Skip to main content

During 2021 we will continue to support students who need to study remotely due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and travel restrictions. Make sure you check the location code when selecting a unit outline or choosing your units of study in Sydney Student. Find out more about what these codes mean. Both remote and on-campus locations have the same learning activities and assessments, however teaching staff may vary. More information about face-to-face teaching and assessment arrangements for each unit will be provided on Canvas.

Unit of study_

CIVL3206: Steel Structures 1

This unit of study is concerned with the behaviour and design of steel structures. Statics provided the fundamentals of equilibrium upon which most structural engineering is based. Structural Concepts and Structural Analysis provided information on the loads (actions) on a structure and how structures resist these actions with a resulting distribution of internal actions (bending moments, shear forces, axial forces; BMDs, SFDs and AFDs). Structural Mechanics considered how these internal actions resulted in stresses and strains in members. Materials considered the microscopic and molecular structure of metals to determine its inherent mechanical properties such as yield stress. This unit of study will then combine the knowledge of stresses, material properties of steel, structural analysis, and loading, and consider new concepts and modes of failure, such as local and flexural torsional buckling, combined actions and second-order effects to understand the behaviour of steel members and frames, and how this behaviour is accounted for in the design standard AS 4100. Both the units of study "Steel Structures 1" and "Concrete Structures 1" can be considered the culmination of the various elements of structural engineering begun in "Engineering Mechanics" in first year, and is further developed in "Civil Engineering Design" in final year. More advanced topics, such as plate behaviour, advanced buckling and connection design, are considered in the final year elective subject "Steel Structures 2". It is recognised that not all students intend to become consulting structural engineers. The unit of study is designed so that students who make an effort to understand the concepts are most capable of passing. Students who are planning a career in the consulting structural engineering profession should be aiming at achieving a Distinction grade or higher.


Academic unit Civil Engineering
Unit code CIVL3206
Unit name Steel Structures 1
Session, year
Semester 2, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Assumed knowledge

(CIVL2110 OR CIVL1110) AND CIVL2201 AND (CIVL2230 OR CIVL1900)

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Tim Wilkinson,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam hurdle task Final exam
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Assignment
0% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment hurdle task group assignment Design assignment 1
15% Week 04 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
7.5% Week 07 1 hr
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment hurdle task group assignment Design assignment 2
15% Week 08 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Tutorial quiz Quiz 2
7.5% Week 10 50 min
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment hurdle task Lab Report
10% Week 12 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment hurdle task group assignment Design assignment 3
15% Week 13 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Criteria for Passing:  In order to achieve a pass in this unit of study, all the following criteria must be satisfied:

  • A total mark of at least 50 %.
  • Final examination mark of at least 45 %.  This hurdle percentage may be reduced by the lecturer based on exact nature of the questions in the exam.
  • Making a genuine submission for each of the 3 design assignments and lab report.




  • Final exam: The questions will be of a similar format to the questions in the tutorials. For each of the 5 main topics (tension, compression, bending, combined actions, and connections) there will be both an explanation-type and a numerical question. The “explanation” questions test understanding of the subject. Questions related to the design project and laboratory sessions maybe included in the final exam. .
  • Quiz: Two short quizzes will be held. The main aim of the quizzes is to examine the students’ understanding of the main concepts in the unit of study covered to that date, and familiarity with the use of AS 4100, without excessive calculations. 
  • Project: Students will be required to design the critical components of a real steel structure in various stages. The workload is spread across three separate submissions. Submission of all 3 parts of the design exercise is essential. The individual components are loads and layout; structural analysis, tension/compression design; and bending/compression design. The design exercise is integrated into the unit of study - eg there are the lectures on compression, followed by the tutorial on compression and finally the design exercise on compression. Exercises are anticipated to take 8 hours each. 
  • Report: A report on each of the two laboratory sessions is required.
  • Assignment: Various tutorial questions will be distributed relating to each of the five major topics covered in the unit of study. The tutorial questions are designed to complement the lecture material. Students should aim to complete some of the questions immediately. The tutorial questions prepare students for the corresponding component of the design exercise.  These are not submitted and worth zero marks.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

There will be additional discussions in lectures/tutorials and/or separate electronic documents/announcements outlining the standards expected to receive specific grades in assignments.  These will also provide guides to students to help them improve the quality of their work.  Specific examples or expectations of good answers are actively discussed in lectures.

There may be statistically and educationally defensible methods used when combining the marks from each component to ensure consistency of marking between markers, and alignment of final grades with grade descriptors


The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Welcome; 2. Intro to the design exercise; 3. Assumed knowledge session (6 hr)  
Week 02 1. Structural steel/standards; 2. Structure layout and loading (6 hr)  
Week 03 1. Frame and truss analysis; 2. Tension members (6 hr)  
Week 04 1. Compression members; 2. Frame and truss analysis (6 hr)  
Week 05 1. Compression members; 2. Tension/compression (6 hr)  
Week 06 1. Truss design briefing; 2. Tension/compression (6 hr)  
Week 07 1. Beams; 2. Truss design (6 hr)  
Week 08 1. Beams; 2. Truss design (6 hr)  
Week 09 1. Beams; 2. Frames and beam-columns (6 hr)  
Week 10 1. Civil engineering workshop tour; 2. ASI lecture (to be confirmed); 3. Beam-columns (6 hr)  
Week 11 1. Frame design briefing; Frames and beam-columns; 2. Beam-columns (6 hr)  
Week 12 1. Connections; 2. Practical steel design (6 hr)  
Week 13 1. Connections; 2. Frame design; 3. Unit of study summary; (6 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate competence in designing a simple structure to AS 4100
  • LO2. follow most other structural design specifications, given their similarities to AS 4100
  • LO3. be familiar with the behaviour of steel structures, in particular the various forms of failure for members and connections under tension, compression, bending and combined action
  • LO4. understand the various types of buckling that occur, and the parameters which affect buckling
  • LO5. determine strength capacities of individual members to AS 410.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
'No significant changes have been made since this unit was last offered

Work, health and safety

For lab sessions, students will be required to read, acknowledge and follow a set of safety instructions.  Enclosed shoes are required to enter the laboratory.

Additional safety requirements due to the COVID-19 emergency, especially social distancing requirements, will be announced on canvas.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.