ENCI313-16S2 (C) Semester Two 2016

Civil Engineering Design Studio 2

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 11 July 2016
End Date: Sunday, 13 November 2016
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 22 July 2016
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 7 October 2016


Conceptual design of multi-disciplinary civil engineering projects; regulatory planning; professional skills; economic, social and environmental assessments.

Civil Engineering Design Studio 2 is an essential course in your civil engineering education. Unlike the majority of your lecture courses that focus on providing you with the fundamentals of engineering science, whether it be in geomechanics, transportation engineering, materials, structural mechanics or any of the other disciplines covered in your programme, Design Studio 2 aims to provide you with a realistic design experience where the emphasis is on high-level conceptual design.

While studying civil engineering it is tempting to see engineering problem-solving as being associated with analysing design details – for example the pump in a water supply system, the beams used in a building, or the piles for the foundations of a bridge. While civil engineers are very much concerned with such details they must also be able to take large-scale, complex projects and conceptualise solutions that achieve the specific design goals for the project, while at the same time being technically feasible, financially viable, environmentally sustainable, and socially and culturally acceptable. Such large-scale projects never have a single, clear solution. Many factors need to be considered in making design decisions and your creativity as a professional engineer plays a key role in producing a solution that meets the goals of your client.

The success of such large scale projects is grounded in the engineering science of the core civil engineering disciplines, but that engineering science in itself is insufficient to handle these complex problems and to produce design solutions that satisfy the many, and often conflicting, requirements.

Our goal in this course is to provide you with your first encounter with a complex civil engineering design problem that will require you to think in a different way to the detailed design problems with which you are rather more familiar.  At times this experience will feel disconcerting. There will not be hard and fast rules to fall back on in making your design decisions. You won’t be able to look over the shoulder of others working on the same project to see if they have the right answer, as there simply isn’t a “right” answer. This “blank sheet” type problem where your creativity, reinforced by your technical knowledge, is free to explore multiple possible solutions and weigh up their advantages and disadvantages against a set of requirements imposed by your client, the local consenting authority and other stakeholders, is exciting, challenging and liberating. This notion of working for a client and finding solutions that satisfy their needs, and that help them to achieve their goals, is a fundamental aspect of engineering practice.

To achieve this goal the course is designed around a complex project that you could realistically encounter in your future professional career. The course resources and activities are specifically designed to support your development as a design engineer such that by the end of the course you will possess a range of skills that will enable you to approach such problems with some degree of confidence.

In order to bring the flavour of the professional world to the classroom you will do the majority of the work in this course as part of a team of four or five members. Your team will be supported by a practising engineer who will act as a mentor throughout the semester, offering you guidance and advice on how you might tackle the problem you are confronted with. Their perspective will provide you with an insight into how professional design engineers approach complex problems.

It is our hope that you will find this experience stimulating and educational and leave you with a sense of what might lie in store for you in your future career.

Learning Outcomes

The overall course objective is:

To develop professional skills in integrated and conceptual design.

More specifically at the completion of the course you will be able to:

- Explain the value of integration in engineering design,
- Be able to work on “complex” (as defined by IPENZ) engineering problems and appreciate this uniqueness,
- Scope a project in terms of client wishes and the key engineering issues involved,
- Determine the resource management issues and constraints on a project,
- Describe conceptual issues and constraints associated with project requirements,
- Prepare an estimate of cost for a civil engineering project,
- Undertake a peer review of another engineer’s work,
- Prepare engineering drawings of sufficient detail for cost estimates and funding decisions,
- Prepare a professional report and poster for a client, and
- Develop group skills by working in a team.



ENCI312, ENNR313

Equivalent Courses

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Markus Pahlow


Frances Charters , Roger Forde (NZDF) , Vaughan McEwen (NZDF) , Robert Ansell (NZDF) , Stephen Douglass (GHD) , Humphrey Archer (Beca) , Siouan Hartwell (AECOM) , Andrew Holmes (Hawkins) , Andrew Whaley (GHD) , Mark Milke , Ian Mason , Tim Nees and Alan Nicholson

This course, because of its nature, is taught primarily by industry practitioners, while course coordination lies within the department. This year the Course Coordinator is Dr Markus Pahlow, supported by Frances Charters. Kim Parrent, a PhD student in English, will coordinate the assessment of communication skills and those assessments that contribute towards the Communication Portfolio.

This course is tightly focussed on the major design project. This project has a common context with that for the natural resources engineering students. The Project Leader for the civil engineering project is Markus Pahlow, who has developed the project concept in collaboration with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). The natural resources project will be led by Dr Ian Mason, a Research Fellow in energy in the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering. Markus Pahlow, supported by NZDF staff, will introduce both projects at the beginning of the course.

The first 7 weeks have a number of lectures primarily given by practising engineers. These lectures are designed to provide you with background and knowledge that are related to your project, but that also give you a broader perspective of design in a number of civil engineering activities. During these weeks you will be working on the project but it is during the last term that you will spend the vast majority of your time working on your design. This will be done in groups with the support of an industry mentor.

Five times during the course you will be able to meet with your industry mentor in a timetabled tutorial. These tutorials will be crucial in the development of your design. Each mentor will be guiding 4 or 5 groups so you will need to come to these tutorials well prepared to take advantage of the limited time you have with your mentor. The group allocations and mentors can be found in the Group Allocations document.


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
final exam 25%
Group project 40%
Individual report 10%
peer review 3%
Poster 7%
Professionalism 5%
Test 10%

1. You cannot pass this course unless you achieve a mark of at least 40% in each of the test and the final exam. A student who narrowly fails to achieve 40% in either the test or exam, but who performs very well in the other, may be eligible for a pass in the course.

2. All assignments must be submitted by the due date. Each assessment describes the penalty for a late submission. If a student is unable to complete and submit an assignment by the deadline due to personal circumstances beyond their control they should discuss this with the lecturer involved as soon as possible.

3. Students in this course can apply for aegrotat consideration provided they have sat the test, the final exam or both.

4. The mark allocated to each student for the group project will be modified through a peer evaluation process. Details of this process will be included in the design brief document.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $901.00

International fee $4,863.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering .

All ENCI313 Occurrences

  • ENCI313-16S2 (C) Semester Two 2016