Introduction to Eurocode 5

Date Published

10 August 2022

Document Type




The Eurocodes are a series of standards that establish common rules across the European Economic Area (EEA) for structural design using main construction materials such as concrete, steel, masonry, timber, aluminium and glass. Together with their National Annexes (NAs), where the national choice on a limited number of Nationally Determined Parameters (NDPs) may be declared, these standards allow a designer to prove compliance with the requirements of the European Construction Products Regulation, as well as the respective National Building Regulations.

BS EN 1995, more commonly known as Eurocode 5 or EC5, is the standard for structural timber design.

Considerable research from across member states has gone into developing these standards, and they are continually supported by a systematic review process every five years. National Standardisation Bodies (NSBs) are required to help in the review process by collating the information and user feedback from their relevant jurisdictions.

This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) is an overview of the subject with signposts to more detailed sources of information that are listed at the end. This outlines the major differences between Eurocode 5 and BS 5268-2 Structural use of timber [1], the British Standard for timber design that was withdrawn by the British Standards Institute (BSI) in 2010 to make way for EC5, and includes guidance on transitioning between the two.

Key Information

Eurocode 5 contains only the timber principles and essential application rules to realise them. Application rules are presented as design formulae eliminating the need for the material-specific tables that were presented in the BS 5268 family of standards.

Application rules are recognised rules or procedures that satisfy principles and are allowed to be replaced by alternatives if deemed necessary.

BS 5268 family of standards followed ‘permissible stress design’ whereas Eurocode 5 designs are ‘limit state designs’ with ultimate and serviceability limit states.

Case studies

The new building is the headquarters of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority, which covers an area of over 700 square miles to the north and west of Balloch.

The new Maritime Museum, completed in 2002, is set between the town centre and the large warehouses of the docks. Here it provides a focus for local identity and attracts the visitors on which the Cornish economy now depends.