The construction and construction products sector is crucial for the European economy, representing approximately 10% of the EU GDP and providing 20 million jobs. Construction also represents a key component in the quality of life of citizens, as they spend a considerable amount of time in buildings and other built infrastructures.
Under the presence of natural and man-made hazards, citizens’ welfare depends on the performance of the structures that surround them. The availability of European advanced codes, the Eurocodes, a set of European standards for the design of buildings and other civil engineering works, is a starting condition for risk reduction and harmonisation in construction.
The Eurocodes play a key role in the European Commission's strategy to make European construction companies more competitive, both within the EU and on the global market. The JRC has contributed significantly in bringing the Eurocodes to their present stage and is now supporting their national implementation, harmonisation, international promotion and further development.
Implementation of the Eurocodes
The Eurocodes have reached the final stage of national implementation by the member states as they are now replacing all national standards, providing common technical rules for the design of buildings and other civil engineering works and construction products. Further, they are meant to lead to more uniform levels of safety in construction in Europe.
The JRC is providing IT support for the implementation of these standards.
Further harmonization of the Eurocodes
The Eurocodes are the result of a long procedure of bringing together and harmonizing the different design traditions in the member states. In the same time, the member states keep exclusive competence and responsibility for the levels of safety of works, while the national application of the Eurocodes requires some flexibility.
The JRC is engaged in the process of further harmonization of the Eurocodes.
Promotion of the Eurocodes outside EU-EFTA
There is a considerable interest in the use of the Eurocodes outside EU by countries:
- whose national standards are based on European national standards that will soon be withdrawn;
- who want to update their national standards based on technically advanced codes;
- who are interested in trading with the European Union and EFTA member states.
The JRC is pursuing the objective of promoting the Eurocodes, and therefore the EU construction sector, at an international level.
Further development of the Eurocodes
In 2010 and 2012, respectively, the Enterprise and Industry Directorate General of the European Commission issued the mandates M/466 EN and M/515 EN to CEN concerning the process of further evolution of the Structural Eurocodes aiming at the publication of the second generation of the Eurocodes.
The JRC is contributing to the development of the second generation of the Eurocodes.