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Under-funding risk to Eurocodes says board

ICE news

LACK OF government funding is hampering adequate transposition of Eurocodes for UK structural engineering design, the ICE Structures and Building Board (SBB) said last week.

One board member said that the underfunded British Standards Institution (BSI) which develops national standards was unable to carry out its work properly, leading to under-development of the key National Annexes which are supposed to tailor Eurocodes to local conditions.

The board also claimed that there was a lack of awareness among engineers of how the new Eurocodes would affect designs, also due to the BSI's lack of funds.

The SBB and BSI have jointly sent out a questionnaire to staff and committee members asking them to rate the service they are able to provide.

The questionnaire asks how easy it is for staff and committee members to attend meetings to discuss development of standards.

'A lot of committees are dormant - I'm in one that has never met, ' said SBB vice chairman Ben Barr.

SBB board member John Lane said that BSI funding had reduced over the years which has led to concerns over its performance.

'The feeling is that with reduced funding, people have less time to devote [to standards development], ' he said.

'Also the knowledgeable people who have retired are not being replaced.' Lane added that he feared that if the BSI's input into structural design development reduced even more, there could be pressure to abandon nationally determined parameters altogether.

'If we don't get involved, we'll end up with what the Europeans decide. Eurocodes are one of the most significant civil engineering events of the last 100 years and designers are blissfully ignorant of them, ' he added.

The questionnaires were due back last Friday and the SBB will report on the results at the end of June. Nobody from BSI was available for comment when NCE went to press.

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