USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at //
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

CIV2503 Structural Design I

Semester 2, 2014 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Contents on this page


Examiner: Yan Zhuge
Moderator: Karu Karunasena


Pre-requisite: (ENG1100 and MEC2402) or (ENG1100 and CIV1501 for students enrolled in Program: BETC)


Structural design is concerned with buildings and other structures such as bridges. A structural design engineer is required to make decisions about how buildings and other structures will be built such that they will perform satisfactorily and will not rapidly deteriorate, deflect excessively or in the worst event, fall down. The design engineer makes decisions about the general arrangement of the structural members, the materials of which they are made, their size and how they are connected together. Structural designers make use of information about materials and construction processes together with various analytical techniques to assist them in making the correct decisions about how structures should be built. In pre-requisite courses students will have already acquired some of this knowledge. In particular they have learnt how to analyse structures to determine such things as bending moments, deflections and stresses. In this course they will revise, consolidate and extend these topics and use them to assist in the design of structures. The course concentrates on estimating the loads which a structure may be required to carry, designing individual members in steel and timber. Specific code provisions applicable to design of timber and steel together with load estimation are discussed in detail in this course.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. present defining diagrams and associated discussions and/or calculations relating to structural design in a manner that communicates the logic of the underlying phenomena and processes;
  2. map out the major steps in the total design process;
  3. extract separable structural elements from simple buildings and model the supports, restraints, continuity and loading conditions on such elements in terms of line load diagrams;
  4. utilise approximate analysis techniques to determine design load effects on structures;
  5. explain the logic behind, and apply limit state design;
  6. use relevant industry standards to evaluate structural engineering loads;
  7. determine approximate member sizes in steel and timber for simple situations;
  8. differentiate the material characteristics of timber from those of steel, and determine timber member sizes to industry standards for tension elements, beams and columns;
  9. determine member sizes to industry standards for structural steel tension elements, pure compression elements, and beams;
  10. explain nominated aspects of relevant national building codes.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Total design process 5.00
2. Structural modelling 5.00
3. Design methods 10.00
4. Use of AS1170 15.00
5. Approximate methods 15.00
6. Timber design 25.00
7. Steel design 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • You are required to down load the following Australian Standards from the USQ library: AS1170.0, AS1170.1, AS4100 and AS1720.1. (Detailed instruction on how to download these Australian Standards will be available in the Course Introduction Book).

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Boughton, GN & Crews, KI 1998, Timber design handbook: in accordance with the Australian Limit State Timber Design Code AS 1720.1-1997, Standards Australia, Homebush NSW.
  • Gorenc, B, Tinyou, R & Syam, A 2005, Steel designers' handbook, 7th edn, University of NSW Press, Sydney, NSW.
  • Hibbeler, RC 2009, Structural analysis, 7th edn, Pearson Prentice Hall, Singapore.
    (SI Units.)
  • Standards Australia 2003, HB 2.2-2003 Australian standards for civil engineering students: structural engineering, 8th edn, Standards Australia, Sydney, NSW.
    (Note this must be the 2003 or later edition. Any earlier edition will not be adequate.)
  • Trahair, NS & Bradford, MA 1998, The behaviour and design of steel structures to AS4100, 3rd edn, Taylor & Francis, New York.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 20.00
Directed Study 52.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 81.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 200 20 01 Sep 2014
ASSIGNMENT 2 200 20 17 Oct 2014
2 HOUR RESTRICTED EXAMINATION 600 60 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. Student Administration will advise students of the dates of their examination during the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade in a course a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Restricted Examination, candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: HB2.2 (2003) ? Australian Standards for civil engineering students Part 2: Structural Engineering or AS/NZS 1170 ? structural design actions, AS 1720.1 ? Timber structures and AS 4100 ? Steel structures; writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination); calculators which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination); English translation dictionaries (but not technical dictionaries). Candidates may take an appropriate non- electronic translation dictionary into the examination. This will be subject to perusal and, if it is found to contain annotations or markings that could give the candidate an unfair advantage, it may be removed from the candidate's possession until the appropriate disciplinary action is completed. Translation dictionary. Students whose first language is not English, may, with the Examiner's approval, take an appropriate non- electronic translation dictionary into the examination. Students who wish to use a translation dictionary MUST request and receive written approval from the Examiner at least one week before the examination date.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.