The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced that Approved Document A will be amended in October this year to reference British Standards based on Eurocodes.
According to Eurocode 7 committee chairman Andrew Bond, this is a move that is long overdue. “British Standards that conflicted with Eurocodes were withdrawn in 2010 but building regulations still refer to the old standards so there has been some ambiguity over which standards to follow,” said Bond. “The changes to building regulations are not a significant move but remove the potential for confusion.”
In a statement, DCLG said: “The reason for the change was set out in the consultation document that was published in January 2012 which outlined that referencing only the withdrawn British Standards may be seen as putting up barriers to trade as well as presenting an increasing risk that guidance would, over time, not deliver the level of structural safety intended.”
DCLG also said that the British Standards that are currently referenced in Approved Document A were withdrawn over three years ago and are no longer being maintained, so they will become increasingly out of date.
Under the changes to Document A, building regulations will now refer to Eurocodes but Bond said that there is still some leeway for smaller, non-complicated schemes to still use the withdrawn standards.
Bond dismissed claims that the UK geotechnics industry is not ready to move over to Eurocode 7.
“Eurocode 7 part 1 was published in 2004 and lots of engineers, especially the younger ones, are up to speed on them,” he said. “The problems related to designing to Eurocode 7 are well known and it would be naive to believe that the first version of a new standard would be perfect.
Evolution for a new version for publication sometime after 2020 is underway but we need to use the current version to ensure the changes are based on practitioner experience.”