Review: 2017 higher level Construction Studies paper

Well, I got that wrong.

I had told my own class that the old/new floor junction could come up but I had pretty much ruled it out as 'old hat' and unlikely to come up anymore because it is such an out of date detail. There is absolutely no way, in the real world, that an old cold air leaky floor like that would be left in place... it's a preposterous suggestion and an unfair detail to examine in a compulsory question. That said, I think most students will be okay provided they drew the wall and the modern floor details - most of the marks should be available in these two elements. 

Apart from that, I thought the paper was pretty much in line with previous years/ expectations. It really is a silly game we play... where a 'good' paper is a paper that meets expectations (i.e. is fairly predictable).

My only other negative criticisms are, question eight, part b and question nine. The light calculation used by the examiner continues to confound me; when I was writing my latest book I spent days looking through the literature for an example of this calculation and could not find a single one anywhere. As far as I could tell, there was no reference to it in any of the numerous textbooks and academic papers I checked. There is a calculation that can be used to work this type of question out (it's in my book (and numerous others)) - it's a pity that students are still being encouraged to learn/ use this other method. 

Question nine, on foundations & concrete, belongs on the ordinary level paper. Not much more to be said about that. 

Aside from these two negatives, I think the paper was in line with previous years and, as such, was fair to the students. There continues to be a strong emphasis on sustainable housing design and on low-energy housing standards. It is great to see the examiner continue to emphasise the Passive House standard as the only scientifically rigorous standard out there.