THE ICE Structural & Building Board last week called for a more detailed 10 year strategy to implement the new structural Eurocodes in the UK.
It believes that too little is being done to make engineers, academics and clients aware of the consequences of using the new codes, which will replace British Standards (BS) over the next 10 years.
'There is no strategy in place to phase in the codes, ' said board member and Steel Construction Institute senior manager for information technology, John Moran, at the latest board meeting.
The board was reviewing the draft National Strategy for Implementation of the Structural Eurocodes: design guidance document which was written by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).
Each package of structural Eurocode design guide documents correlates with existing British Standards. Phasing out the old BS takes five years, of which the first two are spent creating a national annex to the Eurocode. The two codes will then coexist for three years before the BS is superseded.
The ICE board warned the ODPM last year that industry and academia was not preparing itself to make the transition to using Eurocodes. The ODPM then commissioned the IStructE to prepare a strategy to implement the new standard.
But the document produced lacked details and timescales to be of practical use to engineers, said the ICE.
'We want a 10 year strategy to allow students, lecturers and engineers to take on the code and clients and architects to become aware of what the consequences might be, ' said Moran.
The board's main concern was that the strategy document appeared to ask more questions than offer solutions.
'The strategy document seems to be saying that we need a strategy, ' said Moran.
He argued that the document could end up propagating more and more committee meetings instead of setting a practical agenda.
IStructE technical director Sue Doran said that the strategy would be 'developed over a number of years'. She added that the document had been delayed from being published because of the June European elections.
The strategy document raised the point that the Eurocodes would become mandatory for public works design, but that there was no guidance yet from government about when this would be enforced.
Thomas Telford Ltd has developed a website to help stakeholders understand the new codes which are being published from 2002 to 2005. By 2007 most national structural codes in Europe will be replaced.
Visit www. eurocodes.co.uk for more information