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SDCM71-316: Structures and Materials September 2018 [Intensive - Weeks 3 & 8]

General information

This subject provides students from non-engineering backgrounds with a basic understanding of building structures and soil mechanics. Fundamental concepts of structural engineering such as calculation of forces and reactions, resolution of forces in frames, bending moments and shear forces are introduced. Structural connections are detailed. Different ground conditions are identified and the characteristics of various foundation materials are examined. The design and adequacy of various footing systems in different materials are investigated.


Academic unit:Faculty of Society & Design
Subject code:SDCM71-316
Subject title:Structures and Soil Mechanics
Subject level:Postgraduate
Semester/Year:September 2018
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Seminar: x2 (Total hours: 12) - Seminar 1 and Tutorial
  • Seminar: x2 (Total hours: 12) - Seminar 2 and Tutorial
  • Seminar: x2 (Total hours: 12) - Seminar 3 and Tutorial
  • Personal Study Hours: x12 (Total hours: 108) - Out of class and personal study
Attendance and learning activities: Attend all sessions (Lectures and Tutorials). Most sessions build on the work on the previous one. It is difficult to recover if you miss a session. Attendance in tutorials and labs will be monitored, and could affect the final mark in this subject.


Prescribed resources:
  • Derek Seward (2014). Understanding Structures: Analysis, Materials, Design. 5th, Suffolk: Palgrave Macmillian
After enrolment, students can check the Books and Tools area in iLearn for the full Resource List.
[email protected] & Email:[email protected] is the online learning environment at Bond University and is used to provide access to subject materials, lecture recordings and detailed subject information regarding the subject curriculum, assessment and timing. Both iLearn and the Student Email facility are used to provide important subject notifications. Additionally, official correspondence from the University will be forwarded to students’ Bond email account and must be monitored by the student.

To access these services, log on to the Student Portal from the Bond University website as

Enrolment requirements

Requisites: ?


Restrictions: ?


Assurance of learning

Assurance of Learning means that universities take responsibility for creating, monitoring and updating curriculum, teaching and assessment so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need for employability and/or further study.

At Bond University, we carefully develop subject and program outcomes to ensure that student learning in each subject contributes to the whole student experience. Students are encouraged to carefully read and consider subject and program outcomes as combined elements.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Program Learning Outcomes provide a broad and measurable set of standards that incorporate a range of knowledge and skills that will be achieved on completion of the program. If you are undertaking this subject as part of a degree program, you should refer to the relevant degree program outcomes and graduate attributes as they relate to this subject.

Find your program

Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
  1. Understand the loads that impact on structures and be able to do simple calculations to show how these are resisted by structural elements.
  2. Understand the properties of different  foundation materials and be able to design simple footings and retaining walls to suit.
  3. Understand the basis of the structural design of concrete, steel and timber elements and be able to do simple calculations relating to the design of such elements.
  4. Understand how trusses perform and be able to perform basic calculations to discover the forces within truss elements.
  5. Be able to determine bracing rquirements for residential buildings.
  6. Understand how multi-storey buildings behave structurally.
  7. Have some knowledge of the structural behaviour of other materials such as glass, bricks and prestressed concrete.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
Paper-based Examination (Closed) Mid-semester exam 20% Mid-Semester Examination Period 1, 2, 3.
Essay Assignment 1 30% Week 10 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7.
Paper-based Examination (Closed) ^ Final exam 50% Final Examination Period 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Pass requirement

Students must achieve a minimum 50% on the final exam as well as minimum 50% cumulative total for all assessment items to be eligible to pass this subject.

  • ^ Students must pass this assessment to pass the subject
  • * Assessment timing is indicative of the week that the assessment is due or begins (where conducted over multiple weeks), and is based on the standard University academic calendar
  • C = Students must reach a level of competency to successfully complete this assessment.

Assessment criteria

High Distinction 85-100 Outstanding or exemplary performance in the following areas: interpretative ability; intellectual initiative in response to questions; mastery of the skills required by the subject, general levels of knowledge and analytic ability or clear thinking.
Distinction 75-84 Usually awarded to students whose performance goes well beyond the minimum requirements set for tasks required in assessment, and who perform well in most of the above areas.
Credit 65-74 Usually awarded to students whose performance is considered to go beyond the minimum requirements for work set for assessment. Assessable work is typically characterised by a strong performance in some of the capacities listed above.
Pass 50-64 Usually awarded to students whose performance meets the requirements set for work provided for assessment.
Fail 0-49 Usually awarded to students whose performance is not considered to meet the minimum requirements set for particular tasks. The fail grade may be a result of insufficient preparation, of inattention to assignment guidelines or lack of academic ability. A frequent cause of failure is lack of attention to subject or assignment guidelines.

Quality assurance

For the purposes of quality assurance, Bond University conducts an evaluation process to measure and document student assessment as evidence of the extent to which program and subject learning outcomes are achieved. Some examples of student work will be retained for potential research and quality auditing purposes only. Any student work used will be treated confidentially and no student grades will be affected.

Study information

Submission procedures

Students must check the [email protected] subject site for detailed assessment information and submission procedures.

Policy on late submission and extensions

A late penalty will be applied to all overdue assessment tasks unless an extension is granted by the subject coordinator. The standard penalty will be 10% of marks awarded to that assessment per day late with no assessment to be accepted seven days after the due date. Where a student is granted an extension, the penalty of 10% per day late starts from the new due date.

Policy on plagiarism

University’s Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as the act of misrepresenting as one’s own original work: another’s ideas, interpretations, words, or creative works; and/or one’s own previous ideas, interpretations, words, or creative work without acknowledging that it was used previously (i.e., self-plagiarism). The University considers the act of plagiarising to be a breach of the Student Conduct Code and, therefore, subject to the Discipline Regulations which provide for a range of penalties including the reduction of marks or grades, fines and suspension from the University.

Bond University utilises Originality Reporting software to inform academic integrity.

Feedback on assessment

Feedback on assessment will be provided to students within two weeks of the assessment submission due date, as per the Assessment Policy.

Accessibility and Inclusion Support

If you have a disability, illness, injury or health condition that impacts your capacity to complete studies, exams or assessment tasks, it is important you let us know your special requirements, early in the semester. Students will need to make an application for support and submit it with recent, comprehensive documentation at an appointment with a Disability Officer. Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Office at the earliest possible time, to meet staff and learn about the services available to meet your specific needs. Please note that late notification or failure to disclose your disability can be to your disadvantage as the University cannot guarantee support under such circumstances.

Subject curriculum

This topic covers an introductory discussion on 'Structures', structural engineering and the aims and objectives of this subject.

1, 7.

This topic introduces a lot of fundamental concepts to the understanding of engineering basics including forces, equilibrium equations, support conditions and the idea of stress and strain.

1, 7.

This topic introduces the primary structural materials that are used in the construction industry. The advantages and disadvantages of these are also discussed. A number of developing materials are introduced as possible future alternatives.


This topic introduces the design actions imparted on a structure and how these are determined and considered in appropriate load combinations.

1, 3, 4, 6, 7.

This topic introduces the concept of tension and compression members including an introduction and discussion on trusses. This includes both practical and theoretical consideration of truss systems

1, 4.

This topic covers the concept of bending in structural members. This includes discussions of bending moment diagrams and shear force diagrams.

2, 6, 7.

This topic discusses in detail the theoretical basis used in the calculation and application of loads to structures during design. Load types are discussed and presented as well as discussion and understanding of load paths and force transfer.

1, 6.

This topic introduces the concept of stability and considers this aspect of structures from a local and global perspective.


This topic covers the structural principle of 'serviceability' in detail and describes the design process for this consideration. Connection details and force types or transfer through connections are also presented.

1, 3, 5, 6.

Given the dominance of this material in the construction industry, this topic delves deeper into the technical details and practical applications of this construction material. This includes a discussion of post-tensioned and pre-stressed concrete. There is also an in depth discussion on the numerous variations of reinforced concrete structural systems. This includes considerations of a range of available options including various suspended in-situ concrete floors, slabs on grade and pre-cast systems

1, 2, 3.

This topic covers the ground conditions related to structures. It considers local ground conditions, possible ground improvements as well as the various footing systems available based on several job/project characteristics

1, 2, 6.

This topic covers an introduction into the background of sustainability considerations for the built environment with a specific focus on how structural engineers can positively influence outcomes.

1, 3.
Approved on: Jul 7, 2018. Edition: 1.4