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Unit information: Fundamentals of Reliability for Engineers in 2019/20

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Fundamentals of Reliability for Engineers
Unit code CENG30006
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. De Luca
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The aim of this unit is to enable the students to understand the required theoretical basis and technical skills such as to feel comfortable with basic probability and statistics aimed at decision making for engineers, and introduce the basic concepts of reliability analysis in pursuit of understanding current and future codes and guidelines (e.g., safety factors, partial coefficients, …).

The course will be delivered in the context of civil engineering applications. Each theoretical topic that will be covered in this unit will be explained through engineering examples for a better understanding of practical applications of the theoretical concepts delivered.

Topics covered include:

  • Basic Probability Theory
  • Descriptive Statistics
  • Uncertainty Modelling
  • Estimation and Model Building
  • Methods of Structural Reliability
  • Applications of Reliability to Structural Codes

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course, successful students will;

1. be able to restate the problem of societal decision making,

2. be able to apply basic principles of probability and statistics in selected engineering problems,

3. apply statistical methods to (i) describe properties of data-sets, (ii) fit probability distributions or regression models to data, (iii) conduct hypothesis testing,

4. be able to explain the fundamental concepts of structural reliability and the role of simulation in structural reliability,

5. be able to explain the philosophy of codes and guidelines based on reliability methods.

Teaching details

20 hours of lectures

Lectures will be arranged to cover basic probability and statistics applied to engineering decision making, methods of structural reliability, and their application in structural codes. Each lesson will include applied engineering examples to emphasize the applicability of the theoretical concepts

Students will supplement these by undertaking wider reading.

Assessment Details

2 hour examination 100%

Reading and References

Ang A H-S, Tang W.H. Probability Concepts in Engineering: Emphasis on Applications to Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2nd Edition, Wiley, (2006).

Faber M.H. Statistics and Probability Theory in Pursuit of Engineering Decision Support. Springer, (2012).

Melchers R.E. Structural Reliability Analysis and Prediction, 2nd Edition. Wiley, (1999).

Pinto P.E., Giannini R., Franchin P. Seismic Reliability Analysis of Structures. IUSS Press, (2004).