Reliability of Structures

Course credits: 7.5 ECTS


In engineering design, mathematical models are very often used as basic tools to support decision processes. The basic parameters of such models as well as the models themselves contain uncertainties. To achieve a desired performance with sufficient reliability, the consequences of such uncertainties must be understood and accounted for. The purpose with the course is to give the student a systematic, statistical methodology to analyse and handle safety problems in engineering. Such a methodology has been developed during the last 30 years in the field of Structural Reliability, which nowadays is widely employed in advanced civil and mechanical engineering applications. It is especially fruitful to use in order to verify performance of existing structures where the cost of upgrading safety usually is high. Even if the course will focus on Structural Reliability, the general methodology is applicable for a large variety of other engineering problems which can be described by mathematical models.

Content and Objectives

  • Fundamentals in probability theory
  • Reliability assessment and uncertainties
  • Solution methods for the generalized reliability problem
  • Reliability of structural systems
  • Time dependent reliability
  • Modelling of actions and action effects
  • Resistance modelling
  • Code calibration
  • Decision theory
  • Evaluation of existing structures 


The course can be followed by those who have a knowledge of statistics corresponding to the
basic courses included in civil engineering programs. The target group consists of
  • students on the PhD-level or Masters level within civil and mechanical engineering, engineering physics, risk and fire safety engineering etc.
  • engineers in practice working with advanced problems in structural engineering and other relevant fields.

Course plan

The course will be given in two concentrated blocks, with lectures and personal supervision regarding exercises. The total duration is about three to four months. In the case of non-Swedish participants the lectures will be given in English.

Course organisation

The course may be given in collaboration with one or more other Swedish universities not yet
specified. Main responsibility:

Div. of Structural Engineering, Lund University
Box 118, S-22100 Lund, Sweden
Fax. +46 46 222 4212, Phone +46 46 222 7368

Responsible teachers: Dr. Oskar Larsson Ivanov, Dr. Ivar Björnsson


A prescribed number of exercises and projects shall be performed, documented and accepted.


Nowak, A.S. & Collins, K.R., Reliability of Structures, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-415-67575-8

Selected material from other sources