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Unit outline_

DESC9014: Sustainable Construction Technology

Semester 1, 2021 [Block mode] - Remote

This unit covers three related areas of investigation: basic building construction practices, advanced sustainable construction practices and environmental rating of building construction. It begins by introducing a number of recurrent themes in construction in Australia at the present time including the idea of building culture, the various modes of delivery and variety of classifications of buildings and building elements and rational construction. There follows a review of sustainable construction techniques of domestic scaled buildings using, where appropriate, examples of well documented and/or accessible exemplars. The second part of the unit reviews current approaches to sustainable building technologies employed in more complex public and commercial scaled buildings, particularly with regard to processes of structural system selection, facade systems design and construction and material performance. Aspects of the National Construction Code and integration of services into the building fabric relevant to building services engineers will also be reviewed. Finally the unit will review current issues related to environmental rating of building materials.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Architectural and Design Science
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ozgur Gocer,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment group assignment Sustainable assessment of a case-study
Case study and report
40% Week 07 A3 x 15 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Assignment Smart Technical Report - material or component
Design and report
60% Week 13 A3 x 8 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Sustainable assessment of a case-study: Locate a recently constructed small-scale building to analyse as a case study. You will need to source plans, elevations and sections and other construction documents to undertake your analysis on its environmental impact. You will need to synthesise your research material with a series of self-generated sketches and diagrams to show adopted technologies, materials and construction methods. Your case-study analysis must be completed with a series of self-generated graphics and charts to explain the impact and level of applied technologies and sustainability.
  • Smart Technical Report - material or component: Students are required to prepare a Smart Technical Report (STR) explaining developments and opportunities of a selected construction material or building component. You will design and elaborate an STR which will have to link technologies, construction methodology and sustainability to communicate current trends to specialist and non-specialist audiences. The STR will need to be designed to present your research in a simple and clear manner by using self-generated infographic design completed with sketches, diagrams, graphics and charts. Your infographic design will be based on an analysis of a broad range of academic and industry data. The STR report will be completed with a brief text for each paragraph accompanied by self-generated sketches and diagrams. The STR could also be integrated with photos.
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 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.

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 03 Introduction to the unit Introduction to Sustainable construction & LCA Construction sustainability in Australia: possibilities, regulations and main drivers in construction industry Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO7
Introduction to e-tool Seminar (2 hr) LO8
Building case-study (analysis) Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO8
Week 05 LCA in Construction Sector & Low Environmental Impact materials- Ecological Materials-Embodied Energy and carbon footprint in Construction LCA and the construction Circular Economy (The impact of each building phase and opportunity of reducing a building environmental impact on the environment- Explaining 3Rs) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO7
LCA in construction design practice Seminar (2 hr) LO5 LO7
Building case-study (reading graphs and charts, check of self-selected case study) Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Building Classification Principles of Detailing Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO7
Building Technologies 1 (Heavyweight materials) Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Smart technical report (comparison and discussion of task 1) Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 09 Building Technologies 1 (Lightweight materials) Materiality 1- Glass Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Guest Lecturers: The use of concrete in AU construction sector & Sustainability of Concrete Engineered Wood Solutions Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Smart technical report (reading performance and proprieties) Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 11 Materiality: Energy Codes/Standards for buildings (Thermal insulation materials) Procurement and Delivery Methods Conclusion of the unit Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Guest Lecturer: Complex Construction Systems Excellence in sustainable building practices Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Smart Technical Report (comparison studies) Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

1. Please refer to the Resolutions of the University School:
2.Students are required to submit an application for special consideration if they need an extension for an assignment.
3.Special consideration is only applicable for short-term circumstances that are beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure. UoS Coordinators can permit a simple 2-day extension under special circumstances.
4.More information and details available at:
5.Unless a special consideration is approved or a disability adjustment is granted, penalties apply to late submissions:

6.Turnitin similarity matching software must be used for all assignments. It can only accept files 40 MB or less

7.Reference any material that is not yours.

8.  All instances of Academic dishonesty will be reported.

9.  For more details on Academic Appeals, please see:

10. Students must acknowledge all sources of feedback, editing, and proof-reading.

11. More information and details available at:

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.

Required readings

  • Ching, Francis D K. Building Construction Illustrated. 5th ed. Hoboken : Wiley, 2014.
  • Hegger, Manfred (et al.). Construction Materials Manual. English ed. Munich : Edition Detail, 2006. 
  • Schittich, Christian (Ed.). Building Skins. Basel : Birkhauser, 2012.
  • Hyde, Richard. Climate Responsive Design : A Study of Buildings in Moderate and Hot Humid Climates. New York : E & F N Spon, 2000.
  • Lawson B. Building materials, energy and environment: towards ecologically sustainable development, Royal Australian Institue of Architects, Red Hill ACT
  • El Khouli, Viola, Martin Construction techniques : from structural design to material selection : assessing and improving the environmental impact of buildings, GmbH & Co., KG, 2015
  • Watts, Andrew. Modern Construction Handbook, Berlin: Abra, 2013.
  • Crawford, Robert. Life cycle assessment in the built environment. Routledge, 2011.
  • Curran, Mary Ann, ed. Life cycle assessment handbook: a guide for environmentally sustainable products. John Wiley & Sons, 2012.
  • Horne, Ralph, Tim Grant, and Karli Verghese. Life cycle assessment: principles, practice and prospects. Csiro Publishing, 2009. (3) Assessment title

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. appreciate the broader context of the construction industry in Australia
  • LO2. understand broadly the basic principles and current best-practice building technologies
  • LO3. identify technological components to produce analyses with sketches and diagrams
  • LO4. collect and analyse information in relation to building technologies with sustainable design and clearly communicate results and conclusions in report and infographic form
  • LO5. investigate case studies to independently develop your knowledge of building technologies and sustainable construction techniques
  • LO6. evaluate opinions, make decisions and reflect critically on technical decisions and their impact on the environment.
  • LO7. understand the key aspects of sustainable construction and basic principles of life cycle assessments
  • LO8. use efficiently a life-cycle assessment software

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 lectures were redesigned according to the feed backs.


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