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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, 2022
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Assumed knowledge

CIVL3805. Students are expected to have grasped the concepts of basic financial and economic analysis and to have understood and applied basic tools for project management

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Mike Bambach,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
20% Week 05 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO5 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Tutorial quiz Quiz 2
20% Week 10 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Assignment Project report
60% Week 13 na
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10

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 Introduction, PPP and business case Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 02 Procurement Strategy and role of Government Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 03 Governance and Commercial Structuring Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 04 Feasibility issues and managing risk Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 05 Economic Infrastructure and Tollroads Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 06 Feasibility issues and social infrastructure Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 07 Procurement workshop and delivery strategy Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 08 Financial modelling workshop and property/infrastructure issues Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 09 Financial structuring and the Aerotropolis Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 10 Risk workshop and case studies Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 11 Market evolution and case studies Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 12 Feedback, review and reflection Lecture (4 hr)  
Week 13 Finalisation of project feasibility report Lecture (4 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

The course is designed as project-based learning through conducting research and applying knowledge to a real-life project. The lecturers will introduce topical aspects of developing project feasibility studies and refer to standard practice and guidance. Students have the opportunity to engage with the lecturers online as all lectures will be delivered live. Lectures will be recorded. Students are encouraged to think critically about the topic and will be provided with an extensive reading list for research and knowledge development. The schedule includes a number of workshops or tutorials where students have the opportunity to apply theoretical concepts to practical examples. These tutorials will also be conducted online with the use of break out groups. Tutorials will not be fully recorded but learning outcomes will be uploaded; students are encouraged to participate and engage in the live tutorials. Attendance at lectures and tutorials is not mandatory but bonus marks will be awarded for active participation. Students have the opportunity to prepare a draft project feasibility report for feedback prior to submission of the final report for marking; this is not mandatory but provides an opportunity for students to improve marks

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. prepare a project feasibility report
  • 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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