The University of Newcastle, Australia

Course handbook


This course develops the student's understanding of key concepts associated with the construction of domestic and other buildings, including essential performance criteria for a range of primary and secondary building elements. It similarly develops the student's understanding of structural concepts that dictate the eventual form of buildings and other engineered structures, combining elemental and structural understanding to develop the student's ability to design appropriate architectural/engineering details for a variety of structural and non structural situations. It introduces the student to the challenges posed by a range of site conditions, materials and other environmental factors, and explores their influence upon the selection of appropriate solutions.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2019


  • Semester 1 - 2019

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify the function of, and desirable performance attributes required for, primary structural building elements

2. Identify the function of, and desirable performance attributes required for, secondary structural building elements

3. Qualitatively describe the forces and environmental agents incumbent upon building structures

4. Qualitatively describe the link between structure and form

5. Identify/Describe a range of design details.

6. Assess and identify relevant clauses and Australian Standards (AS) within Vol.2 of the Building Code of Australia (BCA)


Primary elements:

  • Selection of foundations and footings in response to ground conditions
  • Wall structure
  • Floor structure
  • Roof structure

Secondary elements:

  • SolumSub-floor barriers
  • Vertical rain screen
  • Floors
  • Roof covering
  • Internal partitions
  • Services

Forces and environmental agents:

  • Dead loads
  • Live loads
  • Dynamic loads
  • Wind and snow loads
  • Groundwater and moisture
  • Common soil types and their mechanics
  • Rain
  • Sunlight and
  • Heat flow/cold

Structure and form:

  • Stress and strain within a material
  • Stresses and strains upon a structure
  • The impact of ground conditions upon structure
  • Influence of material properties upon building forms

Construction design details:

  • Graphical and written descriptions
  • Fitness for purpose
  • Statutory compliance
  • OH&S

Assessment items

Quiz: Online Quizzes

Journal: Pictorial Learning Journal

Report: Technical Report

Contact hours

Callaghan and Online


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 13 Weeks

Distance learning students will receive equivalent instruction through online or other distance education strategies.


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks