick and stone), steel and concrete framed structures (domestic and commercial.
How to assess the condition of the buildings┬┐ fabric, and the performance of building materials.
Commonly encountered defects such as structural movement, the effects of damp and timber decay, condensation.
The nature and likely impact of remediation work.

Teaching and learning activity

The course will be taught using a combination of formal lectures and tutorial sessions. Formal lecture will primarily focus on traditional construction techniques, material performance and deterioration. Tutorial sessions encompass practical surveying techniques and provide an opportunity for students to explore issues with the peer group through the use of case studies and projects.
Learning Time (1 credit = 10 hours)

Scheduled contact hours:
Note: include in scheduled time: project supervision, demonstrations, practical classes and workshops, supervised time in studio or workshop, scheduled lab work , fieldwork, external visits, work-based learning where integrated into a structured academic programme.
lectures 26;
seminars 0;

supervised practical sessions 24;
tutorials 0;
formative assessment 12;
other scheduled time 0;
Guided independent study:
Note: include in guided independent study preparation for scheduled sessions, follow up work, wider reading or practice, revision.
Independent coursework 228;
Independent laboratory work 0;
other non-scheduled time 0;
Placements (including work placement and year abroad) 0;
Total hours (Should be equal to credit x 10) 300.


Coursework - 50% weighting. 1500 words. Portfolio of written work.

Examination - 50% weighting. Unseen examination.

Pass mark 40%.