Department of Built Environment

Vision of the Department

The Department of Built Environment strives to be a leading centre offering innovative Construction Management & Quantity Surveying programmes responsive to national developmental priorities that address societal needs.

Mission of the Department

The mission of the Department is to prepare high quality technological and vocational graduates to meet the career needs of our community and satisfy the requirements of industry and commerce to conduct basic and applied research to contribute to the body of scientific knowledge, to respond to the needs of society and to develop and promote entrepreneurial skills that will enable our graduates to create business enterprises.

Goals of the Department

  • Working closely with the community and with the essential support of the government, public and private sectors, it seeks to produce graduates capable of dynamic participation in the economic and environmental development of the region and beyond.
  • Through a commitment to service excellence, staff development and the maximum use of human and physical resources, the department strives to unite students, staff and employers in a common goal of improving the quality of life for all.

Programme Information

  • Diploma: Building Technology, 3 years, Chiselhurst
  • Diploma: Building Technology (Extended Programme), 4 years, Chiselhurst


Accreditation Status of the programme

The Department is currently accredited by the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) and South African Council for Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP).

Accreditation by both councils is reviewed at different intervals depending on the number of years granted for that particular accreditation visit. 

Student Societies in the Department

Students are encouraged to register with the Construction Management and Quantity Surveying Student Society at WSU. This is a student initiative that is managed by the students for the educational well-being of the students.

Entrepreneurship & Professional Development of Students

It is part of the mission of the Department of Built Environment to instil entrepreneurial skills into its students to support their talents.

Therefore, compulsory ongoing entrepreneurial exposure will be presented via successful local business people and other entrepreneurial experts.

Business principles will permeate throughout the programme on an informal basis.

The Department also encourages its students to become student members of the various professional and institutional bodies.

After obtaining the diploma qualification, students may apply for registration with the relevant professional bodies.

Career Opportunities

This is a broad-based qualification that leads toward two main career paths in the Construction Management and Quantity Surveying professions.

Once qualified, students may be employed in construction companies or quantity surveying firms respectively in order to pursue their chosen careers.

Other opportunities exist within Local Authority and Government employment as well as with material and equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

The vast construction and related industries in South Africa also create opportunities for entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, possibly after gaining some post-qualification experience.

Purpose of Qualification

The purpose of the Diploma in Building Technology is to train technicians who will display competence within the construction and related industries through the execution of technical tasks by using and applying their knowledge and independent judgment in the identification and solving of construction-related problems.

This qualification is intended for technician-level employment in construction and related industries with the main focus on construction management and quantity surveying.

Diplomates achieving this qualification should, after initial supervision, be able to apply their skills and related techniques to systematically plan and manage well-defined construction issues, while using appropriate terminology, style and structure to communicate effectively with superiors and subordinates, apply management concepts to projects and operations showing awareness of ethics, professionalism, safety and consideration of the social and natural environment.

Exit Level Outcomes of the Programme

The programme’s exit level outcomes are aimed at providing graduates with the following attributes, skills, and competencies:

  • Ability to apply sound principles and technologies to systematically diagnose and solve well-defined construction-related problems.
  • Demonstrate the application of knowledge and the requisite skills in a construction-related environment and apply knowledge and skills ethically within applicable standards, codes of practice and legislation.
  • Communicate technical, supervisory and general management information effectively, both orally and in writing, using appropriate language, structures, style and graphic support.
  • Acquire further knowledge of self-management principles and concepts for managing projects and/or operations within the environment of the construction industry.

Range: Management, Planning, Cost Effectiveness, Development, Construction, Maintenance, Operation, Safety, Quality Assurance, Environmental Concern. The graduate achieving this qualification should, therefore, be able to:

  • Use appropriate quantity surveying techniques in the measurement of well-defined elements/components and undertake preparation of required documentation and cost estimates within applicable standards, codes of practice and legalities.
  • Use appropriate management techniques to plan and manage construction projects, through the pre-contract, contract and post-contract phases of construction projects within application standards, codes of practice and legalities.
  • Follow developments in the construction environment and critique the status of current knowledge.
  • Apply the knowledge gained to new, well-defined, situations, both concrete and abstract in the workplace/community.
  • Gather evidence from primary and secondary sources using appropriate retrieval skills, and organise and synthesise and present the information professionally in a mode appropriate to the audience.
  • Use basic methods of enquiry in a construction environment to contribute to a project. 
  • Demonstrate the capacity to explore and exploit educational, entrepreneurial, and cares opportunities, and to develop himself/herself professionally, including the ability to proceed to the B-Tech level.
  • Make independent decisions taking into account the relevant technical, economic, social, safety and environmental factors.
  • Work independently, as a member of a team and as a supervisor.
  • Relate construction activities to environmental, safety, cultural and economic sustainability.

Critical Cross-Field Outcomes

This qualification promotes, in particular, the following Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:

In the problem-solving process, the learner is expected to be both creative and critical while working effectively with others as a member of a group, organisation and community, for example, by demonstrating effectiveness in:

  • Individual work and the ability to function in a team situation;
  • Communication, including receiving advice from supervisors.
  • Self-management by organising and managing oneself and one’s activities responsibly and effectively.
  • Collecting, analysing, organising and critically evaluating information;
  • Communicating effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral and/or written persuasion when presenting design and investigation;
  • Using science and technology effectively and critically, showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others;
  • Demonstrating and understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation by taking technical, social, economic, environmental factors into account.

Minimum Requirements

National Senior Certificate

APS: 29

Required NSC Subjects (Compulsory)

  • NSC achievement rating of at least 4 (50-59%) for English as a Home Language or First Additional Language Level 
  • NSC achievement rating of at least 3 (50-59%) for Mathematics (not Mathematics) (not Mathematics Literacy)
  • NSC achievement rating of at least 3 (40-49%) for Physical Science

Recommended NSC Subjects (not compulsory)

  • Engineering Graphics & Design
  • Design, Woodwork, Accounting


Minimum statutory NSC requirements for diploma entry must be met.

Grade 12/Matric

  • An E-symbol for English (2nd language) on the Higher Grade or a D-symbol for English on the Standard Grade.
  • In addition, an E-symbol on the Higher Grade or a D-symbol on the Standard Grade for Mathematics and Physical Science

FET College

National Certificate

An N3 certificate with C-symbols for at least four subjects including Mathematics and Engineering Science or a D-symbol at N4 level as well as the language requirements for the Senior Certificate.

National Certificate (Vocational) Level 4

Requirements as defined in Government Gazette 32743 dated 26th November 2009 with specific requirements as set out below:

  • Must meet NC(V) level 4 statutory requirements
  • Must obtain 50% in the three fundamental subjects which in the case of this programme are required to be:
    • English, as it is the university’s language of learning and teaching (LOTL); Mathematics (not Mathematics Literacy)
      Life Orientation
    • 50% in Physical Science
    • 60% for three of the following compulsory vocational modules (in any combination):
      • Construction Planning Construction Supervision Materials
      • Carpentry and Roof Work Concrete Structures Carpentry and Roof Work
      • Masonry
      • Plumbing

All NCV 4 applicants are required to participate and perform satisfactorily in the Placement Tests (SATAPS/NBTs) as conducted by the Department.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

  • RPL may be used to demonstrate competence for admission to this programme.
  • This qualification may be achieved in part through RPL processes.
  • Credits achieved by RPL must not exceed 50% of the total credits and must not include credits at the exit level.
  • The provision that the qualification may be obtained through the recognition of prior learning, facilitates access to an education, training and career path in building and thus accelerates the redress of past unfair discrimination in education, training and employment opportunities.
  • Evidence of prior learning must be assessed through formal RPL processes through recognised methods.
  • Learners submitting themselves for RPL should be thoroughly briefed prior to the assessment and will be required to submit a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) in the prescribed format to be assessed for formal recognition.
  • While this is primarily a workplace-based qualification, evidence from other areas of learning may be introduced if pertinent to any of the Exit Level Outcomes (ELOs).
  • The structure of this non-unit standard based qualification makes RPL possible if the learner is able to demonstrate competence in the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes implicit in this first stage building qualification.
  • Learners who already work in the building industry who believe they possess competencies to enable them to meet some or all of the Exit Level Outcomes listed in the qualification will be able to present themselves for assessment against those of their choice.

International Students

Applications from international students are considered in terms of:

  • HESA/Institutional guideline document, “Exemption Requirements: Foreign School Qualifications” institutional equivalence reference document
    (where required) submission of international qualification to SAQA for benchmarking in terms of HEQF.

Mature Age Endorsement

Refer to requirements as per WSU’s General Rules & Regulations


Entrepreneurship & Professional Development of Students

For details, see the same section under Diploma: Building Technology

Career Opportunities

For details see the same section under Diploma: Building (Mainstream)

Purpose of Qualification

The purpose of the Diploma in Building Technology Extended Programme is to equip under-prepared students, who wish to study towards a Diploma: Building.

Additional modules are therefore introduced at Year 1 level, hence the extended time period for the completion of this programme. The programme aims to:

  • Provide students ‘at risk’ with a viable platform to successfully undertake building (construction management and quantity surveying) studies at the tertiary education level.
  • Provide students from disadvantaged backgrounds with an adequate level of foundational competence which is based on specific and discipline-related knowledge.
  • Improve the retention and throughput of disadvantaged students entering the mainstream programme.
  • Provide a student who has the potential to succeed with Construction Management and Quantity Surveying studies at the tertiary level with an opportunity.
  • Gain a contextualised understanding of the field of Construction Management and Quantity Surveying.
  • Become familiar with the application of basic knowledge and skills in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying.
  • Ensure that the required educational quality standards in teaching and learning are maintained while at the same time achieving the above aims.

The rationale for the Diploma in Building Technology Extended Programme is, therefore, essentially the same as for the three-year Diploma: Building programme but is specifically designed to provide support to students to obtain essential skills for completion of the Diploma: Building.

Students successfully completing the Extended Programme will thus be able to:

  • Develop a contextualised understanding of the field of Construction Management and Quantity Surveying practices effectively.
  • Develop the knowledge and skills to engage in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying academic environments.
  • Continue with their studies beyond Year 1 towards the obtainment of a National Diploma: Building.

Exit Level Outcomes of the Programme

The exit level outcomes for Diploma in Building Technology Extended Programme are the same as for the three-year Diploma programme [details are as indicated for that programme].

There are, however, outcomes which the Extended Programme aims to reinforce to better equip the students.

These additional modules are introduced at Year 1 level, hence the extended time period.

The expected additional outcomes of the National Diploma: Building Extended Programme are:

  • To ensure students understand and are able to master the basic concepts of mathematics, physics and building science and their application which forms part of the Diploma in Building Technology programme.
  • To develop students’ computer skills in order to equip them for further academic studies.
  • To enhance and develop the students’ academic skills with particular emphasis on academic literacy as applicable to the Diploma in Building Technology programme.
  • To develop students’ life skills in order that they can use the tools (e.g. study and time management skills) in their studies.

Critical Cross-Field Outcomes

For details see the same section under Diploma in Building Technology.

Minimum Admission Requirements

The Diploma in Building Technology Extended Programme targets applicants who are deemed to be ‘under-prepared for the Diploma programmes.

Applicants in this category are assessed before the registration period. Assessment instruments include SATAP tests, the weighting of NSC/Grade 12 results and interviews. Selection is subject to quotas not being exceeded.