The Eurocodes

The European directive 'Construction Products' issued in 1989 comprises requirements relating to the strength, stability and fire resistance of construction. In this context, the structural Eurocodes are technical rules, unified at the European level, which aim to ensure the fulfilment of these requirements. They are a set of fifty-eight standards gathered into ten Eurocodes, providing the basis for the analysis and design of structures and of the constitutive materials. Complying with Eurocodes makes it possible to declare the conformity of structures and construction products and to apply CE (Conformité Européenne) marking to them (a requirement for any products, including ost construction products, arketed ithin the European Union). Thus, Eurocodes constitute a set of standards of structural design, consistent in principle, hich facilitates free distribution of products and services in the construction sector ithin the European nion.

Beyond the political goals pursued by the Union, the development of Eurocodes has also given rise to considerable technical progress, by taking into account the most recent knowledge in structural design, and producing technical standardisation across the European construction sector. The Eurocodes have been finalised in the light of extensive feedback fro practitioners, since codes should reflect recognised practices current at the time of issue, without, however, preventing the progress of knowledge.

The methodology used to demonstrate the reliability (in particular, safety assessment) of structures is the approach referred to as 'semi-probabilistic', hich akes use of partial coefficients applied to actions, aterial properties and covering the imperfections of analysis models and construction. The verification consists of analysing the failure odes of the structure, associated with limit states, in design situations with associated combinations of actions that can reasonably be expected to occur simultaneously.

Inevitably, the Eurocodes took many years to complete since, to reach general consensus, it as necessary to reconcile differing national experiences and requirements coming from both researchers and practising engineers.

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