ENGE411-23X (C) General non-calendar-based 2023

Engineering Construction Practice

This occurrence is not offered in 2023

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 10 September 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 27 August 2023


This course is concerned with the nature and properties of construction materials for civil projects, general design principles and construction practices in rock and soil, and selected case studies (both historical and current). It also considers appropriate engineering geology practice for various surface and subsurface projects, with emphasis on project failures and the implications for sound geotechnical practice. Knowledge of precedent is fundamental to engineering design and construction, and the course content is inherently practical rather than theoretical.

Engineering geology practice requires sound knowledge of civil, mining and environmental disciplines, with particular emphasis on design and construction needs of the engineering professions. The primary role of the engineering geologist is to provide an understanding of site-specific surface and subsurface geology such that rational design is developed from the investigation outputs. This requires a sound knowledge of geotechnical precedent, which derives from a wide-ranging review of construction case studies including those where overt failure of the structure has occurred. The principal aim of the ENGE411 course is to ensure that all students are familiar with construction principles and techniques, and with the role of geotechnical precedent in design and construction practice. Students are expected to have read widely on the subject; to be familiar with a range of surface and subsurface construction methods; and to demonstrate an ability to prepare in-depth and summary reports on a variety of topics.

Learning Outcomes

  • Be able to record field observations faithfully and clearly, and to relate those observations through presentation to an audience
  • Understand and apply engineering geology philosophy and methodology in the design, construction and maintenance of surface and underground civil and mining structures.
  • Be familiar with design and construction requirements for principal types of engineering works, including dams, canals, tunnels, bridges, slopes and river/coastal protection.
  • Assess material and design requirements for roading, concrete, ballast, armourstone and stabilised soils.
  • Understand groundwater management on construction sites, including dewatering and related ground improvement techniques.
  • Be able to conduct a literature review using international, peer-reviewed journal sources
  • Use case studies of past engineering projects as geological precedent for future site investigation and geotechnical construction practice.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


(1) ENGE 410 and (2) approval from the Head of Department of Geological Sciences


ENGE 472

Timetable Note

The ENGE411 course comprises review of a range of construction techniques and case studies over a six-week period (Term 3), followed by field trips in the mid-semester break. The key field trip involves four days in Central Otago, with a visit to the Clyde Power Project as the main objective: a series of local (Christchurch and immediate surroundings) site visits follow the Otago field trip.

Block #  -  Dates  -  Lectures (Topics)  -  Lecturers
1  -  16 Jul – 24 Aug  -  Guided learning, review of various construction methods, and literature review  -  DHB/CHF
2  -  26-29 Aug  -  Central Otago field trip (Clyde Power Project)  -  DHB/CHF
3  -  31 Aug - 7 Sept  -  Local field trips in and around Christchurch  -  CHF/DHB

Course Coordinator

David Bell


Clark Fenton


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Literature Review 40% Literature review of international engineering geology project(s)
Field notebooks and colloquia 60% Field notebooks and colloquia, site specific exercises

ENGE 410

Literature review of international engineering geology project(s)  -  40% (due 26 Aug 9 am)
Field notebooks and colloquia; site-specific exercises  -  60% (due during and after fieldtrips)

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Delatte, Norbert J; Beyond failure : forensic case studies for civil engineers ; ASCE Press, 2009.

Dunnicliff, John. , Green, Gordon E; Geotechnical instrumentation for monitoring field performance ; Wiley, 1988.

Eddleston, M. , Geological Society of London.University of Manchester); Engineering geology of construction ; Geological Society, 1995.

Fell, Robin; Geotechnical engineering of dams ; 2nd edition; CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2015.

Jackson, Neil. , Dhir, Ravindra K; Civil engineering materials ; 5th ed; Macmillan, 1996.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,151.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All ENGE411 Occurrences

  • ENGE411-23X (C) General non-calendar-based 2023 - Not Offered