The Eurocode system allows each nation to specify, for designs to be constructed on its territory, which of its three geotechnical “design approaches” are to be used and what values are to be given to partial factors. These are published in the National Annex to Eurocode 7 (EC7). This paper reviews the choices made by British engineers working under the auspices of BSI to produce the UK National Annex. The UK has chosen to use Design Approach 1, judging that it has the potential to provide the best balance between safety and economy over a wide range of design types, while allowing broad compatibility with previous designs. It also facilitates use of finite element analysis, a feature not shared with Design Approach 2. At this stage in development, values for the partial factors have been selected on the basis of calibration against past experience; probabilistic calculations have not been used to a significant extent in this process. Particular difficulties have been encountered in providing for pile design to EC7, for which the code gives separate requirements for design based on load testing and design based on calculation using ground properties. In practice in the UK, these are often used in combination, and it was found necessary to vary the factors offered for calculations by EC7 as a function of the amount and type of testing undertaken.
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