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Terminology in European Codes

Some of the terms in European Standards differ from those used previously in British Standards. The more important ones are defined below, taken from an article in The Structural Engineer, 15th November 2005.

Actions are applied to structures and include direct actions (forces) as well as indirect actions (thermal movements, shrinkage, differential settlement). They can be fixed or free and permanent (e.g. dead loads), variable (e.g. imposed load) or accidental (e.g. impact).

Application rules (clauses not marked P) show how to satisfy the Principles (clauses marked P) which must be achieved.

Capacity is used to identify the ability to conform to a serviceability limit state.

Conformity is compliance with standards.

Derogation. Exception or waver from a standard.

Directive. An instruction which National governments must legislate to enforce.

Execution. Carrying out or completing a piece of work.

Informative. Not a requirement, unlike Normative which means having the force of a Standard. (EN stands for Euro Norm, i.e. European Standard).

National Annex. The document containing Nationally Determined Parameters (NPD), which are values left open in a Eurocode for use in the country concerned. This is an essential supplement without which the Eurocode can not be used.

Non-contradictory complementary evidence (NCCI). Additional information and guidance that can be referred to in a National Annex.

Quasi-permanent actions are those that will be applied for more than 50% of the design life.

Transient actions are applied for a period that is much shorter than the design life, e.g. during construction or repair.

Acknowledgement: Structural Engineer