Module code: ENGM265

Module Overview

Infrastructure systems play a crucial role towards sustainable development as they serve the needs of the society. An understanding of the three dimensions of sustainability, economic, environmental and social, is vital towards the planning, design and operation of sustainable infrastructure systems. This module explores economic, environmental and social evaluative frameworks to understand the balance between these three dimensions towards the development of sustainable infrastructure projects. Particular focus is given to life cycle and environmental impact assessment tools as the means for determining the environmental impact from infrastructure systems and the link between the latter and climate change is highlighted.

Module provider

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Module Leader

IMAM B Dr (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: K420

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Normal entry requirements for a degree course in Civil Engineering

Module content

Sustainable Development and Construction

Historical development of sustainability; Definitions, drivers for sustainable construction, principles of sustainable development; Economic, environmental, social dimensions of sustainability; Sustainability themes examples from various infrastructure organisations

Overview of Sustainability Tools

Life cycle costing; Life cycle assessment; Life cycle carbon; Eco-certification schemes; Multi-criteria analysis; Overview of other tools; advantages and disadvantages

Low Carbon Infrastructure

Drivers and challenges for low carbon infrastructure; Low carbon infrastructure route map; Infrastructure carbon review; Whole-life infrastructure carbon, examples from different sectors; Carbon management frameworks; PAS 2080

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Overview, definitions, life cycle stages; LCA framework; Goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, interpretation; Functional units, system boundaries; LCA tools, challenges; Infrastructure case studies

Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA)

MCDA methods; Steps in MCDA; Scoring and weighting criteria; Combination of scores and weights; Sensitivity analysis

Environmental Impact Assessement (EIA)

Legislation, purpose/aim of EIA; Environmental impacts; Screening, scoping; Environmental Statement; Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) vs EIA

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAM 75
Coursework COURSEWORK 25

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

Knowledge and understanding of the three dimensions of sustainability, i.e. economic, environmental and social, associated with infrastructure development and operation (LO’s 1, 2, 5) through a 2-hour unseen examination.
Ability to carry out a life cycle assessment through practical coursework and subsequent report writing (LO’s3, 4)

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Examination [Learning outcomes assessed 1, 2, 5] (2 hours) {75%}

·         Coursework on life cycle assessment [Learning outcomes assessed 3, 4,a, b, c, d, e, f] (25 hours) {25%}

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment will be through written feedback on the submitted coursework as well as verbal feedback during the life cycle assessment workshop. 

Module aims

  • equip students with the skills to incorporate the concepts of sustainable development in all stages of an infrastructure project's development
  • enable students to develop and assess, from a sustainability viewpoint, a series of options for infrastructural development
  • familiarise students with environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment of infrastructural policies, plans, programmes and projects
  • build an understanding of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, its benefits and challenges, and offer practical experience on carrying out a LCA
  • explore specific infrastructural sectors from an environmental viewpoint and through the use of case studies

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Discuss the wider impacts of infrastructure systems on sustainable economic, environmental and social dimensions and appreciate their interdisciplinary nature for their evaluation. K
002 Identify the variety of environmental impacts and review the methods used for their assessment, i.e. environmental impact assessment and life cycle assessment. KP
003 Carry out an environmental impact assessment and a LCA and identify the various stages of such assessments. KCPT
004 Review the LCA methodology and be aware of the resources required to carry out such an analysis in practice. KCPT
005 Recognise the effects of environmental impacts on affecting the climate and propose adaptation and mitigation measures. K
006 technical report writing T
007 Reviewing, assessing and critical thinking T
008 information retrieval skills T
009 time management T
010 Synthesis of data T
011 Use of IT and technical software T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 30

Independent Study Hours: 90

Lecture Hours: 30

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

This compulsory module provides the necessary background required for sustainable development of infrastructure projects.

The module is principally delivered by 3-hour lectures/seminars by academic staff as well as invited external expert speakers on the topic. It also includes a workshop with hand-on experience in carrying out a life cycle assessment.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures/Seminars (30 hours)
Workshop/tutorial on life cycle assessment (30 hours)
Independent learning(88 hours)


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Structural Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Bridge Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Infrastructure Engineering and Management MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MEng 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.