The adoption of Structural Eurocodes championed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) in collaboration with the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering at Moi University will impact greatly the way engineering is practiced in Kenya. The United Kingdom has adopted Structural Eurocodes and consequently the British Standards (BS) became obsolete from March 2013. Before this the British Standards were widely applied in engineering training and practice in Kenya. The Structural Eurocodes with the UK National Annex were adopted as Kenya Standards through Gazette Notice (No. 13048, 14th September 2012). It is expected that by January 2021 the process of implementation of Structural Eurocodes will have been completed for their use in the construction industry. This implementation process involves the sensitization and training of the various stakeholders involved in their application.
The EN Eurocodes are a series of 10 European Standards, EN 1990 – EN 1999, providing a common approach for the design of buildings and other civil engineering works and construction products. “The Eurocode improves the functioning of the single market for products and engineering services where marketing and use of construction products, components and kits is facilitated through a single attestation of conformity, which will be valid in Kenya and other regional member states using them,” Mr Charles Ongwae, Kebs managing Director said in a past sensitization workshop.
The EN Eurocodes apply to structural design of buildings and other civil engineering works including: geotechnical aspects; structural fire design; situations including earthquakes, execution and temporary structures. For the design of special construction works (e.g. nuclear installations, dams, etc) other provisions than those in the EN Eurocodes might be necessary.
The EN Eurocodes cover the basis of structural design (EN 1990); actions on structures (EN 1991); the design of concrete (EN 1992), steel (EN 1993), composite steel and concrete (EN1994), timber (EN 1995), masonry (EN 1996) and aluminium (EN 1999) structures; together with geotechnical design (EN 1997); and the design, assessment and retrofitting of structures for earthquake resistance (EN 1998).
The benefits of adoption according to the European Commission for Enterprise and Industry include:
• EN Eurocodes will help to harmonize the services market in the construction sector.
• EN Eurocodes will encourage and facilitate the marketing and use of materials, structural components and kits.
• By instituting a common design framework, EN Eurocodes will enhance and be a common basis for research and development in civil engineering.
• Greater transparency in design methods will ease communication between designers, authorities and clients.
• Common design aids (manuals, handbooks, etc.) and software will be prepared and used.
• The competitiveness of the European civil engineering firms, contractors, designers and product manufacturers in their worldwide activities will be increased.
• EN Eurocodes will lead to a more uniform level of constructions safety in the different regions.
In a bid to ensure seamless implementation of these standards, Kebs in conjunction with Moi University have established a five-year operation plan that fast-tracks the introduction of Structural Eurocodes in Kenya. In January 2021, the process of implementation of Structural Eurocodes will have been completed and the use of Structural Eurocodes will be mandatory. According to Kebs, the Eurocodes once adopted are set to eliminate the disparities that hinder transfer of engineering technology/services within Kenya and global markets. Eurocodes consist of two parts, the general part, which is the same for all participating countries and the National Annex, which accommodates the local conditions of the country.
To ensure seamless implementation of these standards, two 3-day sensitization workshops have been organized by Kebs. The first workshop was successfully held in Mombasa in May 2016. The workshops are facilitated by experts from Belgium and the Netherlands.
Those targeted are: Technical personnel in Government ministries, Institutions of higher learning, Professional bodies, Control & certification bodies and Companies in the construction industry. The next 3-day workshop will held in Nairobi on 28th to 30th September 2016. More information is available online http://www.kebs.org.