This unit introduces students to fundamental communication concepts applied by professionals in the built environment. The unit explores writing and presentation, academic referencing and library skills, oral and written communication, negotiation, teamwork, conflict resolution, effective plan and specification reading and analysis, cultural diversity and indigenous and ethical issues. Students will develop a critical understanding of the agency of drawing and modelling, which will enable alternate ways of conceiving, communicating and evaluating design ideas The topics are discussed in a context relevant to built environment professionals through practical exercises. The course introduces awareness of cultural diversity and its management in a multicultural work force. In this unit students will be supported in developing the fundamental skills and understandings needed for core and professional units in the program, such as Building Design Communication, Built Environment 1 and 2, Environmentally Sustainable Design 1 and 2, Building Contract Documentation and Administration, Urban Design and Development and Building Design Project 1 and 2, and associated with their role as future Building Design professionals.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Communicate effectively with others orally and in writing on a range of built environment-related topics using appropriate language;  
  2. Work individually and with others, as both a team member and leader in both formal and informal teams, to complete tasks;  
  3. Produce high quality physical models to communicate effectively with other built environment professionals  
  4. Communicate effectively with other built environment professionals through professional hand drawings and sketches  
  5. Recognise the professional responsibilities of built environment professionals as well as ethical and sustainability issues in built environment practice.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Essay One (1) Reflection Essay (500 words) 30%
Portfolio Poster, Sketch and Model making 20%
Presentation One (1) Team Oral Presentation (fifteen (15) minutes) 10%
Project One (1) Team Project Report (1500 words), Sketch and Model making 40%

Required reading

Handbook of Communication Skills for First Year Students in the College of Engineering and Science. 10th ed.
VU, College of Arts, (2013)
Victoria University.

PBL in Engineering 2nd ed.
VU, School of Engineering and Science, (2009)
Melbourne: Victoria University

In addition, a very comprehensive set of course notes will be available for most topics. These course notes will contain further references and reading material.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.