Codes of practice: burden or inspiration?

Prof.dr.ir. Joost Walraven, Delft, The Netherlands

Joost Walraven is emeritus professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.  In 2000-2002 he was president of fib and as chairman of the respective groups he was responsible for writing Eurocode 2 “Concrete Structures” and the fib Model Code 2010. Of his many research activities, those in the field of shear are probably most known. He received several awards among which the fib Freyssinet Medal.

Building codes are a necessity. The first codes were simple, easy to apply for designers and offered residual capacity for a low price. Meanwhile codes are significantly more complicated.  This is partly due to the development of more scientific background knowledge and partly to the upcoming significance of regulations in society.  National codes disappear and are replaced by continental codes like the Eurocodes, the ACI Code and the Asian Code, with some space for local exceptions, to be negotiated. On the one hand a nostalgic desire develops to go back to more simple and transparent codes, but on the other hand there is a need for more advanced models, in order to deal with the existing infrastructure in an economic way. There is as well a remarkable development of high performance materials, improved calculation and measuring techniques, which ask for modernized codes. Finally new targets are formulated, like life cycle design and sustainable solutions. The development of  user-friendly, future-oriented and innovation-stimulating codes is a large challenge.