KB7072 - Sensing and Monitoring for Civil Engineering Assets

What will I learn on this module?

Within this module you will learn about the key aspects of asset-related challenges and address the need to conduct detailed survey investigations of asset location and condition. You will consider how to conduct effective monitoring programmes that identify changes and how to analyse the patterns and nature of change in the context of asset operation and stability. You will also learn about the role of in situ logging and how to establish driver-response relationships that may threaten asset function. To achieve this you will be introduced to an applied range of survey and monitoring techniques and get hand-on experience with analysing complex datasets. You will draw on all your engineering experience and judgement to make clear recommendations about future action and developments to asset operators, progressing from diverse and complex information sources, to clear, detailed and appropriately considered and costed recommendations for actions.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will include a range of learning materials such as presentations, publications, guided worksheets and other resources such as videos, spreadsheets and specific software-related files. All these resources will be introduced in a progressive and timely way to explore your main areas of interest, build on existing skills (some that may need refreshing!) and develop a detailed level of professionalism and expertise for your chosen problem as part of your learning journey. You will be given a clear expectation of the material to be studied as we progress through the module and set regular tasks to be completed to achieve the learning objectives and enable you to discuss and receive continual feedback for improvement. You will be expected to complete the appropriate tasks in your weekly journey before either attending classes or taking part in online sessions and discussing or putting into practice what you have learned using a range of applied survey and monitoring techniques. The learning is conducted mainly in small groups and you will be expected to take an active role in group work and discussion, with the group assessment also been moderated by a peer assessed contribution. 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 innovative and justified 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 fieldwork.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported in face to face and/or online sessions, giving you ample opportunity to ask questions to clarify and deepen your understanding of the module material, as well as to seek specific help. There will be a stream of workshops where you gain experience in a range of research-led techniques and analysis of the data they provide combining theory and practical based aspects of the learning. This will enable you to get continual and timely feedback as your asset management proposal evolves, provided you engage with and make the most of these sessions. At other times, you will have regular access to University academic staff via email and online support such as the use of discussion boards and chat rooms in the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE). This will allow you to access support regularly at convenient times. More formally you will produce and deliver a mid-semester presentation that will enable you to receive advice and formative feedback on your work as you develop and analyse results for the final assessed recommendation report.

The module and the wider programme teams will also 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. Critically evaluate appropriate approaches for condition survey investigation of civil assets.
2. Synthesize and present asset management recommendations based on survey datasets.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Interpret and critically evaluate complex data and manage aspects of uncertainty in order to draw reasoned outcomes for the maintenance of civil assets.
4. Defend and justify conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Develop and apply wider awareness of ethical and environmental implications of recommendations for asset management and develop mitigation approaches where necessary.

How will I be assessed?

The module will be assessed by a single piece of coursework to represent a design investigation into an asset management application. Students will conduct group projects centred on the design, planning, collection, analysis and evaluation of relevant datasets.

Formative assessment will take place during workshops where students will be supported to analyse data and design their methods of investigation. Groups will also have the opportunity to provide update presentations to staff and receive formative feedback on these. This formative feedback will feed into the summative assessment.

The coursework task has two components. The first component is a summative group presentation on the asset context, challenges or threats and condition. It is weighted at 20% and addresses MLOs 2&4. As this is a group presentation it will be a maximum of 30 minutes.
The second component is an individual report on the asset key recommendations for the continued safe operation, improvement and development of the asset. It is weighted at 80% (maximum 3500 word equivalent). It addresses MLOs 1, 3, 5 and allows students to individually develop detailed recommendations based on the group investigation work. Written feedback will be provided.





Module abstract

Effective asset management is a critical aspect of Civil Engineering and requires key operational and strategic decisions to be made based on complex systems, challenging processes and imperfect information. As a result, successful planning, preventative action, or proactive mitigation can save significant costs, and avoid serviceability or ultimate limit states being reached. In this module you will explore applied examples of key research-led approaches and innovations that help characterise, quantify, monitor and understand asset location, condition and threats. Building on your site investigation knowledge and experience you will be introduced to advanced technical approaches and particularly focus on the analysis and interpretation of the data they can provide. You will develop critical skills in dealing with limited or partial datasets, accounting for the uncertainties they lead to, and drawing effective and balanced recommendations for an effective asset management scheme of work for a challenging site.

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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