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Environmental Studies and Built Environment 

Nottingham Trent University

 

 

The word 'environment' is used in many different contexts. Some university Departments of Environmental Studies are primarily concerned with the physics and geography of climate whilst others are concerned with all those disciplines that contributed to the 'built' rather than the 'natural' environment. 

If you choose to work in an industry that contributed to the built environment you will be shaping the world you live in for present and future generations. Roads, reservoirs, tunnels, bridges, hospitals, schools, offices, houses, hotels and airports are just a few of the facilities that make up the built environment. 

Over thirty years ago, immediately after graduating in physics, I joined a Department of Building Science. On graduation day my former professor told me he did not consider the built environment to be a proper subject for academic study. His rather limited and old-fashioned view was shared by many other traditional academics. At that time the highest office building in England was the Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) building in Manchester (fig. I). 1t was also probably the most advanced of its kind in the country, and set new standards for comfort and interior design. The consultant engineers, civil, structural, mechanical and electrical, were appointed at a very early stage of the project and their input played a very significant part in the final design. 

In the intervening years many more large buildings with elaborate services have been constructed, (fig 2). The complexity of modem buildings means that the input to their design, construction and maintenance by building specialists and engineers is as important, if not more so, than
the contribution of the architects. However, not all problems relate to large buildings such as offices. The Head of Technology at Ove Arup and Partners recently suggested that over the next two decades there will be a demand for between 300 and 500 million new low-cost homes in the developing world. Satisfying this demand will require innovative ideas in the construction industries. The generation of ideas and the competencies to implement them calls for well-educated and well-motivated people to study building and construction. Fortunately it is now being recognised that the study of the built environment is indeed a proper area for academic study and research. There are now over ninety institutions in the UK offering related degree and Higher National Diploma courses; a high proportion of these institutions were formerly polytechnics. 

The large number of universities offering courses in the built environment is a very good reason for studying in the UK - you have a wide choice. You will almost certainly be able to find a course that satisfies your particular needs, whether You are interested in construction management, quantity surveying, civil and structural engineering, residential developments, building maintenance, estate surveying or facilities management. Obtain prospectuses from as many different places as possible, compare the entrance requirements, course content and assessment procedures. If you are undecided about the subject in which you wish to specialise you will need to select a course that allows you some flexibility. Make sure that the course you do choose is accredited by the appropriate professional institution. 

Also check whether there are field trips and site visits included in the course, these occasions can be enjoyable as well as informative and help in making friends with other students. Information technology, communication studies, management and law are included in many courses in addition to construction related subjects. Courses are regularly updated and their content made relevant to the needs of societies throughout the world. Many universities run sandwich degree courses. These enable students to obtain valuable work experience and also contacts with future employers. If you decide to take a sandwich course, enquire about the organisation of industrial placements because certain institutions have Industrial Training Tutors who will help you find an appropriate placement. When some students graduate they will want a job that allows them to spend time out- side on building sites, surveying, civil and structural engineering have a good record of obtaining appropriate permanent employment shortly after graduation. 

If you have already graduated you may be interested in post-graduate courses, as with undergraduate courses, the UK offers a wide range, from one year taught Diploma course to PhD research degrees. 

As well as the academic aspects of the courses, you should also consider the social and economic factors. Do you wish to live in a large city or on a campus style university? Would you prefer a small or a  large establishment? Find out about the cities and regions where the univerisites ar situated. If you are undecided about the subject in which you wish to specialise you will need to select a course that allows you some flexibility. Deciding where and what to study is not easy but if you do decide to come to the UK to read a course  onnected with the built environment you will lay the foundations for a rewarding career.

Author Jacqui Marsh Nottingham Trent University

The Faculty of Construction, Computing and Technology, The Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU

0115 8486866

Email:

Website:

http://www.ntu.ac.uk/

 

The Faculty of Construction, Computing and Technology, The Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU

0115 8486866

Email:

Website:

http://www.ntu.ac.uk/

 

 

 

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