After ten days of training in Kenya on steel design to the Eurocodes, two issues stand out: firstly, (and not surprisingly) concrete is the material of choice, and secondly that a key feature of the Eurocode suite is consistency between the Standards. Design to EN 1993 demands steel manufactured to a referenced material Standard and anticipates that the fabrication and erection will be executed to EN 1090.
These are simple principles that generally pass unnoticed in European countries, but in other parts of the world have important implications when developing National Annexes. If steel is not to a Standard there will be an immediate effect on the material factors, but there may also be more subtle impacts, for example on the ductility of the material which is presumed in many resistance checks. Execution to EN 1090 requires – for example – the careful contribution of a Responsible Welding Coordinator, but if appropriately qualified and experienced personnel are simply not available, a different approach for weld design may be needed. Material, design and execution must be mutually consistent.
These are very real issues to be considered in non-European countries, in addition to the obvious differences of wind actions and snow loads, so the challenge of adopting Eurocodes is not straightforward. Of note is that there are even more questions surrounding the use of concrete – the base materials, mix proportions and quality control throughout the concreting process – are all areas which may have an impact on the design assumptions.