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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE5980M Structural Engineering Design Project

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Mr David Richardson

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Academic and English language qualifications required for entry to the MSc (Eng) in Structural Engineering (or the part-time study variant).


CIVE5970MAdvanced Structural Analysis (MSc/PGD)
CIVE5975MFoundation Engineering (MSc)
CIVE5977MAdvanced Steel and Composite Design - (MSc)

Module replaces

CIVE5973M Structural Engineering Practice (15 credits)CIVE5976M Architectural Engineering Studies (15 credits)

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module requires the students to develop concept and detailed structural engineering design solutions to meet the requirements of a site-specific client's brief. The results of the design activity are presented in the form of a written report and drawings with supporting calculations and, where applicable, computational output.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:

a) develop at least 2 distinct and viable alternative concept design solutions to a structural engineering problem;

b) critically appraise and evaluate alternative concept solutions and recommend a preferred concept solution taking into account safety, stability, buildability, durability, sustainability and economy;

c) justify the size and disposition of all the principal structural elements (including the foundations) of their preferred structural engineering solution by appropriate processes of structural analysis and detailed element design using the guidance contained within current guides and codes of practice;

d) present their concept design evaluations and detailed structural engineering proposals in the form of drawings, a report and supporting calculations;

e) demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of construction process and health and safety risk management through the provision of an outline construction programme, method statements and risk assessment.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should have an improved knowledge and understanding of:

1. The structural engineering concept and detailed design process.

2. How to integrate materials behaviour; structural analysis; structural behaviour; foundation design; construction process; sustainable design principles (e.g. low embodied energy/carbon; designing for ease of inspection and low maintenance; designing for durability; design for reuse); health and safety risk management; structural form; structural performance; overall stability; temporary stability; robustness; etc in the formation of viable structural engineering solutions to meet a Client's brief.

Skills outcomes
Structural Engineering Design of a complete structure to meet a Client's brief inclusive of physical and operational site constraints;
Design of structural elements to comply with the guidance provided in modern codes of practice (e.g. BS EN 1990 and associated parts) and industry-standard design guides (e.g. appropriate SCI and CIRIA reports).


General topics:

- Structural engineering problem solving strategies and critical evaluation of alternative concept solutions.
- The precise range of topics covered will vary from year to year depending on the design brief set but will, typically include:
- Concept Design: evaluation of the design brief; consideration of alternative structural forms and framing solutions (appropriate to the design brief); consideration of alterative materials and methods of construction taking into account safety and stability, economy, maintenance and durability, exposure conditions; physical and operational site constraints; sustainable design principles and buildability.
- Detailed Design: serviceability (deflection, settlement effects, vibration and crack control) and ultimate limit states (axial, flexural and torsional load effects/actions and combinations, as appropriate; global and local stability; robustness); wind load effects; design of a variety of different structural forms (to meet the needs of the brief); foundation design taking into account the ground conditions specified in the brief.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours245.00
Total Contact hours55.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will be required to carry out independent research to identify alternative structural forms; methods and types of construction; explore alternative materials and suitable combinations of materials to meet the performance requirements set in the brief; etc. They will also use private study periods to develop and critically evaluate their design alternatives; to carry out structural analysis; member and foundation design; produce drawings; identify the principal hazards and to assess the associated risks.

Some students may need to carry out additional private study to improve their knowledge and understanding of simple construction programming, construction methods and risk management as these are not always included in non-accredited (JBM) programmes (particularly those studied outside the UK).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be provided in the compulsory small group tutorial sessions held every alternate week throughout semester 1 and 2. Progress of individual students will also be identified and monitored at these tutorials.

Each student will be required to give a brief presentation of their progress in the concept design part of the project at the beginning of semester 2. Formative feedback (verbal) will be provided to each student at the end of each presentation.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ProjectGroup Project Report30.00
ProjectIndividual Detailed Design Report60.00
Oral PresentationGroup Oral Presentation10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The Group Conceptual Design Report will be submitted at the end of Semester 1. Exact details on the form of this report and the mark scheme are contained in the Design Brief which is available on Minerva. The Group Oral Presentations will take place after the January exam period. Individual Detailed Design Reports will be submitted at the end of Semester 2. Exact details on the form of this report and the mark scheme are contained in the Design Brief which is available on Minerva. Group Work As indicated above, the Conceptual Design Report will be undertaken in groups while the Detailed Design Report will be undertaken individually.Groups will be pre-allocated by the module leader For the Group Conceptual Design Report, ideally, each group member will be awarded the same mark. However if it is evident an individual’s efforts vary significantly from their team-mates, adjustments will be made to individual’s marks to reflect the quality and quantity of work. There will be a further opportunity to differentiate between the contributions of individuals in a peer assessment exercise, details of which will be published on Minerva.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 16/08/2023 08:40:17


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