NC Built Environment

National Certificates (NCs) are practical qualifications designed to equip learners with the knowledge and skills (including Core Skills) required for further study or to gain employment.

The NC in Built Environment at SCQF level 6 develops basic skills in construction methods through a focus on practical activities.

It covers civil engineering site work, construction measurement and costing, and drawing for construction. It also includes introductions to the following areas: environmental building science, modern methods of construction, construction project management, structural concepts, and mechanics for construction.

National Certificates (NCs) are designed for full-time delivery over one year (or part-time over two years) and are available through schools, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

NCs bridge the progression gap from school attainment to HN and other study. They are suitable for school leavers and those seeking a route back into study at non-advanced level. They are trusted qualifications having been developed by practitioners with the support of CITB-Construction Skills, the sector skills council.

The NC in Built Environment is straightforward to deliver and slots readily into college timetables.

It can be offered in any of the following modes:

  • full-time
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • infill into existing classes
  • evening provision
  • January start, ‘Access to HN Course’

National Certificates have e-assessment and e-learning options - improving flexibility and enabling time and cost savings.

National Certificates include opportunities for learners to develop Core Skills.

Who does this qualification suit

This NC is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • learners looking to progress to an HNC/HND
  • migrants to the UK
  • candidates whose first language is not English
  • candidates in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • employers who wish their employees to take part in short, continuing professional development courses
  • individuals who wish to start their own business
  • candidates who are seeking national recognition of their achievements
  • learners who want to study at a pace and style that they determine


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

No prior qualifications are required to undertake this qualification, although learners would benefit from having attained the skills, knowledge and understanding required by one or more of the following or equivalent qualifications and/or experience:

  • three Standard Grades at Level 3 (General) or above, Intermediate 2 or National 4/5 in English, Science, Mathematics or appropriate technical subjects
  • a National Certificate in a related discipline
  • those with other entry qualifications, including work experience, who demonstrate a realistic chance of success
  • a construction craft qualification which might be combined with appropriate further study prior to, or in parallel with, the NC programme

Modern apprenticeships

This qualification can be taken as part of the Construction Technical Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship.


The NC in Built Environment may provide progression opportunities to:

  • an HNC/HND in a Built Environment discipline
    • HNC/HND Architectural Technology
    • HNC/HND Building Surveying
    • HNC/HND Construction Management
    • HNC/HND Quantity Surveying Course
  • degree level study at a higher education institution
  • employment in the construction sector, perhaps as an Architectural Technologist

Once in employment, many continue to study within a Modern Apprenticeship Framework.


Centres not already approved to deliver this qualification need to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

How to assess

Each Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for the Unit.

Assessment of this NC is through a series of theoretical and practical assessments or tasks. Some assessments will be carried out under supervised open-book conditions, others under supervised closed-book conditions.

Each Unit is assessed separately.

Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) are available for selected Units and can be found on SQA’s secure website.

Formative e-assessments have been developed for selected Units and can be downloaded from:

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualifications structure

Group Award code: GJ4F 46 (12 SCQF credit points)

SCQF level: 6

The National Certificate in Built Environment at SCQF level 6 consists of 10 mandatory Unit(s) (60 SCQF credit points) and two optional Units (12 SCQF credit points).

For further information on the structure and Units of this qualification please refer to the Group Award Specification document (809 KB).