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Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

A potential client is asking us to use PN EN 1991-1-4:2008 for wind loads in a job in Poland. I'm in the U.S. but I have used Eurocodes before so I am familiar with them but I do have some questions. First off, the "PN" means it's published in Poland (feel free to correct me if that's not quite right). This seems like a dumb question but, just to be sure, is it written in Polish? If it is then I would want to buy BS EN 1991-1-4:2005 so I could read it. (Yes, I know the jokes about what do you call someone who only speaks one language.)

I looked this up on the SAI Global website and it says the two codes I mentioned here (PN and BS versions) are identical. This brings me to my second question. If they are identical, why is the PN version a 2008 edition and the BS version a 2005 edition?

I have the same question about EN 1991-1-3 (Snow loads). Looks line PN is 2005 and BS is 2003.

One more thing. I'm aware there are national annexes. Is it necessary to buy them for whichever country you're designing for or is there a trusted website where you can get the info?

RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

Some countries standards come with their national annex included, not a separate document like the UK's National Annexs.

Can't say this is the differences as don't know for sure, but the way Eurocodes work is each country is responsible for publishing any deviations to suit localised ways of doing thing. I'm only familiar with some of the UK NA's so can't comment further, but might be worth checking if this is the case for Poland.

RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

EN is the common standard for Europe (the minimum to be fulfilled). Then each country (Italy, UK, Poland, France, etc) must legally accept it, so it becomes UNI EN (Italy), BS EN (UK), PN EN (Poland). Sometime they are translated in national language, sometime no (at least for Italy). Furthermore any nation can add a "national Annexe" : any of the addendums MUST be more severe than the original EN, not lighter, other than adding some more specific details. In Italy the national Annexe is separate.
as regard to the different date that means : the EN date is the issue, the date of the country is the date of acceptance by the local government (but in the title there is a reference to the original issue)

RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

The EN 199x will always be published in all three official european languages: english, french and german.
The PN EN 199x standards will probably be available in both the official languages and a polish translation.
You will need to buy the polish national annexes though, most likely they are available in english however sometimes they don't bother to translate those.

As for your question about the dates: check what version the EN version of that standard has inside. They should be the same. The difference will be that the BS version was published in 2005, and in Poland it was only released in 2008. Mind, the "publishing" is in most cases only adding a national first page or two, and then annexing the entire and complete EN version.

RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

Yes EN ( Euro Codes) are availabe in englisch of course

The code itselve is the same for all countries that use it but each country can specify certain national parameters ( Annex)
for example load values...snow in Poland is different from snow in spain....

So you need the general Eurocodes ( I think there are 8 or 9 ) and the National Annex for the country you work for

RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

You can access the general english version of the Eurocodes here: Link.

For wind, snow and seismic actions, the following site is also quite helpful, as it shows all zones for each country on a google map: Link

RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer


I have worked with the Eurocodes more or less since they were first published and in a few different countries.
Regarding the two dates, The Eurocode for wind was approved 2005 and for snow 2003. It could be that Poland uses the publication year instead, I have seen both approaches.

All of the Eurocodes are published in English. Many of them, but not all, are translated into the different national languages. One example is the Eurocode for Earthquakes. Not all countries design for Earthquakes so Eurocode 8 is not always translated. But the EN 199X and XX-EN 199X should be the same. With some reservation for the NA.

Regarding the National Annexes it differs between the countries. The original idea, as I have had it described to me, was to keep the standard (the Eurocode) and the National Annex (NA) separate. You buy the standard once and than you can use it with any NA, simple enough. But some countries wanted the NA implemented into the standard. In those cases you have to buy the entire standard to get the NA.

I am a bit surprised by the link to the Eurocodes since they are copyrighted material. But I do know of contries that have bought the publication rights for the most used standards from their standards institute to publish more freely.

But I would be careful with the link to the Google map. I compared data to one of the Annexes I have and there were differences. My main concern is however something else.
We usually design a structure for a wind load, not a wind speed. Within the scope of the NA theare are possible variations in the calculation of wind load from wind speed. If wind load is a major load in thes case I would check that.

I have never seen a website that collects the different NA:s. And I don't have the polish version.

Good Luck


RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

Thanks everyone for the helpful info. I searched around a bit for the Polish National Annex with no luck. I got on the PKN website but once I got into the products area the site appeared to be Polish only. Anyone know where I can buy the Polish National Annex in English?

RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

I provided a link to the Eurocodes because they are the law of the land and are the result of public funded research. All of this should be free so I posted the link (not hosted it, however...). However, if the forum moderators find it in breach of forum policies, please remove my post.

Regarding wind speeds and pressures, I would just add that Clause 4.5 of EN1991-1-4 provides a direct calculation of peak dynamic pressure based on the average wind speed. This is calculated from the basic wind speed and additional terrain factors. As ThomasH mentioned, the National Annexes provide a lot of additional info for the calculation of wind loads, so the map, provided by Dlubal, should be used for reference only.

RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

I assume that your first paragraph was a comment on my statement. I will go a bit off topic here.
I don't know if you have worked with the Eurocodes in different countries and if you know how they are produced. The Eurocode by itself is usually not a law, it's a standard. The Eurocode together with the appropriate National Annex, that can be the law.
And not all the work is funded through "public funded research". Some of it is funded through the sales of the standard. I have this info from people working on some of committee's that write the Eurocodes. But I assume it can vary between different countries.
I would say that the Eurocodes are not secret, but neither are they for free smile. As for if they should be for free, that is a matter of opinion and I pass on that for now.

Back on-topic.

As for Clause 4.5, good example. There is a formula for calculation Peak velocity pressure from mean wind velocity. But there is also Note 1 that states that "The National Annex may give rules.....". That formulas based on assumptions that can vary based on other parameters. I would not be surprised if there is no changes in the polish NA for this formula, but I would not bet on it. At least not a lot smile.

Now assuming that you can't find the polish NA in english, I would go for the polish version. It is usually not a lot of text in the annexes and the formulas/parameters together with Google Translate may solve it. Ultimately it depends on how interrsting the project is for you.

Good Luck


RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

Regarding access to the Eurocodes, you're right. I think I was trying to somehow justify having access to the 100's of parts of the Eurocodes without paying... It really bothers me that a standard should be payed, especially in my country, where the translation is made by professionals (with no pay whatsoever) and then the Standards Commitee just sells it with no work involved.

And regarding Clause 4.5, you're right as well. My National Annex allows the use of this formulation but I'm not familiar with all other National Annexes. I stand corrected again.

RE: Help understanding Eurocodes for US Engineer

The standards institute in the country where I live also sells standards that they haven't written. Then they usually pay a fee to the organization that has written them. Are you certain that is not the case in your country smile?

Back on topic.

I would not be too worried about a NA in polish. But it also bepends on what type of a structure it is. A low-rise building with no concerns for dynamic wind effects, or a high-rise with dynamic wind effects. If you are familiar with the wind code in general the NA should not be an impossible thing to handle even if it is in polish. I would be more worried about other parts. It can't be only the wind and snow code that will effect the desing. How about steel and concrete?

I have not done work in Poland but in their neighbor Germany. Both wind loads and snow loads were fairly moderate in the northern parts except, perhaps, near the coast.

One thing that may be worth checking at an early stage. Does Poland have some kind of approval system? It may require a Polish engineer to aprove or check you design. But that is not really a "Eurocode question".


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