MEng Civil Engineering with Industrial Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Tools for Civil Engineers

Course unit fact file
Unit code CIVL12201
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Today, nearly all civil engineering structures require drawings or “Blueprints” to specify their detailed design.  They can be generated either by hand in pencil or on computer with colourful printout. The purpose, however, is the same: to provide a visual and geometrically accurate description of the intended design structure and to guide its construction. Showing and presenting these engineering design, calculation and result to professional and non-professional audiences effectively is a fundamental skill and requirement for a civil engineering graduate.  As a first step, the unit is to teach students how to use drawing, modelling, calculation and organisational tools (by use of software) to format it prior to presentation. The module consists of three parts as shown in the syllabus.


This course is designed to develop an understanding and practical skill of engineering sketching, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) and design calculation in the field of civil engineering. The aims  are

  • To enable students to develop an architectural and structural model and to provide them with an opportunity to learn about design sketching by hand;
  • To develop students’ ability to produce BIM and dimensioned CAD in 2D and 3D using Autodesk Revit;
  • To help students to learn an engineering editable programming such as Matlab, with emphasis on an ability to solve practical mathematics-related engineering problems using the commercial software.

To stimulate students’ interest and desire of the need for continuing professional development.


 Part 1  Sketching - Dr M Simmons (2 weeks, 2 lecture hrs +2 hrs workshop )

  • Site note taking and freehand sketching (structural connection details)
  • Construction of freehand isometric views
  • Sketch and drawing presentation, layout, text, dimensions, notes and labels 

Students will develop their hand sketching skill by undertaking 2 tutorials and 1 exercise.

Part 2  BIM and CAD – Dr Mojgan Hadi Mosleh (5 weeks, 5 lecture hrs +7.5 hrs tutorial)

This part will be delivered by 5 - one-hour lecture sessions following by at least one and a half hours tutorial and demonstration each in computer cluster, including

  • Setting up a modelling and drawing project
  • Placing structural elements
  • Creating plans, sections (2D) and 3D views
  • Inserting dimensions and annotations

Students should be able to use Revit to create 3D views and sheets by doing two pieces of coursework: ‘Design of steel frame structures’ and ‘Personalized House’.

Part 3 Matlab—Dr Jack Wu (5 weeks, 5 lecture hrs +7.5 hrs tutorial)

Similar to the delivery of BIM and CAD, 5 – one-hour lecture sessions following by one to one and a half hours tutorial and demonstration each in computer cluster are planned. The main contents are

  • Matlab Basic
  • Variable and Array (Vector and Matrix) operation
  • Plotting and Polynomials
  • Loops and conditional structures
  • Function and Programming

The students should have acquired fundamental skill to run the software Matlab primarily and be able to program /edit /solve simple numerical calculation problems in civil engineering after the completion of a number of exercises, coursework and tutorials.

Assessment methods

Sketching - 20%

BIM and CAD - 40%

Computation and VBA - 40%

Feedback methods

Computation - Feedback is within two weeks or earlier

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 5
Lectures 12
Practical classes & workshops 3
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Zhang-Jian Wu Unit coordinator

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