Module code: ENGM043

Module Overview

This module is concerned with the analysis and design of three dimensional structures.  These structures are usually single or multi-layer skeletal grid structures fabricated in steel. The module also considers single and doubly curved structures as well as free-form spatial structures.  A section of the module is also devoted to the non-linear analysis and design of tensile membrane structures including air supported membrane structures.  Formex configuration processing is also studied to simplify the data generation for the analysis of complex free-form spatial structures.

Module provider

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Module Leader

BEHNEJAD Alireza (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 99

Lecture Hours: 30

Tutorial Hours: 21

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

 A knowledge of structural analysis and design to FHEQ Level 6

Module content

  • Description of the main types of spatial structures including grids, domes, towers, radar dishes, membrane structures and tendon-strut systems; prefabricated lattice structural systems; notable spatial structures.

  • Description of the different methods of analysis applicable to spatial structures.

  • Computer aided design of spatial structures; techniques for efficient generation of data; graphical presentation of analytical results; formex configuration processing.

  • Polyhedra and geodesic forms; tensegrity systems; membrane structures.

  • Special considerations including use of materials, loading, safety and cladding.

Assessment pattern

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

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the analysis and design of different forms of spatial structure (LO’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7) through a two hour unseen examination. Learning outcomes 1, 2, 5, 6, 7are also assessed in the coursework.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Unseen written examination (2 hours, 75%).

  • Coursework on the design and construction of steel structures (38 hours, 25%).

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment will be through a range of self-assessment exercises provided in class and through SurreyLearn.  Feedback will be given in tutorial sessions.


Module aims

  • A comprehensive understanding of the basic ideas associated with the analysis, design and construction of space structures with the emphasis being placed on the practical aspects rather than the theoretical details.
  • A sound understanding of the importance of buckling both linear and non-linear and the overall stability requirements for the successful design of these interesting structural forms.
  • Skills in both the linear and non-linear analysis of steel lattice structures.
  • Skill in form finding and also the non-linear analysis of membrane structures.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the behaviour and the methods of analysis of double-layer grids, barrel vaults, and domes KCPT
002 Generate data for spatial structure configurations including free-form structures using the Formian program KCPT
003 Appraise the different modes of failures of typical lattice structures KPT
004 Compare the behaviour of lattice domes, cable domes and suspend-domes KPT
005 Appraise various jointing systems and methods of construction of 3D lattice structures KCPT
006 Design a steel lattice structure KCPT
007 Incorporate health and safety legislation in the design and construction of spatial structures KCT
008 Technical report writing T
009 Oral & written communication T
010 Graphical presentation of data T
011 Sketching T
012 3D spatial awareness T
013 Critical thinking T
014 Observation T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

30 hours of lecture/introductory video, 21 hours of tutorial/group meeting/workshop/self-assessment question, 37 hours of assignment work, 2 hours of examination and 60 hours of independent learning.

Total student learning time 150 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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM043

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Civil Engineering MEng 1 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 2020/1 academic year.