KB4028 - Introduction to Structural Design

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about the principles and considerations of structural design and the communication of design work. You will be encouraged to develop your hand sketching in recognition that this is an important skill required to communicate early design ideas as well as to aid self-reflection and design development. You will learn how to use CAD software to communicate your design ideas. Your technical drawing skills will be developed, and you will gain experience of producing Civil Engineering drawings. You will gain knowledge and skills through generic design considerations to engender a holistic appreciation of the design process prior to addressing calculation work for simple structural elements in steel, concrete, timber, or masonry.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will include a range of learning materials such as presentations, notes, seminar questions for you to answer, and other resources such as video links, CAD drawings and specific software-related files. All these resources will be arranged in a convenient learning journey, giving you a clear expectation of the material to be studied and tasks to be completed on a week-by-week basis. You will be expected to complete the appropriate tasks in your weekly journey before attending programmed sessions. You will take part in lectures to develop your knowledge and understanding of the module material and in seminars, where you will learn to apply the concepts learned to structural engineering problems. You will participate in workshop sessions where you will discuss the module material and coursework tasks with your tutors and with other students and exercise creativity in developing solutions to problems.
There may be occasions within the semester where normal teaching will be suspended to allow your learning to be supplemented by a range of activities such as design workshops, guest presentations, professional body events, site visits and field work.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will include feedback from tutors during seminars, lectures, and practical sessions. In addition, tutors will use the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to provide electronic versions of module material. The University’s VLE offers remote access to materials and aids for reinforcing your learning. All of these support mechanisms and learning and teaching approaches will help to you to prepare for the assessments and prepare you for further learning in the programme.

The module and the wider programme teams will provide a supportive approach, enabling you to quickly and easily access and speak to any member of the programme team, as required.

The University Library and other student services also offer a variety of academic skills training both online and face to face, which you can access as needed.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Communicate design work through hand sketches and CAD drawings, evidencing an awareness of relevant civil engineering conventions.

2. Discuss and appraise civil engineering design against a set of relevant criteria such as sustainability, structural stability, ethical design and safety.

3. Carry out design calculations producing the initial sizing of structural elements in materials such as steel, concrete, masonry or timber.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

4. Evidence progress towards becoming reflective practitioners.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5. Demonstrate an ability to work as part of a team to evaluate the outcome of a Civil Engineering design

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
You will be formatively assessed by class-based activities with worked examples set by the module tutor, which you will review with your peers in pairs or groups. You also study structural design artefacts such as a piece of steel or timber section to enable you to develop design skills and an understanding of concept sizes. Workbook materials will be supplied by the module tutor for your self-learning, which will be supported by classroom discussion for you to develop your CAD skills.

Summative Assessment
You will be summatively assessed by means of two coursework tasks:

The first coursework will assess your ability to demonstrate MLOs 2, 4, and 5. It will be worth 50% of the module mark and will be equivalent in effort to a 3000 words assignment.

The second coursework consists of a design report of 3000 words equivalent length. This will assess MLOs 1 and 3 and be worth 50% of the module marks.
You will receive individual feedback with marks and comments for each summative assignment. Your feedback will give general consideration of your work, highlighting those areas that you completed successfully and those not so successfully. The intention will be to clarify points of learning that have not been fully assimilated.





Module abstract

This module will introduce you to the process of design of civil engineering structures and the communication of design. You will be encouraged to research Civil Engineering design ideas to discuss with your peers and tutors. In the lectures, you will learn about the theory of design development and technical drawing. The practical sessions will provide many opportunities to practice and develop your initial design and drawing skills. The assessment will comprise of two coursework tasks. Supportive individual feedback will be provided for each assessment which will identify areas of merit and offer guidance for future improvement.

Course info

UCAS Code H201

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years Full Time or 5 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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