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Eurocodes: Building the future

Evolution of the EN Eurocodes

Member States should undertake research to facilitate the integration into the Eurocodes of the latest developments in scientific and technological knowledge. Member States should pool the national funding available for such research so that it can be used at Community level to contribute to the existing technical and scientific resources for research within the Commission, in cooperation with the Joint Research Centre, thus ensuring an ongoing increased level of protection of buildings and other civil works, specifically as regards the resistance of structures to earthquakes and fire.

Commission Recommendation 2003/887/EC

Development of the EN Eurocodes

The current version of the EN Eurocodes results from a long and dedicated effort from the Commission, the Member States and particularly the European Union civil/mechanical engineering scientific and technical community who drafted the normative documents, developed and achieved various research projects aiming at clarifying several scientific and technical aspects to be finally approved by the Member States.

A sustained development of the Eurocodes programme is necessary to preserve the users' confidence in the codes and continue to strive towards meeting the overall objectives regarding safety and the Internal Market. This development process was designed so as to:

  • encourage/accompany innovation (related to materials and products, construction techniques and research on design methods), ensuring that the Eurocodes reflect and incorporate sustained market developments;
  • take into account new societal demands and needs;
  • facilitate the harmonisation of national technical initiatives on new topics of interest for the construction sector.

Long-term confidence in the codes is based on the ability of the structural Eurocodes to evolve in an appropriate manner in order to address the variety of new methods, new materials, new regulatory requirements and new societal needs developing. The structural Eurocodes are appraised so as to identify improvements to the existing suite to reflect the state of the art, and extend harmonisation by, for example, reducing the need for Nationally Determined Parameters and exploring the need to assist new entrants to the market and small and medium sized enterprises.

Standardisation for the Eurocodes second generation

The European Commission issued the mandates M/466 and M/515 to CEN for amending the existing Eurocodes and extending the scope of structural Eurocodes. It was requested that at least one additional structural Eurocode on structural glass and substantial additions to the existing codes, to be developed as part of the action at European level. The Eurocodes second generation is planned to cover at least: 

  • assessment, re-use and retrofitting of existing structures;
  • strengthening of the requirements for robustness;
  • improving the practical use for day-to-day calculations;
  • new Eurocode on structural glass;
  • incorporation of ISO Standards in the Eurocodes family, such as atmospheric icing of structures and actions from waves and currents on coastal structures.

Although they are not included in the present scope, it is envisaged that the mandate may be amended in future to include the development of further additional structural Eurocodes covering FRP structures and tensile membrane structures.

The standardisation work programme for the Eurocodes second generation includes:

  • the development of new standards or new parts of existing standards (vertical approach);
  • the incorporation of new performance requirements and design methods (horizontal approach);
  • the introduction of a more user-friendly approach, in several existing standards (horizontal approach);
  • a technical report on how to adapt the existing Eurocodes and the new Eurocode for structural glass to consider the relevant impacts of future climate change.

In May 2013, CEN sent to the European Commission a detailed working plan in reply to M/515. Over 1000 experts from across Europe have been involved in the development and review of the document. The CEN/TC250 work programme encompassed all the requirements of M/515 EN, supplemented by requirements established through extensive consultation with industry and other stakeholders. The set-up of the Project Teams on the work programme finished in December 2015, and the publishing of the complete set of new standards is expected after 2026.

Document CEN/TC 250 N 1250 "Policy Guidelines and Procedures" provides the policy guidelines and procedures to be followed in preparing EN Eurocode Parts in response to EU Commission Mandate M/515. The document provides information relevant to the Project Teams for the work programme for M/515.

Standardisation Work Packages

Work Package I refers to the framework standards of general relevance, i.e. EN 1990, EN 1991, EN 1997 and EN 1998, while Work Package II includes the material Eurocodes (EN 1992 – EN 1996) and the new Eurocode on glass in construction.

Both work packages will address the assessment of existing buildings, robustness and further development. Work Package I will cover structural design addressing the general and material-specific impacts of climate change.

Under Mandate M/515, 76 project teams have been established across the four phases of the work programme, following open calls for experts. The first phase was completed in April 2018 and work is ongoing on phases 3 and 4.

The European Commission issued the mandates M/466 and M/515 to CEN for amending the existing Eurocodes and extending the scope of structural Eurocodes.

A new EN Eurocode for the design of Glass structures is being prepared under the works for the second generation of the Eurocodes.

A CEN Technical Specification for the design of Fibre-polymer composite structures is being prepared under the works for the second generation of the Eurocodes.

A CEN Technical Specification for the design of Tensioned membrane structures is being prepared under the works for the second generation of the Eurocodes.

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