The EUROCODES are a group of European Standards for the building industry whose formulation was initiated by the Commission of the European Union in the mid 1970's.
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Article 100 of the Treaties of Rome of 1957 and the Single European Act of 1987 obliged member states to take measures for the realisation of the single European market. Goals were the removal of technical barriers to trade, based on the nationally diverging guidelines and usages, and the harmonisation of procurement. For a period of fifteen years the Commission of the European Union headed the development of the EUROCODES with the aid of a steering commission consisting of delegates of the member states.
In 1990 the Commission of the European Union, the member states of the EU and EFTA decided, based on an agreement between the Commission of the European Union and the European standards organisation (CEN), to mandate the formulation and publication of the EUROCODES to CEN to provide for the future status of European Standards.
This connects the EUROCODES with all council directives and/or decisions of the Commission dealing with European Standards.
For the preparation of the EUROCODES the technical committee CEN/TC 250 "Structural Eurocodes" was established, the secretariat of which is held by the British Standards Institute (BSI). For each of the ten parts a subcommittee was set up (e.g. CEN/TC 250/SC 2 „Concrete Structures“).
The first generation of EUROCODES was published in 62 parts from the mid 1990's as European Pre-standard (ENV), in Austria as ÖNORM ENV, to gain experience with the - in part - fundamentally new contents.
These ENV were recommended for application.
Based on the practical experience made with the ENV, at the end of the 1990's, again in CEN/TC 250, the conversion, that is revision, of the EUROCODES commenced. The result of those activities are EUROCODES which will be published as European Standards (EN), in Austria as ÖNORM EN.
The first parts were published in 2003. All 58 parts were available in 2008.
The application of the EN is mandatory.
After implementing all EUROCODES in the national body of standards a transitional period of several years begins. In this period national standards may continue to exist even if their content is contradictory to the one of the EUROCODES. By the end of the transitional period at the latest contradictory standards have to have been revised or withdrawn or new standards to support the implementation of the EUROCODES in Austria have to be completed.
Road map for the implementation of EUROCODES (pdf; 150 KB)
The member states of EU and EFTA consider the EUROCODES to be the reference documents for the following purposes:
- as a means to prove compliance of civil engineering works with the essential requirements of directive 89/106/EEC (Construction Products Directive), especially with essential requirement no. 1 "Mechanical resistance and stability" and essential requirement no. 2 "Safety in case of fire";
- as a basis for the formulation of contracts concerning the execution of structures and the required engineering know-how;
- as a framework for the development of harmonized, technical specifications for construction products (ENs and ETAs)
As they are referring to buildings, the EUROCODES are directly related to the interpretative documents, which are referenced in article 12 of the Construction Products Directive, even if they are of a different nature than harmonized product standards.
Thus, the technical aspects arising from the EUROCODES are to be considered by the technical committees of CEN and the working groups of EOTA drafting product standards, in order for the product standards to be completely compatible with the EUROCODES.
The EUROCODES provide rules for the design, calculation and dimensioning of outright structures or building components, which are suitable for everyday use. They go into traditional methods of construction and aspects of innovative applications. However, they do not supply complete guidelines for exceptional buildings and design criteria which might require the input of experts.