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Since the last edition of Reynolds’s Handbook, considerable developments in design and practice have occurred. These include significant revisions to British standard specifications and codes of practice, and the introduction of the Eurocodes. Although current British codes are due to be withdrawn from 2008 onwards, their use is likely to continue beyond that date at least in some English-speaking countries outside the United Kingdom. One of the most significant changes has been in the system for classifying exposure conditions, and selecting concrete strength and cover requirements for durability.

This is now dealt with exclusively in BS 8500, which takes into account the particular cement/combination type. The notation used to define concrete strength gives the cylinder strength as well as the cube strength. For structural design, cube strength is used in the British codes and cylinder strength in the Eurocodes. The characteristic yield strength of reinforcement has been increased to 500 N/mm2 (MPa). As a result, new design aids have become necessary, and the Handbook includes tables and charts for beams and columns (rectangular and circular) designed to both British and European codes. Throughout the Handbook, stress units are given as N/mm2 for British codes and MPa for European codes.

The decimal point is shown by a full stop (rather than a comma) in both cases. The basic layout of the Handbook is similar to the previous edition, but the contents have been arranged in four separate parts for the convenience of the reader. Also, the opportunity has been taken to omit a large amount of material that was no longer relevant, and to revise the entire text to reflect modern design and construction practice. Part 1 is descriptive in form and covers design requirements, loads, materials, structural  analysis, member design and forms of construction. Frequent reference is made in Part 1 to the tables that are found in the rest of the Handbook. Although specific notes are attached to these tables in Parts 2, 3 and 4, much of the relevant text is embodied in Part 1, and the first part of the Handbook should always be consulted.

Part 2 has more detailed information on loads, material properties and analysis in the form of tabulated data and charts for a large range of structural forms. This material is largely independent of any specific code of practice. Parts 3 and 4 cover the design of members according to the requirements of the British and European codes respectively. For each code, the same topics are covered in the same sequence so that the reader can move easily from one code to the other. Each topic is illustrated by extensive numerical examples. In the Eurocodes, some parameters are given recommended values with the option of a national choice. Choices also exist with regard to certain classes, methods and procedures.

The decisions made by each country are given in a national annex. Part 4 of the Handbook already incorporates the values given in the UK national annex. Further information concerning the use of Eurocode 2 is given in PD 6687: Background paper to the UK National Annex to BS EN 1992–1–1. The Handbook has been an invaluable source of reference for reinforced concrete engineers for over 70 years. I made extensive use of the sixth edition at the start of my professional career 50 years ago. This edition contains old and new information, derived by many people, and obtained from many sources past and present. Although the selection inevitably reflects the personal experience of the authors, the information has been well tried and tested.

I owe a considerable debt ofgratitude to colleagues and mentors from whom I have learnt much over the years, and to the following organisations for permission to include data for which they hold the copyright: British Cement Association British Standards Institution Cabinet Office of Public Sector Information Construction Industry Research and Information Association Portland Cement Association The Concrete Bridge Development Group The Concrete Society Finally, my sincere thanks go to Katy Low and all the staff at Taylor & Francis Group, and especially to my dear wife Joan without whose unstinting support this edition would never have been completed. Tony Threlfall Marlow, October 2006.