HNC/HND Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC and HND Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology give learners the opportunity to develop the practical skills and underpinning knowledge of architectural technology, as well as the use of CAD for the production of 3-dimensional architectural models and 2-dimensional drawings.

The qualifications cover areas such as architectural CADT principles and practice; residential design; form, order and composition; and CAD user systems.

Optional units include statutory control of buildings; building information modelling; and digital collaboration practices.

The Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology qualifications are available through colleges. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.

Alternative assessment guidance

This subject will not have alternative assessment guidance for session 2023-24. You should refer to the Group Award/Unit specifications for detailed delivery and assessment information. For general support on delivery and assessment see the HNVQ assessment guidance 2023-24.

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry ¿ so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

There is a wide choice of optional units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression). 

The qualifications are aimed at learners wishing to pursue a career working in the construction sector as an architectural technician/technologist, or wishing to upgrade and/or broaden their existing skills set. This could include:

  • school leavers
  • learners studying related subject areas such as engineering, construction and design related disciplines at NC level
  • adult returners to education
  • learners in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people changing direction/seeking a career change
  • part-time learners wishing to broaden skills and knowledge


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. However, 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:

  • NC or HNC in a related discipline - this could include but is not limited to the NC Computer Aided Design and Technology, NC Built Environment, NC in an Engineering discipline or HNC Construction
  • at least one Higher level pass, with appropriate supporting passes at Standard Grade Credit/National 5 or equivalent in appropriate subjects - Maths, English, Product Design, Graphic Communication and/or a science subject would be desirable
  • SVQ in Construction or Engineering related discipline

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Progression and employment

Learners who achieve an HNC Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology can progress to the HND.

The HND Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology can provide progression to degree-level study.

Employment opportunities exist within the architectural engineering and construction (AEC) sectors as CAD technicians and junior designers.

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority require 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 Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Assessment support packs will be developed in 2016 for mandatory units within the HNC and HND.

HNC Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology

Group award code: GL5D 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology at SCQF level 7 consists of seven mandatory units (80 SCQF credit points) and two optional SQA credits (16 SCQF credit points).

HND Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology

Group award code: GL5E 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

HND Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology at SCQF level 8 consists of 16 mandatory Units (176 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional units (64 SCQF points).