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AD 502: Design to BS 5950 and other standards

The Advisory Desk is regularly asked whether it is acceptable to carry out structural designs to standards other than the Eurocodes. This note draws attention to the statement in Approved Document A of the Building Regulations 2010, Structure, regarding the use of the guidance it contains.

Page 3 of Approved Document A, headed Use of Guidance states in the second paragraph that the document lists “all the documents that have been approved by the Secretary of State” for the purpose of providing practical guidance with respect to the requirements of the Building Regulations 2010 for England and Wales. The list includes Eurocodes BS EN 1090-2, BS EN 1990, BS EN 1991-1, BS EN 1993-1 and BS EN 1994-1 amongst others for the design of steel and composite steel and concrete buildings. The Eurocodes listed contain the most up to date and coherent published guidance available for the design of steel structures.

The third paragraph states that there may well be alternative ways of achieving compliance with the requirements and continues “Thus there is no obligation to adopt any particular solution contained in an Approved Document if you prefer to meet the relevant requirement in some other way.”

It is therefore acceptable to use alternative standards to Eurocodes for structural design as long as the requirements of the Building Regulations are met. The Approved Document also includes the possibility of using withdrawn standards to demonstrate compliance, within the subsequent guidance under the heading ‘British Standards’: “There may be alternative ways of achieving compliance with the requirements and there might be cases when it can be demonstrated that the use of withdrawn standards no longer maintained by the British Standards Institution continues to meet Part A requirements.”

Designers should however bear in mind that alternative or withdrawn standards such as BS 5950-1:2000 have not been updated with the most recent developments in the design of steel structures. In addition, there may be contractual requirements to use a particular set of standards for design.

Contact: Richard Henderson
Telephone: 01344 636555

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