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Talking Point

Matthew Warner from the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists considers the impact of Eurocodes

The Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) has always kept its members aware of Eurocode EC-7 developments through its participation on British Standards committees and publishing updates to its membership.

AGS appreciates that, on a national level, the use of any Eurocode with nationally determined parameters should not lead to structures that cost significantly more over their design life than those designed to national standards or provisions, unless changes in safety have been made and agreed.

However, in the short term there will be increased cost in carrying out design to the Eurocodes, until the profession gets familiar with its new suite.

Office procedures will require the consideration of the technical differences between the Eurocodes and national codes, availability of designers’ guides, the training needs for all levels of staff and any differences in quality assurance procedures.

For IT applications, the availability of good quality software will be essential before economic implementation can be considered.

Although the Eurocodes will provide opportunities in Europe and overseas, UK companies must be conscious that there could potentially be more competition.

With the imminent withdrawal of a number of British Standards, many AGS member firms have already been designing projects to Eurocodes.

But elsewhere our members are expecting to be climbing a steep learning curve.

Inevitably our members will have to collaborate even more closely across the industry disciplines between client and designer and contractor and supplier.

Some are worried that not all the technical codes and standards are in place to support EC-7, and not all parties in the supply chain are consistently informed and prepared.

On a European basis, some of our members are concerned that different EU countries are adopting different design approaches, and that this could lead to a commercial disadvantage.

The AGS looks forward to the adoption of EC-7 improving the quality of geotechnical design and practice across the industry.

  • Matthew Warner is chair of the AGS

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