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Ringing the changes

Concrete engineering The switch from British design codes to Eurocodes is significant for the construction industry. Andrew Minson explains what is being done to ease the transition in the concrete sector.

The BS EN1992 Eurocode 2 Design of Concrete Structures - or simply Eurocode 2 - will affect all concrete design. That is, when the current British Standard BS 8110 for Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures, BS8007 Design of Concrete Structures for Retaining Aqueous Liquids and BS5400 Steel & Concrete Bridge Design are withdrawn by 2010. Ultimately, Eurocode 2 will become the one design code for all concrete structures in the UK and Europe. It will bring reinforced concrete design right up to date.

While Parts 1-1 and 1-2 have already been published, we await Part 2: Bridges, Part 3: Liquid Retaining Structures and all the National Annexes giving specific rules for the use of Eurocode 2.

The annexes for Parts 1-1 and 1-2 should be available before the end of the year. Once these are published it will be possible to use Eurocode 2, albeit to an incomplete Eurocode 1.

The design process will not change as a result of using Eurocode 2. In the long term, it is anticipated that it will result in more economic structures, so that conceptual design undertaken to BS8100 may confidently be taken through to detailed design using the new code.

Recognising that a substantial effort would be required to ensure that UK designers and engineers would be able to use Eurocode 2 quickly and effectively, the cement and concrete industry set up the Concrete Industry Eurocode 2 Group (CIEG) in 1999.

CIEG has provided guidance for a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to the introduction of the code. As a result, a range of resources are being made available through The Concrete Centre to aid the transition from BS8110.

A dedicated website - www.eurocode2. info - provides advice and assistance on the introduction, interpretation and implementation of the code.

The site also contains the latest news, detailed analysis, free downloads and a FAQ section.

The Concrete Centre, in partnership with other industry organisations, is also running a series of seminars and courses throughout the UK. It is to publish a series of guides under the banner How to Design Concrete Structures using Eurocode 2 which will be distributed free in relevant publications once the UK National Annex has been finalised.

These guides aim to make the transition as easy as possible by providing key information and commentary for the design of typical concrete elements such as slabs, beams and columns.

The Concrete Centre will also publish a Concise Eurocode 2 that brings together information for building structures, spreadsheets for design to Eurocode 2 and, in 2006, worked examples. Publications on civil engineering subjects such as integral bridges worked examples will follow.

The UK construction industry faces a major challenge with the replacement of British Standards with Eurocode 2 and the Concrete Centre is making available all the resources it can to assist with its interpretation and use.

Andrew Minson is head of frame buildings at the Concrete Centre

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