Frequently asked questions about Eurocodes

 

1 What are Eurocodes?

Structural Eurocodes are a set of harmonized European standards for the design of buildings and civil engineering structures. There are 10 Eurocodes made up of 58 parts that will be adopted in all EU Member states.

In the UK, they will replace over 50 existing British Standards that are due to be withdrawn on 31 March 2010 when full implementation of the Eurocodes will take place.

Eurocodes are a recommended means of giving a presumption of conformity to the essential requirements of the Construction Products Directive for products that bear CE Marking, as well as the preferred reference for technical specifications in public contracts.

Eurocodes cover the basis of structural design, actions on structures, the design of concrete, steel, composite steel and concrete, timber, masonry and aluminium structures, geotechnical design and the design of structures for earthquake resistance.


2 How do I use Eurocodes?

Eurocodes are designed to be used as a suite of documents, which means that for most projects more than one code will be needed e.g. BS EN 1990 Basis of Structural Design is always required.

In addition, Eurocodes are designed to be used with a National Annex, which is available separately but is essential for compliance with the Code.

Other documents required for using Eurocodes are the so-called Non-Contradictory Complementary Information (NCCI) which includes BSI Standards and PD documents.. The status of these documents can vary. As the name suggests they provide supplementary material, that may be useful, but are not always essential for compliance with the Eurocodes.

Other documents include Execution Standards, which provide requirements for execution of structures that have been designed in accordance with Eurocodes.


3 What are National Annexes and how do I use them?

In order to allow for the variety of climatic and other factors across the European Union each Member State may produce a National Annex for each of the 58 Eurocode parts.

This will include:

  • Alternative values to essential safety levels
  • Country specific data (geographical, climatic, etc.)
  • Alternative procedures.

It may also contain:

  • Decisions on the application of informative annexes
  • References to non-contradictory complementary information (NCCI).

Where a National Annex is published it is essential to use it to comply with the Eurocode.

Where no National Annex is available or no Nationally Determined Parameters (NDPs) are chosen the choice of the relevant values (e.g. the recommended value), classes or alternative method will be the responsibility of the designer, taking into account the conditions of the project and the National provisions.

NOTE: there will be no NA to BS EN 1998-3 in the UK.

For information and to purchase National Annexes applicable outside the UK contact BSI Distributor sales on +44 345 086 9001 or email Distributor.Sales@bsigroup.com.


4 What are Nationally Determined Parameters?

The foreword of each Eurocode states that it recognizes the responsibilities of regulatory authorities in each Member State and protects their right to determine values related to regulatory safety matters at a national level where these continue to vary from State to State.

Accordingly, each Eurocode contains a number of parameters which are left open for national choice, called Nationally Determined Parameters (NDPs). The NDPs account for possible differences in geographical or climatic conditions, or in ways of life, as well as different levels of protection that may prevail at national, regional or local level. Recommended values or class ranges for the NDP’s are also provided in the Eurocodes.


5 What are NCCI and how do I use them?

NCCI are documents that the National committees consider useful for assisting the user to apply the Eurocode. They are not essential for compliance with the Eurocode but may provide background material or other guidance.

They have been approved by the BSI Committee and are usually listed in Clause NA.4 of the National Annex.

This does not mean that all NCCI documents are produced by BSI however. They are not necessarily British Standards and may be published by other organisations.


6 What are Execution Standards and how do I use them?

These documents have been produced in support of the Eurocodes and are applicable to designs in accordance with the Eurocodes.
The Masonry Eurocode includes its own execution part (BS EN 1996-2) but other areas such as Concrete, Steel, and Geotechnics have separate documents, outside the Eurocodes suite dealing with execution and workmanship.


7 How will Eurocodes be maintained and developed?

Eurocodes will be maintained and developed by the CEN/TC250 committee. Their responsibilities will include:

  • Correction of errors
  • Technical and editorial improvements
  • Technical amendments with regard to urgent matters of health and safety
  • Resolution of questions of interpretation
  • Elimination of inconsistencies and misleading statements.

They will also approve any corrigendum (e.g. removal of printing and linguistic errors) or amendment (e.g. modification, addition or deletion of specific parts), as appropriate.

In addition, future editions of the Eurocodes, such as new annexes or parts and eventually new Eurocodes will be needed to include guidance reflecting new European Union policies, innovative design methods, construction techniques, new materials, products and the like. 


8 What are the benefits of using the new Eurocodes?

  • They will facilitate the acquisition of public sector contracts
  • They will facilitate the acquisition of European contracts
  • They are among the most advanced technical views prepared by the best informed groups of experts in their fields across Europe
  • They are the most comprehensive treatment of subjects, with many aspects not previously codified now being covered by agreed procedures
  • They provide a design framework and detailed implementation rules which are valid across Europe and likely to find significant usage worldwide
  • They provide common design criteria and methods of meeting necessary requirements for mechanical resistance, stability and resistance to fire
  • They provide a common understanding regarding the design of structures between owners, operators and users, designers, contractors and manufacturers of construction products
  • They facilitate the marketing and use of structural components and kits in EU Member States
  • They facilitate marketing and use of materials and constituent products, the properties of which enter into design calculations
  • They enable the preparation of common design aids and software
  • They Increase competitiveness of European civil engineering firms, contractors, designers and product manufacturers in their global activities.

9 Have all of the Eurocodes been published?

Yes, BSI has now published all of the harmonized codes and national annexes.

The British Standards referred to in Part A of the Building Regulations will be withdrawn on the 31st of March 2010 and be replaced by a new, more technologically sophisticated set of British Standards - the Eurocodes


10 What happens to the standards I currently use?

Following publication of a European standard, BSI is obliged to withdraw conflicting standards i.e. those within the same scope and field of application as the European standard. Where the national standard is not in a one to one relationship with the European standard, the national standard shall be amended or revised to delete the conflicting requirements and to reflect the changed scope.

Withdrawn documents are still available and remain in the BSI catalogue for historical information purposes but a BSI committee no longer maintains withdrawn standards. That means that there is no 5-year review when a committee considers the currency of a standard and decides whether to confirm, revise, or withdraw it.


11 What happens if I continue to use the old British Standards?

BSI committees have already stopped updating the British Standards to be withdrawn on the 31st of March 2010, so designers need to be mindful of insurance and liability issues if they continue to use them.

The new standards will become the preferred means of demonstrating compliance under the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 and the Construction Products Directive.


12 Is there a legal or insurance-related risk arising from continuing to use the old British Standards?

In any legal proceedings relating to structural design, the courts and other dispute-resolution forums will refer to Eurocodes – the state-of-the-art standards – to reach their decisions. Continuing to use withdrawn standards could put structural designers and their insurers at increasing risk.

There is a risk that with a dual system that engineers will use codes to suit themselves and  this could introduce further confusion and risk.


13 Which projects use Eurocodes?

The choice of which standards to use will be influenced by EU DIRECTIVES such as those on public procurement and construction products, which are enacted in the UK as the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 and the Construction Products Regulations 1991 respectively. As such, most UK public sector organizations, utilities and product manufacturers intend to use Eurocodes for all new designs after April 2010.

The Highways Authority (England Wales and Northern Ireland) will expect new designs to be in accodance with Eurocodes after March 2010. The HA requirements will be described in an Advice Note (an IAN) which will be published shortly. The actual standards to be used on a project will be defined in the AIP (Approval in Principle) document for each contract.

Network Rail will require new work from March 2010 to be in accordance with Eurocodes.


14 Has Eurocode implementation been held up by the delay to the revision of Approved Document A?

A revision to Part A to update the referenced standards has been delayed for unrelated reasons and CLG remains fully supportive of the new British Standards.

There is nothing to stop designers using British Standards cited in the Regulations, it is "'egally permissible' to use them, though they should be aware of the comments in Q12.


15 Many engineers are not ready for the new British Standards, why does BSI not postpone withdrawal?

Both BSI and the Government have a legal obligation to meet the agreed date for Europe-wide implementation of the Eurocodes (i.e. 31 March 2010). The CEN agreement to create and apply harmonized standards is made between European governments and then delegated to their National Standards Bodies.


16 How can I purchase Eurocodes?

Eurocodes are published and sold in each country by the National Standards Body and in the United Kingdom can be purchased from BSI at http://shop.bsigroup.com/eurocodes.


17 What kind of guidance on Eurocodes is available from BSI?

Eurocode core documentation:
BSI has published all 58 Eurocodes with National Annexes, Associated NCCI and PD. See the Eurocodes website for more information http://shop.bsigroup.com/eurocodes.

New Online Managed Collection:
BSI has recently made available a managed PDF collection of the full set of Eurocodes and National Annexes. More information can be requested at http://shop.bsigroup.com/eurocodesmanagedcollection

Commentary, Guidance, Master Classes. Conferences
BSI has designed a series of master classes, publications and an annual conference on key Eurocode themes covering key design materials such as concrete, steel, timber.
Further information can be received from http://shop.bsigroup.com/eurocodes

 

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