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Unit of study_

CIVL4815: Project Formulation

The aim of this unit is to develop students' ability to formulate projects through critically assessing and developing business case and project plan for a real-life engineering project. This unit is relevant for students who intend to pursue career related to project management. The learning activities focus on the project's viability and early stage planning. Strategic needs and possible project options are identified and assessed based on potential benefits, costs and the strategic context. Suitable site/route needs to be selected for the project based on technical and business considerations. Due consideration should also be given to the project's impact on environment and communities. The project's viability can be indicated using Benefit-Cost ratio as well as non-financial indicators such as number of jobs created and the number of life saved. In deriving these indicators, it is important to take project uncertainties into consideration through using techniques such as sensitivity analysis, decision-tree analysis, probabilistic modelling and Monte Carlo simulation. The objective is to justify investment to address the business needs and recommend the most appropriate response to the business needs. The early stage planning concentrates on defining project requirements and project delivery strategy. The objective is to seek approval/support for project delivery or to critically evaluate the current project plan, depending on the current stage of the project. The exercise is to develop a plan guide project delivery and transition to operation. The plan should cover, but not limited to, the feasibility analysis, project deliverables, plan of activities necessary to move the project to the next stages, procurement strategy, what's needed to enable delivery (e. g. stakeholder management plan, planning and other approvals, funding, time, control processes, community and environment management plan, marketing and sales plan, and risk management plan) and, what is required to complete delivery and transition to operation stages.


Academic unit Civil Engineering
Unit code CIVL4815
Unit name Project Formulation
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

CIVL3805 AND (CIVL3812 OR CIVL2812)
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Peter Cafe,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Participation
10% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
15% Week 07 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO5 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Tutorial quiz Quiz 2
15% Week 10 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Assignment Project report
40% Week 11 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO2
Presentation Presentation
20% Week 13 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

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. Introduction; 2. PPP and business case Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 02 1. Project feasibility; 2. Feasibility of social infrastructure Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 03 1. Spreadsheet modelling; 2. Parramatta Light rail project Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 04 1. Examining and quantifying risks; 2. Project risk modelling and management Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 05 1. Project procurement options; 2. Project procurement and tendering Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 07 1. Financial structuring; 2. Commercial structuring Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 08 1. Risk allocation; 2. Commercial and financial structuring Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 09 1. Evolution of PPPs; 2. Financing plan for mega infrastructure projects Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 10 1. How the digital engineering could revolutionise the construction industry? 2. Project governance Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 11 Lecture Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 12 Lecture Lecture (4 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Study commitment:  This course is designed primarily as project-based learning through conducting independent, team-based research and the application of knowledge to a real-life project. Students work in teams to work on the project. Lectures will be primarily delivered by experienced practioners from the related industries such as project finance and Transport for NSW. Since the lectures are mainly based on the practitioners' life experiences, it is ciritical for students to attend the lectures and interact wtih the lecuturers during the lectures/tutorials.

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. identify objectives, tasks, data collection needs, constraints for a project and be able to critically assess project plans for the definition, procurement and delivery of the project, and transition to operation
  • LO2. identify objectives, tasks, data collection needs and issues (e.g. social, political, organisational, financial, etc.) for assessing the feasibility of a case project and explain how they influence assessment outcomes
  • LO3. present the project proposal to a panel of industry experts
  • LO4. understand concepts around funding and financing projects
  • LO5. demonstrate good understanding of the due diligence process and the information needs of financiers of the project
  • LO6. identify major project risks, evaluate their impacts on project outcomes, and assess risk management plans
  • LO7. identify and evaluate the effects of non-financial factors (e.g. environmental and social) that are critical to the delivery of the project, and critically assess implementation plans
  • LO8. comprehend and relate to real-life examples the fundamental concepts in project formulation
  • LO9. critically assess the business case of complex engineering projects
  • LO10. analyse potential project solutions using economic benefit-cost analysis and other financial tools to determine financial and/or economic viability.

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
Developments based on previous years feedback will be incorporated in the unit and explained during lectures and tutorials.


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