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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE3510 Foundation Engineering Fundamentals

10 creditsClass Size: 160

Module manager: Professor Barry Clarke

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23


CIVE1460Properties of Materials: Water, Soil, Steel and Timber
CIVE1660Integrated Design Project I (inc Design Studio 1)
CIVE2470Water Engineering and Geotechnics

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module will build on a basic understanding of the behaviour of soil to cover the range of foundations available for structures, including shallow foundations such as strip, pad and raft foundations, deep foundations such as caissons, shafts and piles; and composite foundations such as piled rafts. It will cover the approach to design, analysis and construction of foundations. Assessment is by a three hour open book examination and a project.


On completion of this module the students should have a knowledge of the
range of foundations available for construction, their analysis, construction and
performance and be able to select the appropriate foundation for a particular

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the module students will have:
1. A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of scientific principles and methodology of foundations for structures, their performances during construction and in service;
2. A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of scientific principles of geotechnical hazards and how they affect design decisions for temporary and permanent works for foundations.
3. Ability to extract and evaluate pertinent data and to apply engineering analysis techniques in the solution of unfamiliar problems
4. Ability both to apply appropriate engineering analysis methods for solving foundation problems and to assess their limitations
5. Knowledge, understanding and skills to work with information that may be incomplete or uncertain, quantify the effect of this on the design
6. adjusting where appropriate
7. Apply advanced problemsolving skills, technical knowledge and understanding, to establish rigorous and creative solutions for foundations
8. Ability to work with technical uncertainty.
9. Monitor and adjust a personal programme of work on an ongoing basis

This module contributes to the AHEP3 learning outcomes SM1m, SM5m, EA6m, D4, P8, G3m.

In addition, students completing this module will also have gained the knowledge, understanding, skills or abilities that contribute to achieving the following ARB General Criteria for Part 1:
1. understand the constructional and structural systems, the environmental strategies and the regulatory requirements that apply to the design and construction of a comprehensive design project;GC1.2
2. the investigation, critical appraisal and selection of alternative structural, constructional and material systems relevant to architectural design;GC8.1
3. strategies for building construction, and ability to integrate knowledge of structural principles and construction techniques; GC8.2
4. the physical properties and characteristics of building materials, components and systems, and the environmental impact of specification choices.GC8.3

Skills outcomes
- An ability to identify geotechnical hazards and assess the risk of them
- An ability to assess the forces acting on a foundation and the response of the
soil to those forces.
- An ability to produce engineering solutions to foundation problems.


-Review of the behaviour of granular and cohesive soil, drained and undrained loading, consolidation and compression characteristics.
-The design process covering methods to deal with uncertainty, design and load combinations, assumptions, the design procedure and decision criteria.
-Actions on and analysis (ultimate limit state and serviceability limit
state) of:
o Shallow foundations - pad, strip and raft
o Deep foundations – caissons, shafts and piles
o Composite foundation – piled rafts, and basements

The content of this module is essential for an understanding of the ways in which building structures behave and, as such, is highly informative for building designers. The taught content forms a key part of later architectural design modules and is demonstrated in the Design Studios 3.2 (CIVE3871) and 4.2 (CIVE5845M).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment50.502.50
Private study hours114.50
Total Contact hours35.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

The assignment for this course is to design a foundation for a structure. Students are required to produce the ground model and undertake analysis to determine the overall stability, the local stability and deformation of the structure. The assignment will be carried out in two parts; the first part, a formative exercise, covers an assessment of geotechnical hazards, creation of the ground model, a summary of the assumptions and approach to the design and the design of shallow foundations; the second part is the report of the complete foundation design and that is assessed. This exercise will be used by students to assemble a portfolio of material to support them in the exam and ensure that they have covered the topics that could be examined.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Short, weekly on line tests are used by students to assess their understanding of basic principles which they should be familiar with
- A mock exam is held at the end of the semester to prepare students for an open book exam
- The coursework includes a formative exercise to help students understand what is expected of them

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ProjectProject Report: Foundation design30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Resit is by 100% online time-limited assessment.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment5 hr 00 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Resit is by 100% online time-limited assessment

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 12/10/2022 14:44:31


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