AA1IPI-Industry and Practice - the Business Context of Architecture

Module Provider: School of Architecture, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: AA1HTI History and Theory of Architecture: an Introduction AA1VCI Visualisation and Communication in Architectural Design – An Introduction AA1DS1 Architecture and Design - An Introduction to Studio AA1STI Construction Technology: an Introduction and AA1DS2 Architecture and Design - An Introduction to Site
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Mr Stephen Greenberg

Email: s.greenberg@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module is the first in a series of three modules, each covering different aspects of the industrial, policy and business contexts of architecture, to be provided over the three years of the architecture course. Elements of this module may be common to modules for other programmes.

To be effective in the workplace, architects need to understand:

1.The industry context – including the importance of the construction and property industries to society and to the economy; the government policy dimension; how these industries function in practice; the architectural profession (role; concepts of professionalism; professional institutions, etc) (Year 1 – this module);

2.The business of projects – including the project-based nature of construction; current project management and procurement practices; the prevailing legal and contractual frameworks for construction and architecture (Year 2);

3.The business of architecture – including practice/office management (covering Business Development, HR, Finance and IT/knowledge management issues); design (process) management; terms of engagement (including liabilities, insurances, etc) (Year 3).


This module aims to equip students with a good understanding of the social, economic and environmental significance of the property and construction industries, in both descriptive and analytical terms. Further, it helps students to understand the role of construction and property in government policy, and also how the construction and property industries function in terms of the nature and role of the key participants in the process.

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of this module, students will be able to demonstrate via written assignments and in examination:

1.An understanding of the significance of the construction and property sectors in social, economic and environmental terms through the use of a range of descriptive and analytical frameworks;

2.An understanding of property development, and of construction and building maintenance processes in terms of the purpose and nature of demand for construction, and the identities and roles of the key participants.

3.A basic knowledge of current planning policy and development control legislation including social, environmental and economic aspects, and the relevance of these to design development

4.An understanding of the importance of construction and architecture in policy terms, and an awareness of some of the potential implications of current and recent policy initiatives (e.g. in 2013/14 the Construction to 2025 industrial strategy, and the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment);

5.An understanding of the role of the architect within the design team and construction industry, recognising the importance of current methods and trends in the construction of the built environment , and of the duties of architects to clients, users, constructors, co-professionals and wider society, including concepts of professionalism and their relevance in contemporary society and the business world.

6.An awareness of the role and status of relevant professional institutions and organisations.

Additional outcomes:
Students will also be expected to have developed:

1.An awareness of the collaborative nature of building design and construction, and the need for different disciplines to work together and to share information and knowledge

2.Written communication skills.

Outline content:
The module is structured around topic areas, as follows:

1.The social, economic and environmental significance of the built environment – at a macro-scale, supporting the well-being and productive capacity of the population

2.Property and the importance of development – land as a finite and valuable resource; development as fundamental to national wealth and prosperity; overview of theory and models of development

3.The construction industry as an important sector of the economy – size, structure and performance of the sector; new construction and repair and maintenance activity; regional distribution of construction activity

4.The development and construction processes – the role of architects and architects and architecture: the identities of roles of other participants – nature and timing of their involvement; the importance of collaborative working in construction: The policy dimension – government’s ongoing interest in property and construction; recent initiatives and developments

5.Architecture as a profession – concepts of professionalism and professions; the duties of architects to clients, users, constructors, co-professionals and wider society; the status and role of institutions and relevant organisations; contemporary debates on professionalism.

Global context:
The module is focused on the UK, but has a global dimension. Features of the structure and performance of property and construction sectors worldwide will be presented and discussed, and compared and contrasted with UK industry and practice.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be delivered via lectures and group-based seminars and tutorials by specialist experts from the University and from Industry. Where appropriate, case studies and examples from practice will be used to focus and crystalise key concepts. Essay- based assignments will help to develop students’ written communication skills.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Tutorials 10
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study 50
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Case studies and practical examples will be used to challenge and stretch students’ understanding. Group-based tutorials will provide opportunities for regular review of and feedback on students’ development.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment will be by examination and coursework to be completed by August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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