CIVL4815: Project Formulation (2015 - Semester 1)

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Unit: CIVL4815: Project Formulation (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Senior Advanced
Faculty/School: Civil Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Liu, Li
Session options: Semester 1
Versions for this Unit:
Site(s) for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: CIVL3805 AND CIVL3812.
Brief Handbook Description: This unit of study is a fourth-year core unit for PEM students and an elective for all other branches of engineering and other faculties. The assumed knowledge for this Unit includes Project Appraisal (CIVL3812) and Project Scope, Time and Cost Management (CIVL3805). The objective of this unit is, through the integration of areas of project management knowledge learned in various PEM subjects, to develop students' ability to develop project proposals through carrying out a feasibility study and developing a project definition plan for a real-life engineering project. This unit is relevant for students who intend to pursue a career related to project management. At the end of this unit, students should have developed understanding of the fundamentals of project conceptualisation, appraisal and planning plus the abilities to: model and analyse basic financing and cash flow requirements; develop risk management plan, marketing and sales plan, stakeholder management and communication plan, operations plan; and design professional documentation and presentation to a board of review. In addition, this unit also develops students' abilities in problem solving, working with other students, conducting independent research, communication in team environment, information need identification and collection, and understanding social and environmental issues. The syllabus comprises feasibility study, project appraisal, risk assessment and management, sensitivity analysis, project planning, project integration management, carbon-trading scheme, global warming, environmental impact assessment, investment capital, venture capital, due diligence, project planning, operational planning, revenue projection, community consultation, communication management, stakeholder management, political environment.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Lecturer/s: Dr Liu, Li
Tutor/s: Mr. Seyed Bani Hashemi Chaharom.
Timetable: CIVL4815 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 4.00 2 13
2 Independent Study 6.00 13
T&L Activities: There will be two lecture/tutorial sessions each week on Thursdays and Fridays, respectively. This course is designed primarily as project-based learning through conducting independent, team-based research and the application of knowledge to a real-life project. As in the real-world, students work in teams to work on the project. Lecture is kept to a minimum. Industry experts will be invited to give guest lectures. I strongly encourage students to explore and use sophisticated and more advanced techniques. For example, in evaluating a project, real option method and/or Monte-Carlo simulation techniques could be employed to complement the conventional evaluation techniques. I will provide reading materials, short lectures and individual consultation on these advanced techniques.

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
Students will practise developing project proposals for large civil projects. Design (Level 3)
Conducting in-depth analysis of project feasibility in team assignments. Maths/Science Methods and Tools (Level 2)
Gather, manage, integrate and critique information attained from various sources in order ascertain the relevant information required for the identification, formulation and solution of a problem within the engineering context. Using information resources including technical books and reports, research articles, company standards, professional literature, electronic media and through personal interactions. Information Seeking (Level 3)
Two major reports and one presentation to a panel of experts. Communication (Level 3)
Practice in making high level strategic decisions in formulating project plans. Professional Conduct (Level 3)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Project and Team Skills (Level 3)
1. Comprehend and relate to real-life examples the fundamental concepts in project formulation.
2. Understand various cost/revenue estimating techniques and apply to the project
3. Carry out basic analysis in financing and cash flow and develop project budget
4. Formulate project feasibility report based on valid analysis
5. Identify objectives, tasks, data collection needs, constraints for a project and formulate a project definition plan for the definition, procurement and delivery of the project, and transition to operation
6. Identify major project risks, evaluate their impacts on project outcomes, and devise plans for the effective prevention/mitigation of the risks
Maths/Science Methods and Tools (Level 2)
7. Apply techniques and group decision-making tools to carry out basic project conceptualisation and appraisal tasks.
Professional Conduct (Level 3)
8. Identify objectives, tasks, data collection needs and issues (e.g. social, political, organisational, financial, etc.) for assessing the feasibility of a case project and explain how they influence assessment outcomes.
9. Identify and evaluate the effects of non-financial factors (e.g. environmental and social) that are critical to the implementation of the project, and devise an effective plan for the management of these factors
Communication (Level 3)
10. Demonstrate good understanding of the due diligence process and the information needs of financiers of the project through effective structuring of the reports
11. Formulate an executive summary for the case project by synthesising all of the above
12. Present the project proposal to industry experts
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Participation No 10.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
2 Feasibility Report Yes 30.00 Week 8 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8,
3 Project Definition Plan Yes 30.00 Week 11 1, 5, 6, 9, 10,
4 Presentation/Seminar Yes 30.00 Week 13 1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12,
Assessment Description: Participation is evaluated on quality of contributions to discussions in tutorials/lectures/meetings.

An individual’s final mark is the sum of the individual’s mark (participation) and the product of his/her team’s total mark with the individual’s contribution factor. The contribution factor will be decided by the course coordinator based on the individuals’ contribution to the teamwork. Every team member can submit a peer evaluation form if he/she considers some team member did not contribute to the team assignments as expected.

Group mark may be adjusted using peer evaluation to derive an individual`s mark from a group assignment.

Presentation will be evaluated by a panel of experts.

Overall Mark = Participation (10%) + Contribution factor* [Feasibility report (30%) + Project Definition Plan (30%) + Boardroom presentation (30%)]
Assessment Feedback: Written as well as verbal feedback on group assignments and presentation
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Recommended Reference/s: Note: References are provided for guidance purposes only. Students are advised to consult these books in the university library. Purchase is not required.
Online Course Content:

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Introduction--Dr Li Liu
Financial Engineering -- Brian McGlynn
Week 2 Conducting feasibility study--Li Liu
Team planning workshop

Dr Liu
Week 3 Spreadsheet modelling—B. McGlynn
Financial modelling techniques--I--Dr Li Liu
Week 4 Probabilistic risk modelling--Dr Li Liu
Dealing with risks in financial modelling—Brian McGlynn
Week 5 Risk based estimation (RBE)
RBE lab session
Week 6 Spreadsheet modelling II
Climate change policy considerations--TBC
Week 7 Project financing models and structures--Brian McGlynn
Project planning--Dr Li Liu
Week 8 The planning of OPAL project—Ross Miller
Assessment Due: Feasibility Report
Week 9 Project feasibility studies--case studies—R. Turner
Karl from Leighton

Risk mgnt
Week 10 Due diligence—Andrew Jones
Consultation with teams
Week 11 Team presentations
Assessment Due: Project Definition Plan
Week 12 Team Consultation
Make-up Quiz
Week 13 Boardroom presentation I
Board Room Presentation II
Assessment Due: Presentation/Seminar

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) (till 2012) 2010, 2011, 2012
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) / Arts 2011
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) / Commerce 2010, 2011
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) / Science 2011
Civil (till 2014) 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Arts 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Science 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil (Construction Management) (till 2014) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil (Environmental) (till 2014) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil (Geotechnical) (till 2014) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil (Structures) (till 2014) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil 2015, 2016
Civil / Arts 2015
Civil / Science 2015
Civil (Construction Management) 2015
Civil (Environmental) 2015
Civil (Geotechnical) 2015
Civil (Structures) 2015
Flexible First Year (Stream A) / Science 2012
Civil Engineering / Design in Architecture 2010
Civil / Commerce 2015
Civil / Design in Architecture 2015
Civil / Medical Science 2015

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
Project and Team Skills (Level 3) No 60%
Design (Level 3) Yes 0%
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 3) No 0%
Maths/Science Methods and Tools (Level 2) Yes 7%
Information Seeking (Level 3) Yes 0%
Professional Conduct (Level 3) Yes 11%
Communication (Level 3) Yes 22%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.