Structural Engineering is a key stream in most civil engineering courses. Engineers are required to design a variety of structures under various loading regimes using simplified codes methods or alternatively more accurate techniques. More specifically this unit of study aims to give students a fundamental understanding in the design of reinforced concrete structural elements.
The following topics are covered: Design of reinforced concrete simply supported and continuous beams in bending, shear and torsion. Serviceability design of beams including deflection and crack control. Design of one-way and two-way slabs using method of coefficients. Analysis of Flat slabs using simplified strip and equivalent frame methods, including punching shear. Reinforced concrete column and wall design. Introduction to strut and tie method, pre-stressed concrete and footing design.

Unit details

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Unit code:


NEC2201 - Introduction to Structural Engineering Design

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Analyse and design reinforced concrete beams in both strength and serviceability states (for bending, shear, torsion, deflection and crack control);  
  2. Analyse and design reinforced concrete one-way and two-way slabs (including flat plates);  
  3. Analyse and design members in combined compression and bending (i.e. columns and walls);  
  4. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of relevant Australian codes of practice in the design of concrete structures;  
  5. Exercise critical thinking and judgement in formulating and solving specific concrete design problems; and  
  6. Work both autonomously in solving problems and as a member of a team in undertaking design tasks.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Mid-semester skills audit (1.5 hours equivalent to 1000 words) 20%
Test Homework Problems (weeks 2 - 8 only) 20%
Project PBL project (10 pages, 1500 words plus figures/tables) 20%
Examination End of Semester Examination (3 hours equivalent to 2000 words) 40%
The examination focuses upon the individual student's ability to demonstrate his or her in-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline, and apply established engineering methods to complex engineering problems, as defined in Engineers Australia competencies 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1 and 2.3. In addition, the tasks assess the student on the individual components of Learning Outcomes (LO) (1 to 5) which are not assessed within the mid-semester test, homework problems or project. As the examination is the one clear way by which these competencies and LO's can be assessed on an individual basis, students must achieve a minimum mark of 50% in the examination in order to pass the unit. In order to be eligible for a supplementary assessment, students must normally achieve an overall mark between 45-49% for the unit.

Required reading

The prescribed text 1 is supplemented by resource material placed on the University website (VU Collaborate).

Reinforced & Prestressed concrete: Analysis and design with emphasis on the application of AS3600-2009 2nd ed.
Loo, Y.C. and Chowdhury, S.H. (2013)
Cambridge Press

AS3600-2009 Concrete structures 2009
Standards Australia
Standards Australia

Concrete structures
Warner, R. F., Rangan, B. V., Hall, A. S. and Faulkes, K. A. (1998)
Longman, Melbourne

Texts 2 and 3 are recommended reading materials.

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