Use structural analysis in engineering


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to determine deflections of and stresses within structural members subject to design loads.

The unit of competency is applied by drafting personnel and technicians in a civil and structural engineering environment, operating as part of a design and/or construction team, to perform advanced analysis of structural integrity.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

  • DCSBSA619 Use basic structural analysis in engineering


Elements describe the essential outcomes.


Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1.    Apply the limit state approach to design of structural members.

1.1.      Determine applied loads in accordance with Australian standards.

1.2.      Combine loads to establish design loads.

1.3.      Analyse the structural system to determine design internal actions.

1.4.      Determine ultimate capacity of members working from material properties and strength models

1.5.      Apply capacity reduction factors to ultimate capacities to establish design capacities.

1.6.      Apply the design equation.

2.    Determine the ultimate flexural capacity of a member with a rectangular cross section.

2.1.      Construct a strain diagram

2.2.      Construct a member stress diagram for a given range of load intensities up to and including an ultimate load by using the material’s stress versus strain diagram.

2.3.      Utilise a stress diagram to apply equilibrium to establish ultimate flexural capacity.

3.    Use an integration method to determine the deflection of structural members.

3.1.      Model a structural element showing all loads and restraints.

3.2.      Determine support reactions.

3.3.      Determine bending force using a moment equation.

3.4.      Integrate a moment equation to produce a slope equation then a deflection equation.

3.5.      Identify and use boundary conditions to establish the constants of integration.

3.6.      Determine deflection at designated points along a structural member.

4.     Use the virtual work method to determine deflections at specific points on a structural member.

4.1.      Determine internal actions due to real and dummy loads.

4.2.      Determine desired deflections by applying the virtual work method at specified points

5.     Predict structural adequacy by calculating principal stresses at specific points in a structural member

5.1.      Determine internal actions of axial force, shear force and bending moment at a designated location in a structural member.

5.2.      Using the standard formulae for stresses determine the shear and normal stresses at a designated point.

5.3.      Using compound stress theory determine the principal stresses at a designated point.

5.4.      Apply a suitable strength theory that is relevant to a particular material to predict structural adequacy for the combination of principal stresses.

6.     Predict the behaviour of a compression member.

6.1.      Determine a Euler buckling load.

6.2.      Compare a Euler load to capacity determined from experimentation on real columns

6.3.      Establish the design capacity of the compression member with due regard for factors of safety.


Foundation skills essential to performance are explicit in the performance criteria of this unit of competency.


41963 Use structural analysis in engineering is equivalent.



Assessment requirements for DCSSAE626 Use structural analysis in engineering


To achieve competency in this unit a person must satisfy the requirements of the elements and performance criteria, foundation skills and range of conditions included in the unit.

The person must also:

  • assess design information for adequacy of information needed for structural analysis
  • interpret design drawings and sketches
  • assess structural integrity and predict material failure


To achieve competency in this unit, a person must demonstrate knowledge of:

  • Key concepts and principles of structural analysis, including:
  • concepts relating to a limit state approach to design.
  • the difference between the elastic capacity and the ultimate capacity of a flexural member.
  • load factors for combined load cases
  • the definition of principal stress
  • relationships between principal stresses that determine material failure.
  • the formula for the Euler critical load.
  • the relationship between the Euler load, the likely collapse load and the design load of a compression member.
  • determining principal stresses using a Mohr’s circle


Assessment conditions:

All assessment must be completed in accordance with work health and safety standards.

When assessments are conducted remotely, invigilation software must be used to ensure authenticity of work completed.

Model answers or marking guides must be provided for all assessments to ensure reliability of assessment judgements when marking is undertaken by different assessors.

The candidate must have access to all tools, equipment, materials and documentation required.

Assessor Requirements:

Assessors must satisfy the assessor requirements in the standards for registered training organisation (RTOs) current at the time of assessment.

Assessors must also hold a tertiary qualification in engineering or related field.

Assessors must have worked for at least 3 years in industry where they have applied the skills and knowledge covered in this unit of competency.

The RTO must also ensure that trainers and assessors keep their industry knowledge up to date through ongoing professional development.

The RTO must take appropriate steps, as an ongoing procedure, to verify information about trainer and assessor’s qualifications, vocational competencies and current industry skills


Software/Hardware Used


  • N/A


  •  N/A