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Unit of study_

CIVL5535: Building Envelope and Adaptive Engineering

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Students will gain insight into the role, behaviour and design from an engineering viewpoint of adaptive technologies and building envelopes. The Unit of Study is articulated in the following three components. In the initial part of the Unit of Study, students are exposed to available building envelope technologies and their engineering challenges. Based on selected case studies, key aspects governing their design, manufacturing, erection and performance are covered. Examples are presented on how structural adaptation provides buildings and structures with additional functionalities that can vary over time and that, otherwise, could not be achieved with conventional structural solutions. In the second part of the Unit of study, students are introduced to basic methodologies that can be used for the engineering analysis and design of adaptive components and systems. In this part, students are also exposed to the needs and complexity in performing optimisation studies to satisfy specific project design requirements. Latest trends in adaptive technologies and building envelope engineering are presented in the remaining part of the Unit of Study.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CIVL5535
Academic unit Civil Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

CIVL1900 Introduction to Civil Engineering and CIVL2110 Materials and CIVL2201 Structural Mechanics and MATH2061 Linear Mathematics and Vector Calculus

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Fengji Luo,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
Questions and answers.
35% Formal exam period 1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Assignment Assignment1
Questions and answers.
15% Week 06
Due date: 07 Sep 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 22 Sep 2023
6-10 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO6
Small test Mid-term Quiz
Questions and answers.
25% Week 08
Due date: 21 Sep 2023 at 11:00

Closing date: 21 Sep 2023
1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3
Assignment group assignment Assignment2
Questions and answers.
25% Week 12
Due date: 26 Oct 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 03 Nov 2023
12-20 hours.
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO1
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

- Submission of assignment 1 in Canvas.

- Submission of assignment 2 in Canvas. 

- In-semester exam in Canvas.

- Final exam will be managed by the Exam Office. 

Assessment criteria

Result name Mark range Description
High distinction 85-100 Have a through understanding of the concepts in this Unit of Study and are able to apply these concepts to new problems. 
Distinction 75-84 Increasing understanding and abstractions.
Credit 65-74 Increasing understanding and abstractions. 
Pass 50-64 Are able to apply the analysis and design approaches covered in this Unit of Study to basic problems.
Fail  0-49 Have no understanding of the concepts covered in this Unit of Study and are not able to solve basic problems. 

For more information see guide to grades.

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.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Late penalties: (i) 10% per day of full mark of assignment; (ii) late penalties for in-semester exam to be managed in accordance with University policies and (iii) late penalties for final exam to be managed in accordance with University policies.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity 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 integrity breaches seriously.  

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

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to key concepts related to building envelope technologies and their engineering challenges. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3
Week 02 Overview of key aspects governing the design, manufacturing and performance of building envelopes and introduction to climate-adapted solar shading approaches (Part I). Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO6
Week 03 Overview of key aspects governing the design, manufacturing and performance of building envelopes and introduction to climate-adapted solar shading approaches (Part II). Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO6
Week 04 Overview of key factors governing thermal and optical functionalities of building envelopes. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO4
Week 05 Introduction and basic calculation approaches to quantify the impact of solar radiation on building envelopes. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO4 LO6
Week 06 The influence of the building envelope’s performance on the active control of HVAC systems. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO5 LO8
Week 07 Adaptive strategies for controlling the indoor thermal comfort. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO7 LO8
Week 08 In-semester exam. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 09 Adaptive strategies for building envelopes to enhance their performance based on different climatic conditions. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO2 LO5 LO7 LO8
Week 10 Introduction to engineering challenges for the analysis and design of adaptive components and systems. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO6 LO7
Week 11 Overview of building envelope’s functionalities associated to moisture transport and thermal bridging. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 12 Latest trends in adaptive technologies and building envelope engineering. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 13 Revision for final exam. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8

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 written, oral and graphical communication skills at professional engineering standard including capacity to justify an engineering position.
  • LO2. Develop team skills through the completion of a project-based assignment.
  • LO3. Evaluate & synthesise a wide range of resources demonstrating research skills & ability to work across disciplines.
  • LO4. Apply fundamental methods of analysis for building envelopes.
  • LO5. Design of building envelopes with consideration for indoor comfort requirements.
  • LO6. Design of adaptive shading devices.
  • LO7. Develop adaptive strategies for implementation with different building envelopes to account for indoor comfort requirements.
  • LO8. Address complex problems requiring interdisciplinary approaches amd solutions.

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

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The unit of study has been updated to provide more details on the analysis methods used for building envelopes.

S. Vassigh, J. Chandler, Building Systems Integration for Enhanced Environmental Performance. J. Ross Publishing, 2011. 978-1604270150.

M.Lawson, R. Ogden, C. Goodier, Design in Modular Construction. CRC Press, 2014. 9780367865351.


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