Research finds civil engineers are not up to speed with Eurocodes leaving them vulnerable to potential litigation

A firm of consultants has said professionalism is “falling short” in the UK construction industry because of a poor understanding of Eurocodes.

The pan-European building codes were developed by the European Committee for Standardisation and should have been fully adopted in the UK from 2 April this year when British Standard codes for construction stopped being updated.

However, research carried out by McBains Cooper found that the majority of construction industry professionals are “blissfully unaware” of the Eurocodes and that two-thirds of civil engineers feel “uncomfortable” with them and are still designing and specifying buildings to outdated British Standards.

Paul Cowton of McBains Cooper said: “Only around a third of civil engineers said they’ve received any Eurocodes training. It’s a ticking time bomb, and sooner or later there’s going to be a slip up resulting in litigation at the very least”.

British Standards for building will be withdrawn completely in 2013.

Cowton added that: “So far as we can see, the vast majority of professionals in building design simply don’t know about Eurocodes, but the front-line engineers do.

“If something goes wrong, there is huge potential for litigation, because they’re not designing to current best standards or using current best practice. There is a strong potential for legal action under duty of care”.

The EU directive says that national codes were to be withdrawn on 31st March 2010, and the BSI has confirmed they are complying with that directive and will not be supporting changes to British Standards beyond March. The updating of Building Regulations to reflect this directive will not take place until 2013.