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European Commission >JRC >IPSC >ELSA

SAFECONSTRUCTION

Research in Support of Standardisation in Construction and Construction Products

The European Commission, by its Directorate General Enterprise (DG ENTR), puts priority on the development of the construction and construction products sector in Europe as envisaged by policies such as Internal Market Completion, Competitiveness, Sustainability, Safety of Citizens and Goods and Harmonization. These objectives are further supported by relevant Council Directives such as CD89/106/EEC, CD71/305/EEC and CD89/440/EEC.

An important tool for the application of the various directives for the construction and construction products sectors is represented by the Eurocodes programme. These standards provide structural design rules used for the design of structures (buildings and civil engineering works) and structural products. The Commission (DG ENTR) puts priority on the approval and implementation of the Eurocodes and on the need for a suitable maintenance and revision scheme, which should allow to incorporate innovation in the codes and to solve any issues resulting from their practical application. Furthermore, DG ENTR and CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) seek appropriate mechanisms to maintain and promote research in support of the Construction Standards as stated in the Commission Recommendation 2003/887/EC of 11 December 2003. This recommendation includes two important objectives highly relevant for the JRC, namely Harmonization and Innovation in the construction and construction products sector.

The harmonization activity is promoted by the DG ENTR with the JRC acting as the coordinator for bringing national regulations and specifications into a harmonized set of Eurocodes to be applied at Community level. The innovation activity aims at integrating the latest developments in scientific and technological knowledge in the construction and construction products sector into the Eurocodes, coordinated by the Commission, in cooperation with the JRC, at Community level. In addition the European construction industry is currently setting up a European Construction Technology Platform (ETPC) and has asked the JRC to participate in this initiative as a centre of excellence in structural engineering testing.

Summary of the Action

The SAFECONSTRUCTIUON action covers part of the research needs regarding standardisation in the construction and the construction products sector. Support to Harmonization of the European norms and to the development of design codes and/or guidelines for new construction materials (e.g. Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRPs) and Glass structures) are also considered. It addresses the following main topics:

  1. Pre-normative research needs in support of the Eurocodes, which will facilitate approval and provide scientific and technical background for the first code revision foreseen within the next 5 years,
  2. Pre-normative research in support of standards for new construction materials (e.g.: fibre reinforced composites) and retrofitting/repair techniques for existing vulnerable constructions,
  3. Research in support of the definition of performance-based criteria in buildings and standards, which will constitute the basis for the future performance-based design codes, in detriment of the present prescriptive approach.

These activities require both experimental and numerical research work to be performed at the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA) as well as a strong involvement of the European testing facilities and scientific / technical communities. The ELSA laboratory with its unique reaction-wall facility, the network of the European large-scale facilities for earthquake and dynamic testing as well as the scientific networks around ELSA constitute the appropriate platform to achieve the objectives.

Active Projects

  • EFAST
    Design study of a European facility for advanced seismic testing
  • EUROCODES 2008 - 1st Year
    The European norms establishing a set of common technical rules for the design of economical and safe buildings and civil engineering works.
  • FUTUREBRIDGE
    Applications of composite materials in the development of deployable modular structural elements.
  • IRIS
    Integrated European Industrial Risk Reduction System
  • PROMETEO
    Tests on prototype construction elements in composite material
  • SAFECAST
    Performance of Innovative Mechanical Connections in Precast Buildings Structures under Seismic Conditions
  • SERIES
    The project aims at bridging two gaps of RTD in experimental earthquake engineering and structural dynamics; between Europe and the US or Japan, and internally in the EU between European countries themselves.