Course Title: Introduction to Modular Design and Construction

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Introduction to Modular Design and Construction

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2024

Course Coordinator: Jonathan Tran

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5997

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 10, Level 12, Room 21

Course Coordinator Availability: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Assumed Knowledge

OENG1204 Creative Engineering CAD or OENG1250 Introduction to Engineering Design or equivalent subjects, with preferred structural analysis skills (CIVE1265, MIET2514, CIVE1188, MIET2514, BUIL1241) engineering design methods, and digital design skills or equivalent. 

Course Description

Different from conventional construction processes and technology, automation in construction refers to the process through which autonomous equipment and digital tools take part in several construction activities. Transformation into automation construction promises to enhance construction productivity, minimise waste and carbon emissions. There are several primary approaches for automation in construction. The first is to utilise robotic technology to replace what are considered traditional physical tasks on-site—for instance, robots laying bricks and machines paving roads. The second approach comes from modular construction, which often involves offsite manufacturing or prefabrication (building units, elements) coupled with onsite installation. This process could also include 3-D printing of components such as walls and facades. The third centres on digitization and the subsequent automation of design, modelling, planning, and management procedures. 

This course is designed to provide foundation knowledge and skills relevant to the modular design and construction automation. This course will introduce the systems of prefabrication engineering approach and 3D printing technology for modular construction. This course will also develop your basic skills in the parametric design, virtual modelling, and robotic operation optimisation. Topics that will be covered include: 

  • Introduction to automation in construction: Technology, opportunities, and challenges.
  • Introduction to industrial robotics: Basic types of construction robots, sensors, controls, modelling.
  • Introduction to different modular construction systems and their advantages.
  • The modular building construction considerations and significant factors (modular types, transportation, common configuration, logistic).
  • Parametric design and virtual modelling incorporating architectural considerations.
  • Additive manufacturing/3-D printing for modular construction and automated building construction processes.
  • Virtual assembly, logistics and project managements in construction automation and prefabrication.

WAM Statement

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) in determining your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the program learning outcomes for the following program(s):

  • PLO 1: Demonstrate an in-depth understanding and knowledge of fundamental engineering and scientific theories, principles and concepts and apply advanced technical knowledge in specialist domain of engineering. 
  • PLO 2: Utilise mathematics and engineering fundamentals, software, tools and techniques to design engineering systems for complex engineering challenges.    
  • PLO 4: Apply systematic problem solving, design methods and information and project management to propose and implement creative and sustainable solutions with intellectual independence and cultural sensitivity. 
  • PLO 6: Develop and demonstrate the capacity for autonomy, agility and reflection of own learning, career and professional development and conduct.  
  • PLO 7: Collaborate and contribute as an effective team member in diverse, multi-level, multi-disciplinary teams, with commitment to First Nations peoples and globally inclusive perspectives and participation.

For more information on the program learning outcomes for your program, please see the program guide.  

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the modular building system and their construction sequences.
  2. Analyse a structure to obtain actions such as bending moments, shear forces and deflections.
  3. Design the modular building using steel as a structural material.
  4. Apply your creative ideas to design and manufacturing modular.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn fundamental concepts, parametric design tools and the virtual assembly process in construction automation through a series of pre-recorded lectures and tutorial classes, individual and group activities. Delivery may be face-to-face, online or a mix of both.

You will be involved in building design group projects. In the modular building design project, you will carry out parametric designs of a low-to-high-rise residential modular building according to the requirements of relevant Australian Standards. This process will include the determination of construction automation technology, design against critical loadings, conceptual design of inter-modular connection, reinforcement and virtual assembly and installation. 

You are encouraged to be proactive and self-directed in your learning, asking questions of your lecturer and/or peers and seeking out information as required, especially from the numerous sources available through the RMIT library, andthrough links and material specific to this course that is available through myRMIT Studies Course. 

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through myRMIT Studies Course

For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the RMIT Student website.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment tasks

Assessment Task 1:  Mid-semester test (Online Quiz)
Weighting: 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 5 & 6.

Assessment Task 2: Group project, individual assessment
Parametric design, structural analysis and assembly method of modular building (group project)
Weighting: 50%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1 - 6.

Assessment Task 3: Group project, group assessment
Selection of construction automation technology, architectural plan of modular building and construction requirements (group project)
Weighting: 30%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1 - 6.

If you have a long-term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.