Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

CENV3056 Structural Engineering

Module Overview

This module aims to provide a detailed understanding and practical application of methods of structural analysis and design to approved codes of practice relevant to typical steel and concrete framed buildings and bridges with supplementary studies in timber and masonry materials. An additional understanding pertaining to the appropriate use of advanced analytical methods will be provided complementary to core study objectives. This module will build on the content of Part 2 CENV2024: Structural Design and Materials to cover the conceptualisation and detailed design of beams, columns, slabs and connections in reinforced concrete and steel incorporating limit state principles.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A broad knowledge of contributory factors that may influence structural design and construction e.g. sustainability,
  • Maintenance and repair techniques
  • Analysis and design of reinforced concrete and steel structures using limit state theory
  • Analysis and design techniques for steel and reinforced concrete framed buildings and bridges
  • Conceptual choice and preliminary sizing of key elements for structural designs
  • he behaviour and design of structural connections and the role of load paths
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of bounds and limitations
  • Analyse structural behaviour and performance
  • Solve problems in structural engineering
  • Compare a range of options for solution of a structural problem
  • Derive structural component capacities
  • Justify the structural integrity proposed
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Written communication
  • Manage and organise time
  • Problem solving
  • Learn independently
  • Analyse complex engineering systems
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design a structural solution to a simple or extended technical problem
  • Create design schemes for the solution of a problem
  • Integrate knowledge and information from a variety of sources to build a solution


Introduction and understanding of the Eurocodes. Application of limit state theory to structural design. A complete understanding relating to the comprehensive design and detailing of (flexure, shear, local and global buckling):steel beams, steel columns, base plates, lateral torsional buckling effects, steel welded connections, steel bolted connections, reinforced concrete beams and slabs, reinforced concrete columns, reinforced concrete concentrated shear effects. The incorporation of conceptualisation and provisional element sizing as a design tool is covered in depth (also forming part of the final examination). Additional LUSAS tutorial series will include: Session 1: Getting started/ beam models: Creation of points and lines, defining and assigning attributes. Using view tools and drawing layers including diagrams. Standard section property calculator. Loading options. Envelopes & combinations. Connectivity and basic checklist. Examples: Roof truss (guided) and arch bridge (workshop-style) Session 2: Plates and shells: Plate and shell elements. Creation of surfaces. Discrete point and patch loads. Contoured results, graphing and user defined results. Mesh refinement. Example: flat slab (guided), circular tank (hands on) Session 3: Mixed beams & shells (inc basic dynamics) Mixing element types. Use of offsets. Natural frequencies & animation tools. Stress concentrations. Constraint equations. Example: Building floor (with columns) Session 4: 2D & 3D continuum: Continuum elements: 3D, plane stress, plane strain, axisymmetric. Generating 3D geometry (import or draw). Structural idealisation - choosing the best approach. Example: Box culvert (plane strain) or circular tank (axisymmetric) Example: Box culvert (plane strain) or circular tank (axisymmetric) Session 5: Buckling: About buckling; Local and global buckling; analysis approach. Elastic (eigenvalue) buckling and NL buckling. Example: 3D girders using shell elements with elastic buckling

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Three weekly lectures: (i): formal theory and best practice, (ii): applied design examples, (iii): guided tutorials with feedback. Examples of international flag-ship projects in structural design: illustrative scheme designs and reference case studies. Taught material is reinforced through structured problem solving, feedback and additional sources of reference information. Conceptual design and sizing of key structural elements using 'rules of thumb' for feasibility stages and outline design is considered in parallel. Video examples of inspirational structural design projects, materials science and key detailing concepts are shown throughout the lecture delivery to aid understanding and foster a wider interest in the subject; placing the study materials in contemporary context. Field visit to the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum to study period structural design and construction in a broad range of natural materials, including the UK's first timber gridshell. Guest lecture in week 5 from external invited speaker: Director of Health & Safety, briefing on diligent measures for structural engineers. Intensive six week, professionally delivered tutorial series focusing upon the correct and diligent use of FEA for structural design - skills in LUSAS structural analysis software will be taught to aid students in future project studies and further career development. LUSAS learning will be cross matched to core study materials and assessment methods.

Practical classes and workshops18
Independent Study94
External visits8
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Mosley, Bungey and Hulse. Reinforced Concrete Design. 

N.S. Trahair, M.A. Bradford, D.A. Nethercot and L. Gardner.. The Behaviour and Design of Steel Structures to EC3. 


Assessment Strategy

Repeat year method - External repeat as per referral method.


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 20%
Examination  ( minutes) 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite/s: CENV2024 and MATH2048

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings