Module code: ENGM272

Module provider

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Module Leader

BHATTACHARYA S Prof (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 7

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 120

Lecture Hours: 33

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 25
Examination EXAMINATION 75

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites

A knowledge of basic soil mechanics and structural mechanics to FHEQ Level 6.

Module overview

Civil engineers are often called on to design systems that will support large structures at depth or steep / vertical faces in soil. The former case will normally require large foundations, sometimes at depth whereas the latter may require an earth-retaining structure of some kind. Ground modifications techniques are often employed to improve the physical properties of ground before construction begins.  This module applies the basic principles of soil mechanics to the safe and sustainable design of large foundations and earth-retaining structures.

Module aims

understanding the overview of foundation design through the use of generic flowchart and the required basic ingredients

understanding of the failure mechanisms for foundations and earth-retaining structures through Limit States

ability to carry out analysis and design of foundations (deep foundations for complex applications, shallow foundations with large moments) using different codes of practices.

understanding of some fundamental design issues through case studies and assignment work

understanding of some design and analysis issues for foundations (to provide an appreciation of the issues related to foundation construction)

knowledge and understanding of design and the need for site investigation 

an overview and broader understanding of ground improvement techniques including design methodologies  

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Carry out design of deep foundations for major bridges, oil platforms, wind turbines K
Identify relevant limit states for foundation design K
Carry out earth pressure calculations for earth retaining structures KCT
Forensic studies of foundation failures under different conditions KCPT
Prepare a design basis document for complex foundation design KCPT
Carry out design of shallow foundation with large overturning moment KCPT
Select foundation options for a specfic project and compare the advantages and limitations of different types of foundations KCPT
Select appropriate analysis methods to be used for foundation design KCPT
Identify appropriate soil testing, and interprete soil testing data to obtain the design parameters. KCPT
Identify preliminary design requirements for ground improvement methods. T
Appreciate that changes to a retaining wall or foundation design require a reassessment of risks
Independent learning skills T
Oral & written communication T
Graphical presentation of data T
Synthesis of data T
3D spatial awareness T
Use of word processor, spreadsheet, drawings T
Critical thinking

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Overview of foundation design

Flow chart and basic ingredients for foundation design, summary of soil parameters and soil testing required, engineering correlations for obtaining soil parameters

Design of shallow foundations (carrying moments) and deep foundations

Bearing capacity for shallow foundations with large moments, types of pile foundations and the method of construction, Bridge foundations and design considerations under special conditions (seismic areas), geotechnical bearing capacity of piles (shaft resistance and end bearing using API Code), Structural capacity of piles, Eurocode provisions, settlement calculations, analysis of laterally loaded piles (p-y, t-z, q-z), Stiffness of piles and caissons, Analysis of caissons supporting bridges

Earth-Retaining Structures

Limit states for design, General Wall selection (sheet pile, secant piles, contiguous piles, diaphragm wall), Practical design issues, Case histories

Ground Improvement:

Requirements for ground improvement, ground improvement techniques widely used in practice: principles on each type of ground improvement methods and their suitability, case studies on ground improvement methods.

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Build on students’ knowledge of geotechnical engineering and help them to apply it to the design and analysis of deep foundations and earth-retaining structures.  

The learning and teaching methods include:

combined lectures/problem-solving/software demonstration classes (3hrs per week for 11 weeks = 33hrs)
independent learning (reading, tutorials, using software, coursework assignments, and revision) (115hrs)
unseen written examination (closed book) (2hrs)


Assessment Strategy

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

·         Knowledge and understanding of the principles of deep foundation and earth-retaining structure design (LOs 1-5) – assessed through a 2-hour unseen examination.

·         The ability to solve open-ended design problems using real data (LOs 3, 5)  - assessed through coursework assignments.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Foundation design coursework due Week 8 of Semester 2

·         Examination (2 hours, closed book)

Formative assessment and feedback

Feedback will be given on both coursework assignments, in the form of generic comments through SurreyLearn and more detailed and individualised feedback given on the marked assignments within the time allowed for marking coursework. Formative assessment will be through solving problems in class (and getting feedback on the correct solution there and then) and also through tackling tutorial sheets – for which feedback takes the form of full worked solutions posted on SurreyLearn after the student has had an opportunity to try the problems for him/herself.

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 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc 2 Compulsory 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.