DEPUTY PRIME minister John Prescott this week launched a last minute effort to prevent public procurement chaos during the switch to the new structural Eurocodes.
He has given a committee chaired by IStructE president Dr David Nethercot until the end of April to come up with a strategy for the changeover.
Structural designers and material suppliers have been warning the government for some time that it will be several years after the Eurocodes are published before vital supporting documents are in place.
The supporting documents will give guidance to engineers about how the Eurocodes should be interpreted.
'The real problem is that public procurement documents are likely to insist on the use of the new codes as soon as they are published, ' said IStructE technical director Dr Sue Doran, who will manage the process.
The first meeting of the committee, which will have more than 20 representatives from across construction, is not scheduled until 16 February.
'The timescale is very short, but we believe we will be able to present a comprehensive programme to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister detailing exactly what guidance documents, new software and training programmes will be needed by the deadline, ' said Dr Doran.