Module code: ENGM265

Module provider

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Module Leader

IMAM B Dr (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits


ECTS Credits



FHEQ Level 7

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 30

Independent Study Hours: 90

Lecture Hours: 30

Assessment pattern

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

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Normal entry requirements for a degree course in Civil Engineering

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 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

Module content

What ‘Sustainability’ is about

History of its development as a concept; Why it’s important in global and legacy terms, finite resources, carbon emissions; Economics vs. Society vs. Environment and other ways of describing.

Climate Change

History of the science;Mitigation; Adaptation; Legislation; Infrastructure context; Embedded carbon, sunk carbon; Mitigate or Adapt? Different strategies.

Social dimension of sustainability

What is ‘society’; How society is ‘governed’; What Engineering brings; Themes – i.e. social cohesion; Social impacts of policy and projects; Elements and stages of social impact assessments.

Environmental dimension of sustainability

Biodiversity and its importance; Local, national and international; Legislation; Assessment requirements, Local and national, Strategic environmental impact assessments; Assessment tools.

Economic dimension of sustainability

Investment and funding; Adding value; Limitations; HS2 Example.

Whole life value and life cycle concepts

Why these are helpful; ‘Capital’ & ‘Operational’ Carbon; Systems thinking and interdependencies; Frameworks and tools for life cycle assessment (LCA); Multi criteria analysis; Achieving sustainability at different project life cycle stages.

Sustainability assessment tools


Examples of good practice

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)


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. 

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Civil Engineering MEng 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
Bridge 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
Infrastructure Engineering and Management MSc 2 Compulsory 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

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 2017/8 academic year.