Project work

Year three

Year 3 civil project

In your third year, you’ll be given a real-life engineering problem and will be tasked with providing a recommended solution to it, usually a road or rail route containing a structure such as a bridge. You’ll produce an individual feasibility study to consider the broad aspects of the problem including environmental, technical and financial issues, and present a well-argued case for your chosen solution. In the second part of the project you’ll work in a group to produce a design report for the chosen solution.

In the final stage you’ll use computer aided design to create a virtual 3D model of the building using Building Information Modelling (BIM) software such as Revit. You’ll then export this model into a structural analysis and design software package (Robot) to perform a full structural analysis. Carrying out this exercise will give you a taste of ‘true BIM’, i.e. using more than one software interface to contribute to a BIM model.

This project will help you to develop your problem-solving and decision-making skills and enable you to hone your written, mathematical and verbal communication skills. You’ll also gain experience in carrying out your own individual research on various aspects of the project as not all of the content is taught in your lectures.

Recent real-life projects that our students have been presented with include:

  • HS2
  • Leeds Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System
  • Leeds-Bradford Cycle Super-highway
  • Horsforth to Leeds/Bradford Airport light rail link.

Design or investigative project

You’ll also carry out an individual research project supervised by School staff who are experts in their respective fields. The individual tuition guiding you through your independent study will help you to develop important analytical skills held in high demand by employers.

This project is heavily focused in the second semester but with projects allocated during your first semester so that you can immerse yourself in your topic and draw links from taught modules to your individual project.

Following initial lectures on developing the necessary study skills, you’ll be guided by regular meetings with your project supervisors before submitting your aims and objectives, with the feedback received from this submission guiding your future study. Your dissertation is then submitted in May.

Example projects include:

  • a risk management strategy for the decommissioning project in Sellafield
  • analysis of water distribution systems
  • cable vibrations in cable stayed bridges
  • control of microorganisms in the indoor environment
  • resource recovery from waste
  • strengthening, repair and rehabilitation of (historic) structures
  • modelling transport mode/route choice
  • lifecycle costing of sanitation options for urban Africa and Asia
  • finite element modelling of masonry bridges with reinforcements
  • earthquake mitigation and prognosis.


You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in our optional Construction Site Field Course module, which is an exciting hands-on construction experience contributing towards your third year. The course will challenge you to use your theoretical knowledge and practical skills on a reduced scale construction project, as well as providing you with an understanding of a wide variety of design- and construction-related issues.

You’ll work in teams to construct scaled-down versions of bridges, buildings and other civil engineering projects over a five-day period. Recent examples include The Gherkin, Ravenspurn Oil Rig and Brewery Wharf Footbridge. On the final day you’ll be assessed in terms of budgetary control, methodology and timely completion.

You must apply to take the module early in your second year and you’ll be selected for participation on the basis of your academic and industrial/practical profile.

construction site field course civil

construction site field course