Exam Review – Construction Studies

Construction Studies exam paper 2021 would have left students in the Class of 2021 very happy. A very current and topical paper with a focus on a wide range of construction and architectural design topics.

With remote learning taking hold for a huge proportion of the country during the past year, it was a pleasant surprise to see the theme of redesign featuring in question Q3. In Q3, students were asked to design a home office extension to the rear of a given design. Students were also asked for “two advantages and two disadvantages of working from a home office.” Students who had the experience of this situation would be well able to give a detailed and personal answer.

This year’s Q1 was a very straightforward question, unlike recent years. Students were asked to draw a door threshold detail with a concrete cavity wall and strip foundation. Students who continued to study the scale drawing aspect of the course, even though the Q1 is not compulsory this year would have been delighted. As the Q7 scale drawing was a very uncomplicated Chimney Detail. Both questions were very approachable questions with higher-order students being adequately challenged by relevant (b) parts. The other questions had a variety of different areas from health and safety, redesign, site selection, u-values, environmental sustainability, heating, and hot water systems, electricity, and rural design. Students answered only four questions out of 10 questions this year. Choosing the right combination of questions would have been difficult.

Other popular questions like the U-values question Q5 followed the recent trend of calculating the thickness of insulation to improve the u-value. Similar to last year, u value and a sketch-based part (c) were assessed. The environmental sustainability question Q6 was an excellent combination of features the contribution to a low environmental impact and adding “operational energy” with the advantages of adding these technologies to a new build. Finally, Question 10, usually a direct passive design question had a “rural setting with a design inspired by vernacular architecture” This twist on the question might have thrown student’s off but on second viewing a very similar question from previous years with overheating of homes being the theme of the question.

Overall a very relevant approachable paper that students would be very happy with, as they finish their second week of exams.