The introduction in Europe of harmonised standards for building provides a means of improving the competitiveness of structural wood products.
"The adoption of Eurocodes for structural wood products opens up opportunities for improving competition in Europe’s internal markets. Harmonised structural design standards will promote the competitiveness of the export-oriented wood product industry,” emphasises Jarmo Leskelä, director of standardisation in the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
"The new design standards are of immense importance to product exportation. It will not now be necessary to design a wooden structure separately for each target country because the same design standards will apply all over Europe. The Eurocode Parts also serve as supporting standards for European harmonised product standards."
The first Eurocode ‘package’ will be introduced in November 2007, when the main Eurocode Parts applying to the designing of house building have been translated and the National Annexes associated with them have been legislated as decrees. This will make the application of Eurocodes possible in structural design and there will be a temporarily parallel use of the Eurocodes alongside Finland’s national regulations. The intention is to withdraw national standards of similar content in 2010 and to apply only the Eurocodes thereafter.
Eurocodes comprise European standards applying to load-bearing structures. They cover assurance specification principles and various types of structural loads, including working loads and loads associated with snow and wind, heat, accidents and cranes. Specific, detailed design standards have been prepared for all building materials. The standards will be applied in different countries through National Annexes. In Finland, the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for preparing the National Annexes for Eurocodes applying to house building in Finland.
The introduction of harmonised European standards in the EU and EFTA areas will serve to strengthen the competitiveness of the export-oriented industry, promote the emergence of internal markets for construction products, develop the product service trade, facilitate structural design exportation, reduce structural design costs, and improve the safety of buildings for people. Moreover, the introduction of such standards will serve to supplement the current national design regulations and to reduce the problem of their being wrongly interpreted in practice.
The Finnish Forest Industries Federation is an organisation involved in European and international standardisation applying to pulp and paper products, wood products, wooden structures, furnishings and solid biofuels. Technical trade barriers are being dismantled in Europe’s internal markets through European standardisation applying to wood and building products.