Last Updated S012019


Unit Name Design of Steel Structures
Unit Code BCS301S
Unit Duration 1 Semester

Bachelor of Science (Engineering)

Duration 3 years    

Year Level Three
Unit Creator / Reviewer N/A
Pre/Co-requisites BCS204S
Credit Points


Total Course Credit Points 81 (27 x 3)

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload (Total student workload including “contact hours” = 10 hours per week; 5 hours per week for 24 week delivery)
Pre-recordings / Lecture – 1.5 hours
Tutorial – 1.5 hours
Guided labs / Group work / Assessments – 2 hours
Personal Study recommended – 5 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

The aim of this unit is to impart to students a detailed knowledge of designing steel structures, including various configurations of steel roofs and framings, and the limit state design methodologies of steel frameworks based on Australian Standards. Dead and live loads, wind loading, and design methodologies are also examined.

The subject matter covered in this unit includes: the development of Limit State Design (LSD); calculation and applications of applied structural loads based on the Australian loading codes; utilisation of the structural design standards and codes of practice; the behaviour of steel as a material with specific properties for design development; critical appraisal of theories behind the design methods and the design and analysis of steel elements in tension, compression, bending, and combined actions as based on AS4100 or equivalent (Design of Steel Structures).

At the conclusion of this unit, students will have been imparted with detailed knowledge of designing steel structures including the ability to factor in different types of loads and loading conditions.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Research and describe the chronological development of Limit State Design (LSD).
    Bloom’s Level 4
  2. Calculate and analyse loads applied on structures based on the Australian loading codes.
    Bloom’s Level 5
  3. Evaluate the specific properties of steel and apply design development specifications.
    Bloom’s Level 5
  4. Compare and contrast the reasons for the specific design procedures
    Bloom’s Level 4
  5. Design, analyse and critique steel elements in tension, compression, bending and combined actions based on AS4100 or equivalent.
    Bloom’s Level 6
  6. Design, analyse and critique bolted and welded connections based on AS4100 or equivalent.
    Bloom’s Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type When assessed Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation

Example Topic: Design Methods, Dead and Live Loads; Wind Loads.

Students may complete a quiz with MCQ type answers and solve some simple equations to demonstrate a good understanding of the fundamental concepts

Due after Topic 3 15% 1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation

Example Topic: Steel Properties and Design of Steel Members in Tension & Compression.

Students may provide solutions to simple problems on the listed topics

Due after Topic 6 20% 3, 4, 5

Assessment 3

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation / Project / Report

Example Topic:
• Plastic bending of portal frames;
• Frame deflections and reaction tests; and,
• Steel beam bending tests.
• Structural analysis using techniques such as computer analysis software.

Students may complete a quiz with MCQ type answers or solve some simple problems or using software to complete a practical.

Due after Topic 9 20% 3, 4, 5, 6

Assessment 4

Type: Examination

Example Topic: All topics

An examination with a mix of detailed report type questions and/or simple numerical problems to be completed in 3 hours

Final Week 40% 1 to 6

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1 to 6

Prescribed and Recommended Readings

Required textbook(s)

  1. Kirke, B. and Al-Jamel, H. I. (2004). Steel Structures Design Manual to AS4100, 1st Edition

Reference Materials

  1. Trahair, N. S. and Bradford, M.A. (1998). The Behaviour and Design of Steel Structures to AS4100, 3rd Edition, Taylor & Francis
  2. OneSteel (BHP) Hot Rolled & Structural Steel Products Brochure, download relevant parts through
  3. Australian Standard (1998), AS4100, Steel Structures
  4. Australian Standard (2002), AS1170.1, Structural Design Actions – Permanent, Imposed and Other Actions;
  5. Australian Standard (2011), AS1170.2, Structural Design Actions - Wind Actions

Unit Content

Topic 1

The Structural Design Process - An Introduction

• Introduction to Steel Structures
• Design
• Material Behaviour
• Members and Structure Behaviour
• Classification of Loads on Structures
• Analysis of Steel Structures
• Design of Steel Structures

Topic 2

Steel Structural Properties

• Introduction to Properties of Steel
• Strength, Stiffness and Density
• Yield Stress and Tensile strength used in Design
• Ductility, Stress Effects, Metallurgy and Temperature effects
• Consistency
• Corrosion
• Fatigue Strength
• Fire Resistance

Topic 3

General Design Requirements

• Loads and Other actions on Structures
• Limit State Design
• Strength and Stability Limit state
• Strength and Serviceability Limit State
• Estimating Dead Loads
• Estimating Live Loads
• Estimation of Wind Loads, Snow Loads and Earthquake Loads
• Dynamic Loads and Resonances
• Load Combinations
o Applications
o Strength Design Load Combinations
o Serviceability Design Load Combinations

Topic 4

Method of Structural Analysis

• Introduction to Structural Analysis
• Methods of Determining Action Effects
• Forms of Construction Assumed for Structural Analysis
• Assumption for Analysis
• Elastic Analysis
o Moment Amplification
o Moment Distribution
o Frame Analysis Software
o Finite Element Analysis
• Plastic Analysis
• Member Buckling Analysis
• Frame Buckling Analysis

Topic 5

Design of Structural Members in Tension

• Introduction to Tension members
• Behaviour of Tension Members
• Design of Tension members to AS 4100
• Concentrically loaded Tension members
• Eccentrically and locally connected members
• Bending of Tension Members
• Stress Concentrations
• Summary of Tension members
• Worked Examples
o Truss member in tension
o Compound tension member with staggered holes
o Designing a Single Acting Bracing
o Designing Steel Wire Rope Tie

Topic 6

Design of Steel Members in Compression

• Design of Compression Members to AS 4100
• Effective Lengths of Compression Members
• Elastic Compression Members
• Inelastic Compression Members
• Design of Compression Members
• Strength of Compressions members
• Strength Curves
• Restrained Compression Members
• Compression Members Back to Back
• Torsional and Torsional-Flexure buckling
• Design Strength of Column-Section capacity and Member Capacity

Topic 7

Design of Structural Members in Bending (Flexural Members)

• Beam Terminology
• Compact, Non-compact and Slender-element sections
• Lateral Torsional Buckling
• Lateral Torsional buckling Design Methodology
• Section Classification
• Section Capacity
• Design of Flexural members to AS 4100
• Lateral buckling behaviour of unbraced beams, Critical flange
• Fully, Partially and Laterally Restrained Cross-section
• Segments, sub-segments and Effective Length
• Member Moment Capacity of a Segment
• Design for Shear Force and Bending

Topic 8

Design of Steel Members for Combined Actions

• Introduction
• Plastic Analysis and Plastic Design
• Design of Combined bending and Axial Compression
• Design of Combined bending and Axial Tension
• Design for biaxial bending capacity
• Design of biaxial bending member capacity
• Checking the In-plane Member capacity of a beam column
• Checking of Out of Plane member capacity of a beam column
• Checking of Web-tapered Beam-Column
• Eccentrically loaded Single Angle in a Truss

Topic 9

Design for Buckling of Thin-plate Elements

• Introduction
• Plate Elements in Compression
• Plate Elements in Shear
• Plate elements in Bending
• Plate Elements in Bending and Shear
• Plate Elements in Bearings
• Design against Local Buckling
• Elastic Buckling of Plate Elements in Compression

Topic 10

Connection (Joints) Design

• Introduction to Joint Components
• Arrangement of Joints
• Behaviour of Joints
• Common Joints
• Design of Bolts
• Design of Bolted Plates
• Design of Welds and Welded Joints
• Beam and Column Splices
• Elastic Analysis of Joints

Topic 11

Beam-Columns and Frames

• In-plane behaviour of isolated beam-columns
• Flexural-Torsional buckling of Isolated beam-columns
• Bi-axial bending of Isolated beam-columns
• Triangulated Frames
• Two-Dimensional Flexural Frames
• Three-Dimensional Flexural Frames

Topic 12

Unit Review

In the final week, students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of students’ work and to clarify any outstanding issues.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: N/A

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A