Structural Engineering & Civil Engineering Informatics

Structural engineering is the branch of civil engineering that deals with large, modern buildings and similar structures. The focus of Civil engineering informatics is on fundamental methods, models and processes of civil engineering, as well as information technology. This provides the basis for the systematic mapping of problems to the computer in such a way that the potential of information technology can be fully exploited.

All aspects of structural engineering are provided for within the group, including structural analysis and computational mechanics, concrete, steel and other structures, building materials with special reference to concrete technology and masonry and fire engineering. Facilities are available for the experimental and numerical examination of structures.

Instruction is provided and research is conducted to lead to improved design and construction of civil engineering structures. The field of Information Technology for Civil Engineers, which resides within this Group, provides for the extensive use of information and modelling in civil engineering.

Fields of specialisation within the Group include concrete technology, 3D printing, building materials and sustainability, fire engineering, structural reliability, steel structures, application of information technology, facilities management and building infrastructure. A well-equipped materials laboratory and a large structural laboratory with servo-hydraulic loading equipment and computerised data measurement systems support advanced studies and research. Extensive computer facilities support structural analysis and information technology for civil engineers.

The Group also offers specialist consultation services to industry. In addition to commissioned research, industry is provided the opportunity to support academic research and to support training of specialists in the post-graduate programs.

Within the Group, the Centre for Development of Sustainable Infrastructure (CDSI) and the Unit for Construction Materials (UCM) strive to be centres of excellence and top institutes for infrastructure development and construction materials in South Africa for teaching, research and consulting. Members include both staff and postgraduate students, with a wide network of local and international collaborators. Student training and teaching is the fundamental function of the CDSI and the UCM, but service to the industry by means of consulting and dissemination of information in the form of seminars, is paramount to ensure relevancy.

For enquiries regarding laboratory testing services, contact Prof Riaan Combrinck.

Green Construction Materials, Fibre Reinforced Concrete, Creep & Durability of Concrete

Construction materials, cement based materials, concrete

Uncertainty Quantification, Engineering Informatics

Masonry, alternative building materials, low-income housing, life cycle analysis

Fire Engineering Research Unit

Fibre Reinforced Concrete


Adjunct Associate Professor
Bridge Engineering and Renewable Energy Structures

Material development, characterization, durability, 3D printing

3D Concrete Printing, Structural and Computational Mechanics, Durability

Risk-based decision making, Structural design and Standardisation, Structural Reliability.

Structural Fire Engineering, Fire Behaviour, Informal Settlement Fire Safety

Specific research topics for the upcoming year are available below but feel free to contact our researchers directly as well.

Structural Engineering and Civil Informatics Research Topics 2024