In recent years, the use of computers in the design, construction and management of the built environment has been growing steadily. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is widely regarded as a key enabler for improvements of both the construction process and the quality of buildings. Given the fast changing nature of computing technology and the increasing reliance on ICT in design, construction and building maintenance practice, there is a growing gap between the ICT skills provided at postgraduate level and those actually needed in practice. There is a growing demand for well-trained built environment professionals with advanced knowledge and expertise in information technology. The need for specialist skills within the construction team has long been recognised by the Latham, Egan and more recently by the Fairclough reports. This course is designed to address this education and skills gap. Postgraduate education is this field plays a leading role in the overall process of building design, construction and management, focusing on those areas where their creative, technical and managerial abilities can be utilised. Market forces have demanded more in-depth IT, design and management knowledge and greater integration of subject material within a more continuous thread of Architecture and Project Management project work. This postgraduate course in Computer Aided Architectural Design and Construction gives you the appropriate skills to meet these responsibilities. The potential markets for graduates of this course include: architectural and interior design practices; contractors and subcontractors; consultant companies; civil engineering practices; client organisations; suppliers; local authorities; public institutions; environmental management agencies; space planning and office furniture companies.
The are two pathways through the course:
-Computer Aided Architectural Design
-Computer Aided Construction and Project Management
Core modules for students on both pathways:
-Computer Technology and the Built Environment
-3D Modelling and Architectural Visualisation
-Research for Policy and Practice
-Advanced IT Applications in AEC
-Animation and Virtual Reality in Design and Construction
-Built Environment Information Management
Optional modules for the Computer Aided Architectural Design pathway - you choose two from the following:
-Web-Based Information Systems
-Housing and Urban Design
-Master Planning and Regeneration
Optional modules for the Computer Aided Construction and Project Management pathway - you choose two from the following:
-Web Based Information Systems
-Construction Project Management Principles
-Construction Operations Management B
Indicative module content
Computer Technology and the Built Environment
The impact of Information and Communication Technology on modern society, including the built environment, is profound. It is often described as the 'Information Revolution'. The driving force behind this revolution is the convergence of computing and telecommunication technologies. This module will introduce the development history of computing and computer applications, as well as trends of emerging technologies, such as high speed and mobile networks, ubiquitous computing, distributed virtual environment, intelligent interface, grid technology, etc. These technologies will be introduced with the context of how they can be applied to the design, construction and management of the built environment.
Advanced IT Applications in AEC
The penetration of ICT applications into the AEC industries has been gathering pace in recent years due to the great improvement of computer hardware and software. Today, a large number of software packages are available to all disciplines within a construction team and for all stages of the construction process. They provide support for a broad range of activities such as Computer Aided Design and Drafting, Building Visualisation, Design Appraisal, Project Management, Information Storage and Retrieval, Accounting and Estimating, Structural Analysis, On-site Management, Facilities Management. This module gives an overview of the state-of-the-art AEC IT systems. It addresses not only 'what' systems are available but also 'why' they are beneficial and 'how' they can be applied to the improvement of construction practice. Sample applications and case studies are used to demonstrate the principles of AEC ICT applications.
Animation and Virtual Reality in Design and Construction
The purpose of this module is to provide students with an advanced theoretical and practical knowledge and understanding of animation and virtual reality applications in design and construction. The study of current and emerging VR systems and their applications will present students with a realistic view of this technology and enables them to identify its potentials, as well as its limitations. Students are also provided with practical skills in the generation and navigation of real-time simulations.
3D Modelling and Architectural Visualisation
This module provides students with advanced knowledge and skills in the production and visualisation of digital buildings and spaces. It involves creating high-end architectural visualisations using advanced modelling and visualisation tools, which includes the use of texturing, lighting and rendering techniques. The module also comprises the evaluation of complex issues in 3D computer graphics, such as modelling, representation and exchanging data.
Modules are regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant, so some of them may change before the course starts or whilst you are on it, but the overall aims and broad content of the course will remain the same.
Teaching and learning
Teaching methods are varied depending on the module; lectures, project work and tutorials all have a part. Assessment is achieved through a balance of coursework and examinations. Examinations are held in either January and/or May and June. Coursework will be a variety of essays, reports, surveys, design projects, teamwork or progress tests.
The part time course generally involves attending on 10 blocks of two days over each of the two years.
The teaching staff provide a friendly, enabling environment for learning. They are also actively engaged in research or professional practice, ensuring that you learn directly from the latest academic and business developments.
The Graduate School
The Faculty's Graduate School was established in 2005. Its main purpose is to foster an active graduate community, encompassing students on postgraduate taught courses and students undertaking research degrees. There are currently around 700 postgraduate students (400 attending and 300 distance learning) on taught courses, and about 40 postgraduate research students. The Graduate School has dedicated space in the Faculty's building on the main campus, with teaching accommodation, a kitchen and informal areas. The work of the Graduate School is based on the Faculty's extensive research programmes, and on the innovativeness and high quality of its teaching. Student advisers for all postgraduate courses are located in the Graduate School Office, and they are your first point of contact if you have any problems or need information. The Student Handbook is also an essential source of information.
You may also use the well equipped laboratories for concrete and environmental services, environmental physics, earth sciences, spatial analysis (including mapping and Geographical Information Systems) and surveying technology, each with specialist technicians supporting both teaching and research. An audio-visual group provides support for photography, digital imaging, filming and sound recording.
The Faculty has invested in online and offline computer-based resources to support modules, and especially those offered by distance learning. You also have access to a vast number of journals and databases online through the Bristol UWE library. The library and some computer labs on campus are open 24 hours, and the Faculty's suite of computer rooms supports software for word processing, data analysis, spatial analysis, computer aided design and other specialist software required by our students.
Student representatives sit on a wide range of committees from University to course level, where they can influence discussions and decisions which affect your learning experience.
How to apply
We normally require a first degree of 2:2 or above. Applicants should demonstrate an interest in the field of IT in architectural design and/or construction.
International applicants (non UK and EU) should aim to apply by the end of June to allow time to arrange their accommodation, finance and visa.
We welcome applications from students without the conventional entrance requirements but who do have substantial relevant work or other experience and whose motivation and skills would enable them to succeed on the course.