Engineering Site Characterisation

Subject CVEN90044 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24hours of lectures, 16hours workshop/tutorial/computer lab, 9hours field practicals per semester. Total 48 hours
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours for the semester
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: The following subject is recommended
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit



Dr Guillermo Narsilio


Melbourne School of Engineering
Ground Floor
Old Engineering Building #173
The University of Melbourne VIC 3010 AUSTRALIA

General telephone enquiries
+ 61 3 8344 6703
+ 61 3 8344 6507

+ 61 3 9349 2182
+ 61 3 8344 7707

Subject Overview: Characterisation of sites is an important step in any engineering study or design. Important aspects include topography; industrial history; soil stratigraphy for soil strength and other geotechnical parameters; hydrogeology and chemistry assessment; risk of catastrophic events such as flood, fire, seismic events; aesthetic outlook and in-look; proximity and sensitivity of neighbours to cross boundary effects of engineering activity.
This subject will examine typical technical tools for characterising a site for infrastructure development, covering a range of the above aspects that are relevant to the site and development. In doing so students will learn the skills and an approach to conduct site assessments, including the ability to select the appropriate geo-environmental tools for site investigations.
Objectives: At the conclusion of this subject students should be able to:
  • Conduct a topographic survey of a site
  • Evaluate the soil and geology of the site as it impacts the intended development
  • Evaluate the relationships of a site and its intended changes with its neighbours
  • Select the appropriate geo-environmental technical tools for site investigations
  • Estimate critical design parameters
  • Identify, assess and document the risk arising from natural disasters
  • Examine planning requirements
  • Write a report to communicate key aspects of the character of a site as it affects the design of changes to the site
  • 8 on-line assignments due throughout the semester (20%)
  • 1 x ~500 word individual report due in week 3 (5%)
  • 3 x ~1000 word group reports due throughout the semester (25%)
  • 2 hour end of semester examination (50%)
  • Attendance at 3 field activities
Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:
  • Manual on Subsurface Investigations (Mayne, P.W., Christopher, B.R., and DeJong, J.T.) FHWA Publication No. FHWA NHI-01-031, 2002, 294 pp. (will be placed in LMS)
  • Site investigation (Clayton, C.R.I., Matthews, M.C., and Simons, N.E.) Oxford [England] ; Cambridge, Mass., USA : Blackwell Science, 1995. vii, 584 p. (will be placed in LMS)
  • Guide to the investigation and sampling of sites with potentially contaminated soil Australian Standard AS 4482.1 – 2005 (available from UoM library)
  • Geotechnical site investigations Australian Standard AS 1726 – 1993 (available from UoM library)
  • Methods of testing soils for engineering purposes; Method 6.3.2: Soil strength and consolidation tests—Determination of the penetration resistance of a soil—9 kg dynamic cone penetrometer test Australian Standard AS 1289.6.3.2 – 1997 (available from UoM library)
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Ability to apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals
  • Understanding of social, cultural, global, and environmental responsibilities and the need to employ principles of sustainable development
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large
  • Ability to manage information and documentation
  • Ability to function effectively as an individual and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams, as a team leader or manager as well as an effective team member
  • Capacity for lifelong learning and professional development
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Engineering
Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) and Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) and Bachelor of Commerce
Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) and Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) and Bachelor of Science

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