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Use of European Standards in the Australian

Tunnelling Industry

E. S. Bernard

TSE P/L, Sydney

European Standards in Australia

What is required in a standard?
Conformance to a Quality System
Depends whether it is a material specification
or a testing standard,

Consistent products or outcomes is the main

Achievable products or outcomes is desirable.

European Standards in Australia

Why would anyone bother using
European standards in Australia?

Do they offer advantages over other

Are they cheaper to perform?
Do they offer lower variability?

Design Guides
European standards are referenced in design
guides such as 2010 Model Code
Model Code is not a legally binding document,
and is more a collection of ideas than a code.

The fib Model Code 2010 purports to be an

international guide to concrete design, but in
fact references only European standards
European standards differ markedly from
other standards for FRC, but not for plain
concrete so the present focus is on FRC

Problems with European Standards

European standards come with baggage!
Non-Europeans cannot be members of the
code committees

Committee membership is dictated by petty

nationalism, only European member countries
need apply
Contrast this to ASTM International where any
person from any country can be a member
Why would Australians use standards over
which they have no influence?

Problems with European Standards

Accreditation of Australian labs to EN standards
is expensive and problematic

Some FRC specifications are extremely

expensive to fully comply with
FRC standards are based on a standard
concrete using sand and aggregate imported
from France NO EXCEPTIONS!
Only a 250 L planetary concrete mixer is
permitted for defining performance of standard
concrete, no agitator trucks allowed!

Problems with European Standards

Plain concrete
Most European standards for plain concrete are
very similar to Australian and ASTM standards,
only a few unusual standards offer advantages
Why would an Australian lab bother to gain
accreditation for tests that are almost identical
and offer no advantages?
ASTM standards offer a level of specialisation
that provides for numerous properties missing
in Australian standards. The problem is finding
labs that can do the tests.

European Standards
Fibre Reinforced Concrete
EN14488 Part 3, Sawn shotcrete beam
EN14488 Part 5, Square panel
EN14561 notched beam
None of these standards offer precision
estimates on performance.

All are vaguely written with minimal

descriptions of the test machine requirements
and no references to provide supporting data.

European Standards
EN14488 Part 3 sawn shotcrete beam
75x125 mm sawn beam on 450 mm span
COV in residual strength >30% for 3 beams
What can you do with data displaying such
high variability?

This test has caused numerous problems on

projects around the world and should not be
used other than as a last resort when only
small amounts of concrete are available.

Effect of number of samples n


n 1.02

COVinf n 0.24

Correction Factor


Eqn. (7)
Eqn. (9)


n 1
n 0.75








Number of Specimens, n

Larger correction factor appears associated with non-Normal data

EN14488.3 Beam tests

EN14488.3 should only be used as a last resort

European Standards
EN14488 Part 5 Square panel test
600x600x100 mm sawn square panel
COV in residual strength of >12% for 3 panels

Expensive to cut, capture of rebound if no splayed

sides are used in mould
Base is seldom flat, so load-deflection record can have
multiple peaks
Mode of failure changes with toughness
Friction responsible for 40% of energy absorption and
no control of loading surface

EN14488 Part 5 Square Panel

Specimen results are obscured by high friction with base

EN 14488 panel test


Kvadratiske plater

Square panels


Last (kN)




No friction







Deformasjon (mm)

Research in Norway demonstrated that friction with supports

is responsible for about 40% of energy absorption

EN 14488 panel test

Non-flat base causes multiple peaks in curve producing

essentially useless results.

Q-chart Design of FRS linings

EN 14561 beam test

Central point load and notch lead to higher estimates of performance

than are achieved with ASTM C1609.

Problems with European Standards

EN14561 Beam test
MOR and residual strength are higher than for un-notched
Maximum permissible fibre length is 60 mm, as opposed to
50 mm in other beam tests.

Variability in performance is at least as high as for ASTM

C1609, population COV reported as ranging from 25-35% in
post-crack residual capacity in RILEM papers
This test method provides no guidance in respect of
supporting roller design and friction limitations and thus bias
is uncontrolled.

Crack width is directly measured or calculated as rigid body

rotation based on deflection measurements

EN 14561 beam test

Notch is supposed to overcome fibre alignment problems with

boundaries, but research results are contradictory on this issue.


Australian and ASTM Standards

Australian standards very similar for plain

There are no Australian standards for FRC

The main alternative to European FRC standards
are ASTM standards
ASTM C1609/C1609M and ASTM C1550
Several labs are already accredited for these
tests in Australia

New ASTM standards are under development

including 1200 mm diameter panel

ASTM C-1550 Panel tests

The focus of ASTM standards development is consistency of outcomes

and low cost so that numerous specimens can be tested. ASTM C1550 tests are more reliable and cheaper than EN14488 Square
panels or beams for shotcrete

Performance Testing
Quality control testing has been used in Australian mines
and tunnels for many years, this has yielded the following
design guide

ASTM C-1609 Beam tests

ASTM C-1609 tests involve no notch, no standard concrete,

cheaper to perform due to simpler test set-up

ASTM C-1609 support rollers

Friction in supporting rollers can lead to very high bias in residual

strength results, up to 200% over-estimate.

ASTM C-1609 support rollers

ASTM beam standards will soon be based on standard roller design

that eliminates inter-lab bias to produce more consistent data.

1200 mm round panel test

The large panels have a 50% larger diameter and support radius, and
thickness of 150 mm, thus area is 12 times larger than 150 mm beam and
mean performance correlates well with 150 mm thick beams.

Residual Strength Estimation

fb = PL/bd



2 rP
3d 2 R

Residual strength estimation in 1200 mm panels is based on yield line

(plastic) model of moment distribution at hinges and elastic distribution of
strain through the cross-section, which is very similar to the theory used for
Basis of residual strength estimation has passed rigorous scrutiny by
design engineers who like the fact that the same theoretical basis is used
for both types of specimen.
Population COV for residual strength in 1200 mm panels is 11%. This is
less than half the variability displayed in any beam test.

EN14561 and Crack Widths

EN14561 offers the sole advantage that
post-crack performance is assessed in
terms of crack width, but this can be
calculated from ASTM C1609 and panel
results when crack locations are
How are crack widths used in design?
Can be used in 2010 Model Code or in FEA

2010 Model Code

This is a guide, not a code. There is little continuity between
sections, and many parts are confusing and ambiguous.
This guide is a starting point for design, not the end point.
Designers are free to expand on the ideas contained in it which
is good because there is nothing new in this guide.
Ductility requirements for FRC are much lower than for
conventional reinforced concrete, more like L-grade mesh

Maximum allowable crack width is 2.5 mm, but how this is

achieved for a strain-softening material is not explained.
Creep and age-dependent changes in performance are not
considered, nor is seismic or concentrated point loading.

2010 Model Code

The Model Code intimates incorrectly that only fibres
that exhibit time-dependent changes in length under
load suffer creep in cracked FRC. This is patently wrong
because slip occurs at the boundary between fibre and
concrete and steel FRC exhibits very clear creep rupture
that is easy to measure and is documented in published
Performance at 28 days is assumed to hold at all other
ages. There is no account taken of very significant falls
in performance with age observed in steel FRC as
strength of concrete exceeds 50 MPa.


2010 Model Code takes no account of age-dependent changes in toughness. The

fall in toughness that occurs with aging of steel FRC is therefore not considered.

Permanent FRC Linings

2010 Model Code makes the revolutionary claim that flexural capacity is determined
using rectangular stress block for concrete in compression and varying stress
block for fibres in tension. Every other model of FRC behaviour makes the same
assumptions but permits any type of fibre and steel bars to be used.

Alternative methods of design

2010 Model Code has nothing to offer for hard-rock FRS lining design. Q-chart and
work by Barrett & McCreath (1995) offer far superior models of behaviour and
are proven. European standards have nothing to contribute for shotcrete.

European standards
Are the closed shop that is tightly guarded
Are more expensive than alternatives

Are not provided by most labs in Australia

Offer no advantages in terms of either accuracy or
Can be subject to high friction-induced bias due to lack
of control over support conditions
Offer the sole advantage of expressing FRC flexural
performance in terms of crack width