Engineering Site Characterisation

Subject CVEN90044 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

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: 48 hours (Lectures: 24 hours, Tutorials/Worshops/Computer Labs: 15 hours, Field Practicals: 9 hours) per semester
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Learning will be assisted by knowledge gained in the following subject:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:


Dr Guillermo Narsilio


Dr Guillermo A. Narsilio
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: On completion of this subject students should be able to:
  • Conduct a simple 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
  • One 2 hour examination, end of semester (50%)
  • Three group reports (approx 1000 words), due throughout the semester (25%)
  • Six on-line assignments, due throughout the semester (20%)
  • One individual report (approx 500 words), due Week 3 (5%)

Hurdle requirements:

  • Attendance at 3 field activities
  • Students must pass BOTH assignment and examination components to pass the subject as a whole
Prescribed 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. (availalble on LMS)
Recommended Texts:
  • Site investigation (Clayton, C.R.I., Matthews, M.C., and Simons, N.E.) Oxford [England] ; Cambridge, Mass., USA : Blackwell Science, 1995. vii, 584 p. (available on 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
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: B-ENG Civil Engineering stream
Master of Engineering (Civil)
Master of Engineering (Environmental)
Master of Engineering (Structural)

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