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Eurocode 7 underlines need for broad knowledge

Implementation of Eurocode 7 (geotechnical) has underlined the need for engineers to have a broad knowledge and not to be too specialist, Buro Happold technical director Peter Scott said this week.

Speaking at the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (Ciria) conference on Geotechnical Issues in Construction, Scott highlighted the need for better understanding. “Too often site investigation is undertaken by geologists and the analysis by an engineer in the office,” he said. “But with the arrival of Eurocodes there is a need for engineers to understand geology and for the geologists to understand design.” 

Eurocode 7 came into force in April last year and marked a change in style with procedures that “have to be applied” with no alternatives as were available in previous British Standards. “This prescriptive approach has been difficult for the geotechnics industry, which is part science and part art,” said Scott.

“Eurocode 7 demands that there is continuity and communication between eh data collection, design and construction operations. This takes the industry back to how it was in the 1970s when design engineers had a broader knowledge and were less specialist.”

Scott also highlight the difficulties of sampling in accordance with Eurocode 7 and the lack of differentiation in reliability and quality of different in situ testing methods. “The main benefit is that the Eurocodes do set a minimum level of site investigation,” he said. “It also calls for a ground investigation report that includes geotechnical parameters, which removes assumptions being made further down the line.”

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