The UK boasts a large number of Universities delivering courses in the Built Environment, these courses are then broken down into areas including but not limited to Planning, Design, Construction and Surveying. A requirement for many of these accredited courses from the professional bodies is to provide research- informed teaching, yet the research found at the Universities actually crosses a number of these areas leading to commonality in the courses and shared knowledge.
Before arriving at universities students are asked to choose their course and upon arrival begin to think of themselves as belonging to a particular area of the built environment or profession and develop a strong course identity which can then limit their opportunities and the position they see they hold within construction teams. This study looks at the silos of learning within the built environment across universities in the UK, the course content, student perspectives and the requirements of the professional bodies.
This project commenced in 2015 and is currently ongoing.
The project aims to:-
Findings so far indicate that silos of study currently exist in the built environment, however the rapid changes in society means that the future may not need lines of professional demarcation. It is also clear that greater integration within the courses may go some way to break down the barriers between professions and reduce the fragmentation in the construction industry in the UK which is more complicated than in other countries. Research so far has gone some way to dispel the perceived barriers to integration. Stating that students choose their courses based on employability and although different courses ‘claim’ to offer more opportunity it is doubtful that there is evidence to support this. Student perceptions show that different courses within the built environment discipline see themselves as the most employable and are happy to work with other courses and gain a wide range of skills and knowledge to provide transferrable skills. The flexibility of the accrediting bodies to a certain extent reflects the best-fit solution available to many higher education institutions to deliver the courses with limited resources balancing both academic aspiration and vocational requirement. In terms of professional body accreditation, with the exception of very few core competencies (which could be studied at a master’s level or in practice) there is much greater opportunity for integration in the programmes. These findings begin to build a case in support for the concept of a single built environment course at undergraduate level, although further information is required
This is ongoing research but potential impacts are vast, with implications on the way Built Environment Education is delivered, professional body requirements are shaped and the future structure of traditional professional roles within the industry.
Madgwick, Della and Wood, Hannah (2015) Rationalising built environment education in the UK In: The Construction, Building and Real Estate Research Conference of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Sydney Australia, 8-10 July 2015.