Fears that the construction industry is not ready for the application of Eurocodes this week prompted the Highways Agency to issue an interim advice note to support the roll out.
Eurocodes become UK national standards for structural design on 1 April. From then 57 British design codes will no longer be supported by the British Standards Institute.
The European Union’s Public Procurement Directive specifies that leading public bodies, such as Network Rail and the Highways Agency must use Eurocodes for newly procured design work from this date.
However a complete switch to Eurocodes is expected to take years to implement, with ongoing projects likely to be completed to current national standards.
As a result the Agency is producing the advice note to “support the implementation” of the codes. It will be published early next week.
Interim Advice Notes (IANs) are issued by the Highways Agency in special circumstances. They contain specific guidance, and must be read in conjunction with the Agency’s Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) and Manual of Contract Documents for Highway Works (MCHW).
The Agency added that it expects to see a small rise in consultancy fees in the short-term whilst firms adjust to the new codes.
It hopes that this will be offset by more innovative and efficient design and increased competition between designers.