Prolyte Campus blog: Eurocodes

There’s a general shared view that when comparing fruit we should not mix apples and oranges. The same thing applies when comparing truss. There’s a number of properties that could be compared for several reasons; price undoubtedly is an important one, but if that would be the only thing we would all drive in a 2nd hand Tata Nano, which is not the case. Other factors are ease and speed of (dis-) assembly, of maintenance and inspection, the self-weight of the modules, the volume of truck- or warehouse space etc. And last but not least, the loading capacity is an important comparison factor.

The issue: Traditionally in the EU the problem with comparing loading capacities was the method of calculation and on what particular standard this was to be based upon. Even the name of one particular alloy could be different from one nation to the next, and so were the standards describing the methods and formulas for structural engineering. What a mess it used to be in the Old Continent!

Clearly some standards were used more than others, with the usual DIN, BSI ones in the lead. AFNOR, NEN and UNI were much less used, but essentially each member state could remain on national grounds, certainly where building codes were covered by building safety legislation.     

The answer:  As a result, working in a mainly touring industry, where crossing borders is the standard, rather than the exception, life could become particularly difficult for structural engineers and riggers, trying to define what standards would apply where. Fortunately, one of the silent achievements in the EU was to formulate one common way of naming of alloys and of design and calculation in structural engineering: the Eurocodes.

The verdict: A common structural engineering standard for all Member States in Europe! That should also be a great help in this business, enabling the comparison of one truss to another… (To be continued)


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