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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Civil, Chemical & Enviromental Eng Short Name: SE1M92
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: CHRYSSANTHOPOULOS M Prof (C, C & E Eng)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability

Semester 2

Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment






Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)






2 hour examination












Coursework – Two assignments












Qualifying Condition(s) 






An overall mark of 50% is required to pass the module.






Module Overview
Risk-based decision making is increasingly being pursued in a wide range of civil engineering projects, whether it concerns the safety level associated with a new high-rise building or the residual safety in an existing bridge. The module aims to provide grounding in the development, application and use of risk-based methods in civil engineering, particularly in problems related to structural engineering. Basic probability and statistics tools are first reviewed, and then applied to reliability problems related to structural response of simple systems. The formulation and use of such quantitative methods in more complex and realistic situations is presented, drawing from a wide range of both practical and research problems.

An understanding of structural response of new and ageing structures and the factors affecting their response; a basic understanding of relevant mathematical and statistical concepts.

Module Aims

To promote an appreciation of the various uncertainties associated with all aspects of civil engineering work and the use of risk and reliability theory to assess and manage risk in structures. To gain an appreciation of the wide spectrum of applications in this area and potential benefits from the use of these techniques in major structures.

Learning Outcomes

 Upon successful completion of the module, students should be:


  • able to understand risk and reliability theory and its applications


  • able to recognise the potential spectrum of application of these techniques and the benefits to be derived from their use
  • be aware of current developments and future directions in this area of work.





Module Content
  • Risk and reliability theory


  • Component and system reliability


  • Areas of applications in design optimisation, code calibration, re-assessment, inspection and maintenance optimisation, and whole life planning for individual or large population of structures


  • Combined use of reliability and advanced analysis methods


  • Potential benefits from the application of these techniques


  • Different perspectives of organisations involved in this area of work (e.g. structure owners, managing agent, certification authority, regulatory bodies, etc)


  • Examples of applications on different types of structures such as offshore structures and bridges


  • Current research activities
  • Future direction and further research and developments required
Methods of Teaching/Learning

20 hrs lectures/independent study, 10 hrs tutorial/question classes/self assessment questions, 48 hrs assignment work, 2 hrs examination and 73 hrs independent learning.






Total student learning time 150 hours.

Selected Texts/Journals

Recommended background reading

Ang AHS and Tang WH Probability Concepts in Engineering Planning Design.  Vol. I&II, John Wiley, 1975 &1984






Augusti G, Baratta A and Casciati F   Probabilistic Methods in Structural Engineering, Chapman and Hall, 1984






Benjamin JR and Cornell CA Reliability, Statistics and Decision for Civil Engineering, Chapman and Hall, 1984






Borges JF and Castanheta M Structural Safety, Laboratoria Nacional de Engenharia Civil, 3rd Edition, Lisbon , 1983






Ditlevsen O Uncertainty Modelling with Applications to Multidimensional Civil Engineering Systems, MacGraw Hill, 1981






Ditlevsen O and Madsen HO, Structural Reliability Methods, John Wiley and Sons, 1996






Madsen HO, Krenk S and Lind NC Methods of Structural Safety, Prentice-Hall, 1986






Melchers RE Structural Reliability: analysis and prediction, 2nd Edition, John Wiley, 1999






Schneider J Introduction to Safety and Reliability of Structures, Structural Engineering Documents 5, Int Assoc for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE), Zurich , revised edition, 2006






Sundararajan C Probabilistic Structural Mechanics Handbook, Chapman and Hall 1995






Thoft-Christensen P and Baker MJ Structural Reliability Theory and its Applications, Springer Verlag, 1982






Thoft-Christensen P and Baker MJ Application of Structural Systems Reliability Theory, Springer Verlag, 1982
Last Updated

6 August 2010