Looking ahead

Errors and ambiguities in the text of EN 1997 have already been discovered and are being reviewed by a 'Maintenance Group' for future correction. In the first instance, this will lead to publication of a corrigendum, dealing with essential changes to Eurocode 7, followed by a more considered amendment or revision some time after 2010.

As our understanding of the nature of soils and rocks and the complex issues of soil-structure interaction improves, so Eurocode 7 will need further development. The values of partial factors may need to be revised to ensure that adequate levels of reliability are maintained without unnecessary conservatism. The reliance on ultimate limit state calculations may give way to greater consideration of movements and other serviceability conditions.

The introduction of three Design Approaches for limit states GEO and STR is not ideal. The strengths and weaknesses of each Design Approach will become more apparent as engineers become familiar with them. Hopefully, as experience is gained in the use of limit state philosophy in geotechnical engineering, a unified approach accepted across the whole of Europe may emerge. In the meantime, engineers must endeavour to make the most of the common Principles and Application Rules that have been agreed to date.

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