The University Central Admissions Service website reports that at least half of the UK's estimated 850 construction and building-related degree courses have vacancies.
Universities contacted by Building this week confirmed that there was an undergraduate crisis in the UK.

Luton University has disbanded its construction department "because of the lack of numbers", said John Hassall, head of the construction department. And the University of Glamorgan has been forced to suspend its QS course, after the RICS withdrew accreditation.

Reading University's flagship construction management course has also suffered – it has filled 46 places out of a target 70. Colin Gray, head of construction management, said: "It is an uphill struggle; we are not going to turn it around in a couple of months."

At the same time, universities said demand for construction graduates was sky-high. Stephen Barthorpe, construction management head at the University of Glamorgan, said: "Employers are contacting us in desperation, looking for recruits."

Architecture and design courses seem to be less affected. Stirling Howieson, former head of the building design engineering course at the University of Strathclyde, said: "The course has been oversubscribed for the last 20 years – we could take double the class."