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This course is concerned with the nature and properties of construction materials for civil projects, general design principles and construction practices in rock and soil, and selected case studies (both historical and current). It also considers appropriate engineering geology practice for various surface and subsurface projects, with emphasis on project failures and the implications for sound geotechnical practice. Knowledge of precedent is fundamental to engineering design and construction, and the course content is inherently practical rather than theoretical.
Engineering geology practice requires sound knowledge of civil, mining and environmental disciplines, with particular emphasis on design and construction needs of the engineering professions. The primary role of the engineering geologist is to provide an understanding of site-specific surface and subsurface geology such that rational design is developed from the investigation outputs. This requires a sound knowledge of geotechnical precedent, which derives from a wide-ranging review of construction case studies including those where overt failure of the structure has occurred. The principal aim of the ENGE411 course is to ensure that all students are familiar with construction principles and techniques, and with the role of geotechnical precedent in design and construction practice. Students are expected to have read widely on the subject; to be familiar with a range of surface and subsurface construction methods; and to demonstrate an ability to prepare in-depth and summary reports on a variety of topics.
Be able to record field observations faithfully and clearly, and to relate those observations through presentation to an audienceUnderstand and apply engineering geology philosophy and methodology in the design, construction and maintenance of surface and underground civil and mining structures.Be familiar with design and construction requirements for principal types of engineering works, including dams, canals, tunnels, bridges, slopes and river/coastal protection.Assess material and design requirements for roading, concrete, ballast, armourstone and stabilised soils.Understand groundwater management on construction sites, including dewatering and related ground improvement techniques.Be able to conduct a literature review using international, peer-reviewed journal sourcesUse case studies of past engineering projects as geological precedent for future site investigation and geotechnical construction practice.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
(1) ENGE 410 and (2) approval from the Head of Department of Geological Sciences
The ENGE411 course comprises review of a range of construction techniques and case studies over a six-week period (Term 3), followed by field trips in the mid-semester break. The key field trip involves four days in Central Otago, with a visit to the Clyde Power Project as the main objective: a series of local (Christchurch and immediate surroundings) site visits follow the Otago field trip.Block # - Dates - Lectures (Topics) - Lecturers1 - 16 Jul – 24 Aug - Guided learning, review of various construction methods, and literature review - DHB/CHF2 - 26-29 Aug - Central Otago field trip (Clyde Power Project) - DHB/CHF3 - 31 Aug - 7 Sept - Local field trips in and around Christchurch - CHF/DHB
PrerequisitesENGE 410AssessmentLiterature review of international engineering geology project(s) - 40% (due 26 Aug 9 am)Field notebooks and colloquia; site-specific exercises - 60% (due during and after fieldtrips)
Delatte, Norbert J;
Beyond failure : forensic case studies for civil engineers
ASCE Press, 2009.
Dunnicliff, John. , Green, Gordon E;
Geotechnical instrumentation for monitoring field performance
Eddleston, M. , Geological Society of London.University of Manchester);
Engineering geology of construction
Geological Society, 1995.
Geotechnical engineering of dams
CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2015.
Jackson, Neil. , Dhir, Ravindra K;
Civil engineering materials
Domestic fee $1,101.00
International Postgraduate fees
* 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.
This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.
For further information see
School of Earth and Environment on the
departments and faculties