Building functional, sustainable housing – A closer look at our Year 13 BSc Access Module. Guest blog by our Tutor, Paul Fitchett

Posted on: 1 May, 2020

In just under a fortnight’s time, a number of Year 13 students who would have been taking their A-levels this summer will instead begin on our bespoke BSc Access Module, experiencing online degree-level study for the first time.


The module they will study is titled ‘Building, Environment, Technology and Simple Construction’ and has been chosen as the module best suited for school leavers to make the step up to university education.


Our Tutor, Paul Fitchett, first developed the module six years ago for online delivery, updating it in the years since to keep up with recent developments. Here, he writes about what students can expect about the content of the module…


Paul Fitchett


The module follows a simple structure. The first few weeks are an introduction looking at the foundations, floors, walls and roofs of houses and this leads on to the first assignment which tests students on the basic structure of a house.

After the first assignment, you go into more of the science and materials, looking at themes such as heat loss and sustainability. You also look at services and drainage and finish the module on the final assignment.

The second assignment is a continuation from the first assignment, developing the basic knowledge you learnt at the start and looking at how you can build sustainable, low-energy houses.

We look at different methods of construction including modern methods of construction, and there are plenty of staff members, both on the academic side and student support side, available to help students throughout the module.


The module works and the students in my experience enjoy it. Students do a couple of exercises where they have to work out calculations on foundations and floors in a house. This challenges them but the majority really enjoy stepping up to the challenge. It changes perceptions as some say they have been putting down foundations for years and are learning something new so that’s a bit of a hit.

The students also really enjoy the learning on energy conservation, and it interests those who are passionate about sustainability in buildings.

Relevance to the sector

There was a pre-cursor to this module before I helped adapt it as an online module but the same basic structure of it remains the same and the material covers competencies required by our accrediting bodies – RICS and the CIOB.

Quantity surveyors and building surveyors have an understanding of how things are built. That is the core of this module. The module is applicable to students across all our undergraduate programmes.


Are you in Year 13 and like the sound of understanding how houses are built? Head to our Year 13 BSc Access Module webpage to find out more and see if you’d like to take advantage of our heavily discounted £195 module offer this summer.

Note: If you are in Year 13 and are from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, have a declared disability or live in a disadvantaged area with lower than average participation rate in Higher Education, you are eligible to study on the module for free thanks to the CSTT’s sponsorship scheme. Have a look at our news story on the sponsorship for more.