PE7009 - Building Pathology For Practitioners

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will examine in detail the causes, symptoms, investigation and diagnosis of building defects and consider the implications of fire safety and acoustics on the design, refurbishment and appraisal of existing buildings.

You will study a range of topics to support this:
• Building Surveys
• Dampness – causes, symptoms and diagnosis
• Movement in buildings – causes, symptoms and diagnosis
• Timber defects – causes, symptoms and diagnosis
• Asbestos in buildings – recognition and regulations
• Concrete defects – causes, symptoms and diagnosis
• Defects in structural frames, roofs and claddings
• Diagnostic techniques for building pathology
• Flooding and Flood damage
• Fire safety engineering covering fire, smoke and escape
• Services maintenance
• Sound, vibration and acoustic design

On completion of this module the knowledge and understanding that you have acquired forms part of the core knowledge for the study of building surveying.

Throughout this module you will develop academic and professional skills relating to effective communication; self-direction and personal responsibility; and the role of the surveyor in investigating and assessing defects.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is delivered entirely online via our electronic learning platform (elp). You will interact with a range of materials on the module site. The module home page provides you with quick access to detailed information about the module in an interactive, easily accessible format. The teaching materials support your learning. Each session delivers flexible, interactive learning materials, accessible in a variety of formats such as audio and video presentations, podcasts, and hard copies. Tasks to extend and test your learning are interspersed within the learning materials. A range of different tasks, with formative feedback, are aimed at supporting your learning style. In addition to this you will be encouraged to utilise peer to peer support opportunities through the use of elp supported platforms for interaction or, if you choose to, external student supported platforms. Each session is supported by reading accessed through the electronic reading list.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be an autonomous, self-motivated learner within a supportive distance learning environment. You will be introduced to the module by the module tutor in an introductory video. The online module sessions and interactive tasks form the cornerstone for supporting you during your study. Academic support is available from the teaching team and each session includes a link to enable you to email a question directly to the tutor from within the session. In advance of each assessment material will be uploaded to support you in your preparation. This is followed by an online question and answer session via the module’s discussion forum prior to submission of your assessed work. Focused academic support coupled with timely formative and summative feedback should enable you to meet your full academic potential within this module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MLO1: Critically appraise building defects and problems and describe and explain their likely causes in various scenarios.
• MLO2: Critically analyse and appraise suitable methods of testing, investigation and diagnosis for a variety of building defects and problems.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO3: Critically analyse information, identify solutions, demonstrate judgement and communicate findings.
• MLO4: Critically evaluate and contrast appropriate methods of survey, inspection, appraisal and reporting.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO5: You will be able to plan and implement an academic review of literature on a building pathology topic.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment: tasks embedded within the module sessions provide formative feedback immediately upon completion. This timely feedback will assist in consolidating your learning as you move through the module.

Summative assessment: this module is assessed by one piece of coursework

You will be assessed by one piece of coursework. The coursework will take the form of an initial literature review around a building defect. This literature review will apply theory to the practice of a building surveyor. Once completed you will be required to produce a professional survey report of the building defect identified in the literature review. The coursework will test MLOs 1-5
Coursework will be submitted, assessed and feedback provided to you online.





Module abstract

This module aims to allow you to examine in detail the causes, symptoms, investigation and diagnosis of building defects and to consider the implications of fire safety and acoustics on the design, refurbishment and appraisal of existing buildings.
Learning materials are delivered online, are interactive and are supported by tasks to extend, consolidate and test your knowledge and understanding. Assessment is through two pieces of coursework, both of which are supported by a module specific approach to research rich learning. This approach provides you with a contextual framework that you then actively apply to typically scenarios facing the surveyor in practice and the development of professional practice and skills. As an autonomous, self-directed learner your engagement with the module and its assessment will assist in the development of the knowledge, skills and attributes that are valued by employers. Specifically the module will, through the learning materials and assessment, develop skills that directly relate to the professional competencies identified by the RICS.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Distance Learning

Department Architecture and Built Environment

Location Ellison Building, Newcastle City Campus

City Newcastle

Start Upcoming Intakes: July 2024, October 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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