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 evaluative frameworks that can capture economic, environmental and social constraints to understand the balance between these three dimensions towards the development of sustainable infrastructure projects. Particular focus is given to whole-life carbon accounting and life cycle assessment for assessing the environmental impact of infrastructure systems and multi-criteria decision analysis and environmental/social impact assessments, capable of capturing the three pillars of sustainability for holistic decision-making within the context of infrastructure. 

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader

IMAM Boulent (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: 90

Seminar Hours: 12

Guided Learning: 15

Captured Content: 33

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module content includes the following topics:

  • Introduction to Sustainable Development and Construction

Introduction to sustainable development concepts, models and awareness; Introduction to UN Sustainable Development Goals and UK Environment Plan; Overview of construction's impact/ contribution to sustainability pressures; Key sustainability themes in the built environment. 

  • Delivering Sustainable Infrastructure

Process for delivering and managing innovation in sustainability; case study examples; Discussion of process stages; The importance of procurement in delivering sustainability; Brief overview of sustainability tools. 

  • 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; Detailed overview of key building materials and associated sustainability and carbon credentials/considerations.

  • 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


This module is within theme of Sustainability.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 30

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is centred on two units of assessment:

  1. The end-of-semester examination provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their capacity to incorporate the concepts of sustainable development across the entire life-cycle of infrastructure systems and their ability to make use of sustainability frameworks for decision-making in infrastructure, including whole-life carbon accounting, life cycle assessment (LCA), multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) or environmental impact assessment (EIA) (Learning outcomes 001, 002, 003 and 004).

  2. The coursework tests the knowledge and understanding of the students to critique the advantages and disadvantages of sustainability frameworks and map, using case studies of infrastructure projects, the entire life-cycle stage activities with respect to these frameworks (Learning outcomes 002, 004 and 005).


Where appropriate, feedback will be given during the discussions in lectures and online through SurreyLearn for the self-study questions that will be uploaded. Students will receive written feedback on the coursework report. 


Module aims

  • Equip students with the skills to incorporate the concepts of sustainable development in all life cycle stages of an infrastructure project.
  • Enable students to develop and assess, from a sustainability viewpoint, a series of options for infrastructure planning, development and operation. This includes the use of Whole-Life Carbon Accounting, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
  • Explore various infrastructure 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 SM6M, EA4, D2
002 Identify the range of environmental impacts across the whole-life of an infrastructure system and review the methods used for their assessment, including life cycle assessment, whole-life carbon accounting and environmental impact assessment. KC EA4, EL4, P6
003 Critique the drivers for sustainable development in infrastructure and understand the challenges associated with them. KCPT SM6M, D1, D2, P8
004 Propose a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) framework for infrastructure decision-making. KCPT EL4, D2, P6
005 Write reports that are well organised and effectively communicate all key information. T P4

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The module is delivered principally by lectures and discussion of case studies, and includes guest speakers from industry to showcase application of sustainable thinking in past and current infrastructure projects.


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: ENGM265

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Water and Environmental 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
Structural 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 MSc 2 Optional 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 2021/2 academic year.