Under the Public Procurement Directive, it is mandatory that Member States accept designs to the EN Eurocodes. The EN Eurocodes are the standard technical specification for all public works contracts in the EU Member States. If proposing an alternative design, one must demonstrate that is technically equivalent to an EN Eurocode solution.
A contracting authority shall formulate technical specifications in one of the following ways:
- by reference to technical specifications and to national standards transposing (in order of preference) ENs, ETAs, common technical specifications, international standards, technical reference systems established by ESOs or, when these do not exist, to national standards, technical approvals or technical specifications, or equivalent;
- in terms of performance or functional requirements;
- in terms of performance or functional requirements with reference to the specifications in (1) as a means of presuming conformity with such requirements;
- in terms of technical specifications for certain characteristics and in terms of performance of functional requirements for other characteristics.
As the National Standardisation Bodies are not maintaining the withdrawn National standards in practice, there is little option but to use the EN Eurocodes. Moreover, pressures from international clients and contractors, as well as other stakeholders like the insurance industry, have led to their more rapid application for private construction.
Technical equivalence may be admissible provided it is shown that the alternative rules accord with the relevant Principles of the EN Eurocodes and are at least equivalent with regard to mechanical resistance, stability, fire resistance and durability which would be expected using the EN Eurocodes.