DESST 1507 - Construction I

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

This course is an introduction to the construction and engineering principles of architecture, landscapes and urban environments. It will initiate the topics of: representation and documentation; history and theory; materials and detailing; construction and design; and engineering structure and fabric. The course aims to develop foundational knowledge, skills and understanding in the areas of: the relationship between construction, engineering and design; the representation of construction in a historical and theoretical context; construction materials, detailing and structures. AutoCAD will be introduced.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code DESST 1507
    Course Construction I
    Coordinating Unit School of Architecture and Built Environment
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Restrictions Available to B. ArchDes and B.E(Arch) students only
    Quota A quota will apply
    Course Description This course is an introduction to the construction and engineering principles of architecture, landscapes and urban environments. It will initiate the topics of: representation and documentation; history and theory; materials and detailing; construction and design; and engineering structure and fabric.

    The course aims to develop foundational knowledge, skills and understanding in the areas of: the relationship between construction, engineering and design; the representation of construction in a historical and theoretical context; construction materials, detailing and structures. AutoCAD will be introduced.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Amit Srivastava

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    As a Level I Core Course, Construction I is designed to foster knowledge, understanding and skills that will assist the student with both future courses as well as professional design practice. 

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. Identify and employ different types of structural systems used in domestic scale construction.
    2. Identify and employ different types of materials used in domestic scale construction.
    3. Employ digital tools like AutoCAD to develop construction documentation
    4. Employ professional standards for drawing communication in construction documentation
    5. Demonstrate research and critical thinking skills in determining solutions for construction
    6. Demonstrate theoretical and cultural considerations in development of construction solutions
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course Textbook:
    Barry's Introduction to Construction of Buildings (4th Edition)
    by Stephen Emmitt; Christopher A. Gorse // Publisher: Wiley, 2019 

    The book is available as an e-book from the following address:

    If you would prefer a print copy, please contact
    Co-op Books on campus

    Other Resources:
    Drawing tasks related to this course will require you to have access to drawing equipment and materials. You should have already obtained these for your Design Studio and Representation 1 courses, and can continue to use the same.
    Recommended Resources
    Please refer to MyUni for details of recommended readings and websites

    Speaker Series:
    The School has a fortnightly lecture series where respected practitioners and academics from the field deliver a public lecture on contemporary architectural practice. In order to expand your knowledge of contemporary directions in design it is recommended that you attend these sessions. The exact detail of dates and speakers is available from the School website and the Front Office.
    Online Learning
    University Email:
    The school uses the University email system to get in touch with the students. So it is imperative that you check your email regularly and keep up to date with any new announcements.

    MyUni is an essential online tool which will be used to communicate information regarding the course including details of assignments and interim grades. There are many other learning resources and assessment pieces that rely on the MyUni system for delivery. Therefore it is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the various functions of MyUni and employ it to its fullest extent.

    Discussion Board:
    The MyUni Discussion Board can be used to interact with other students and tutors and is an essential tool to discuss information and increase your understanding of issues.

    Lecture Recording:
    In certain cases the recording of the lectures is made available in electronic format for students to listen through on their own time and make notes, and is provided through the MyUni system. However, this service is only available for lectures with essential course content and may not include guest lectures. Furthermore, where the presentation content is subject to copyright or the guest speaker is uncomfortable with the recording of the content, the lecture recording will not be made available online. So students should not rely solely on this mode of learning and arrange to attend or get lecture content from peers.

    Noticeboard / Handbook:
    General information about the activities at the School is available online from the Student Noticeboard which can be accessed at current-student
    Students can also access a copy of the Student Handbook at the following link:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    As a core course in architectural construction, the teaching activities for this course revolve around closely interrelated lectures, tutorials and studio activity. While the lectures provide theoretical understanding of materials and processes as well as cultural developments, the tutorials/studio sessions focus on the application of these ideas within the local construction context and the related issues of architectural detailing. The tutorials also introduce students to the drawing practices and conventions for communication of ideas of architectural construction. These principles of drafting are further developed through a series of CAD workshops where students learn how to develop a construction documentation set within the CAD environment.

    Since the scope of learning activities is considerably large, each lecture/tutorial/workshop session will deal with a completely different set of issues, so the students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the related content before coming for the session, so as to extract the maximum benefit from their interaction with the tutors and their peers.

    In addition to these conventional modes of delivery, the course also uses innovative digital learning platforms based on the processes of gamification to engage student learning.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (ie. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote at least 48 hours per week to their studies. Accordingly, students undertaking this 3 unit course are expected to devote 12 hours per week to contact activities and self-guided studies.

    Based on this framework here are some figures that might assist workload management:

    Total workload hours: 12 Hrs per week x 13 weeks = 156 Hrs
    Total contact hours: 3 Hrs per week x 12 weeks = 36 Hrs
    Total self-guided study: 156 Hrs – 36 Hrs = 120 Hrs

    These 120 hours should be used towards preparation of weekly tasks and for completion of the various assignments associated with the course, including development of various skills required to complete the same. Please organise your time wisely.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Structures Lecture 01  Structures Tutorial 01
    Week 2 Structures Lecture 02 Structures Tutorial 02 
    Week 3 Elements / Roof / Assembly Drawing Standards - Plan / Section
    Week 4 Materials / Timber Drawing Standards - Section Details
    Week 5 Walls / Stone / Brick / Blockwork CAD Studio 01 - Virtual Space
    Week 6 Floors / Slabs / Chemistry CAD Studio 02 - Detailing in CAD
    Week 7 Concrete / Metal / Glass / Industry CAD Studio 03 - Annotate / Dimension
    Week 8 Systems and Documentation 01 Drawing Portfolio & CLASS TEST
    TEACHING BREAK (2 Weeks)
    Week 9 Systems and Documentation 02 Two Storey Timber Construction
    Week 10 Doors & Windows  Two Storey Brick & Concrete Assembly
    Week 11 Stairs & Ramps Stairs & Ramps : Design & Document
    Week 12 Finishes & Revision Glass & Steel / Surface Finishes
    Specific Course Requirements
    Please note that while all the students are invited to attend these sessions, the responsibility of running the session effectively resides with the speakers/tutors. Therefore, if the speakers/tutors feel uncomfortable with the behaviour of any student they may revoke the invitation and ask the student to leave the session.

    In addition to these contact sessions, students need to spend a considerable amount of time on Self-Guided Learning & Research.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
     Ongoing Tasks Formative


    25% 1,2,3,4
    FINAL CLASS TEST Summative Week 13 35% 1,2
    FINAL ASSIGNMENT Summative Week 14 40% 3,4,5,6
    Assessment Detail
    Marking & Feedback (General) 
    • Final results for the course will only be available through Access Adelaide and students SHOULD NOT contact the course coordinator or the tutors for the same. 
    • Most assignments will be marked within 3 weeks of the submission and the interim grades will be made available through the My Grades system. Students are expected to inform the Course Coordinator if there are any errors with the marks entered on the system. 
    • The best examples of students’ work will be included in the All-In Exhibition to be held at the end of term alongside the best works from other courses and year levels. 
    • Feedback for in-class submissions will only be available during the tutorial as oral critique in the style of studio wall-crits. Students should arrange with peers to make notes for reference.
    Assessment Task Due Weighting Submission Method
    Ongoing Tasks


    25% In Tutorial/Online
    FINAL CLASS TEST Week 13 35% In Class
    FINAL ASSIGNMENT Week 14 40% At Front Office
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.