One of our first investments at Smith and Wallwork is writing our own timber design ‘software’. Panayiotis, our Cambridge undergraduate engineer, is busy getting to grips with Eurocode 5 and just as important, designing an intuitive user interface. The Eurocodes appear to have been written with software programming in mind, everything is very rule based with formulae longer than some of the text clauses. In addition, the codes have been split in to a suite of modular documents, a nice idea but at the last count it was some 14 separate codes required to design a simple timber beam…..

Obviously our design codes need to move with the times but I feel that this approach means our new crop of Eurocode engineers will lose the skill of engineering intuition if they just become slaves to formulae.