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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE5453M Testing, Quality Assurance, Repair and Maintenance of Concrete Structures

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Phil Purnell

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Bachelor's degree in civil engineering or approved prior learning (certified or experiential)

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module contributes to students' comprehensive understanding of quality assurance of concrete for different applications, test methods that are used for measuring physical and chemical properties, and repair and maintenance techniques that are normally applied to concrete structures at an advanced level. Course content provides participants with an in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles underpinning the construction of high-quality, durable concrete civil engineering structures and is aimed at students and current construction professionals involved in production, use, quality control or learning activities associated with concrete construction.


The aim of the module is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the quality concepts, quality control of concretes, and test methods that are used both in laboratories and on site for measuring physical, mechanical and chemical properties of concrete at both fresh and hardened states. The module also aims to give an in-depth knowledge of different repair and maintenance methods that can be used to ensure durable concrete elements and structures. Students will be able to develop the ability to appraise practical situations and make informed decisions regarding the performance of concrete in service.

Learning outcomes
Successful completion of the course will lead to the following learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding:
• Critical awareness of current problems in concrete testing, quality assurance repair and maintenance.
• Understanding of concepts underpinning concrete testing, quality assurance repair and maintenance, and the ability to evaluate these concepts critically in real-life applications.
• Awareness of the commercial implications of good quality control and assurance, plus the benefits of whole-life performance management.
• Awareness of relevant regulatory requirements and standards governing concrete testing, quality assurance repair and maintenance.
• Awareness of and ability to assess health and safety risks regarding concrete testing, quality assurance repair and maintenance.
• A thorough understanding of current practice and likely new developments regarding concrete testing, quality assurance repair and maintenance.

Transferable skills:
• Confidence to work independently, or as part of a team, to research, collate and synthesise information;
• Awareness of the need for a high level of professional and ethical conduct
• Ability to derive solutions to engineering problems;
• Ability to reflectively evaluate one's own learning and personal development;
• Apply subject-specific knowledge to generic engineering challenges;
• Ability to collate complex information in a concise and effective manner in the form of a report.

Skills outcomes
Please see learning outcomes.


The module will cover the following broad topics:
• Health and safety applied to concrete technology
• Quality-related management, assurance, systems and control systems
• Special concretes, processes and technology
• Components and organisation of concrete plants
• Production of ready-mix concrete
• Production of precast concrete elements
• Application of statistical principles relevant to concrete production;
• Test methods for assessing the deterioration of concrete in different environments;
• Principal repair materials and their benefits and limitations;
• Maintenance and repair strategies to extend the service life of concrete structures for different exposure conditions;
• Understanding of, and ability to apply, relevant British and European specifications.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning20.250.50
On-line Learning31.003.00
Class tests, exams and assessment23.006.00
Group learning125.0025.00
Independent online learning hours112.00
Private study hours153.50
Total Contact hours34.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

This module will be delivered via distance learning and will involve no conventional lectures or seminars, but will be based on the concept of self-learning, coordinated by the programme leader and invited University tutors (as appropriate). The module will be introduced through four recorded lectures by the programme leader or industry experts.

The learning process will be achieved via the completion of group-based and individual assignments set by the programme leader, in consultation with University Tutors. These assignments will be based on reference text books made available to students specifically for this self-learning module, together with relevant online resource materials, as appropriate. Assignment topics will be both topical and challenging, designed to provide revision, updating and an advanced understanding of concrete technology against the module’s syllabus and learning objectives.

There will be an initial group assignment, with each member expected to contribute. Each assignment group will receive technical and moral support from an appointed academic member of staff or invited University tutor as appropriate. This assignment will be formative and the feedback provided will aid further learning. Assignment-specific discussion forums will also be created on Minerva to allow open communication between students and enable input/review by the module coordinator/ tutors. For the group assignment, the team leader will be responsible for organising the group’s work and posting the final report online and to deadline, via Minerva.

Following the group assignment, there will be two individual assignments. As for the group assignments, background material will be supplemented by input from an academic tutor and by a discussion board. Feedback on the first individual assignment will be returned before submission of the second, so that students can learn from their feedback.

The assignments will be complemented by online MCQs. These will be designed to test deeper level thinking than conventional MCQs, by introducing “assertion-reason” style questions, or enabling calculation based questions. The introduction of these MCQs has been considered so as to provide instant feedback to students and guide them through their learning and potential gaps in their knowledge.
Information required to contribute to group assignments will come from independent online learning and private study.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored via a number of routes. Firstly, students are encouraged to use each module's online discussion board. Engagement is then followed by regular assessment through the semester, with an assessment timetable developed so as to offer regular feedback to students while also monitoring student engagement and progress. A typical timetable is given below:

Week 1 Group Assignment set
Week 3 Individual component submission of Group Assignment
Weeks 4-5 MCQ 1
Week 5 Feedback on Individual component of Group Assignment
Week 6 Individual Assignments set
Week 8 Group Assignment submission
Weeks 9-10 MCQ 2
Week 10 Feedback on Group Assignment
Week 11 Submission of Individual Assignment 1
Late December Feedback on Individual Assignment 1
Week 12 Submission of Individual Assignment 2
Late January Feedback on Individual Assignment 2

Note that the weeks are indicative of teaching weeks rather than calendar weeks, such that students also have the Christmas vacation to complete their individual assignments.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation3,000 words40.00
Essay or Dissertation3,000 words40.00
Group Project5,000 words (formative)0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)80.00

Resit: 50% Essay; 50% Essay.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online MCQ0 hr 00 mins10.00
Online MCQ0 hr 00 mins10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)20.00

Resit: 50% Essay; 50% Essay.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 16/12/2021


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