Target reliability of alternative fundamental combinations in Eurocode EN1990

Building constructions, buildings and structures

In Eurocode EN1990 action effects in persistent and transient design situations for ULS checks are derived according to three different alternative expressions for combinations of actions, to be chosen in the National Annex for use in a country. The three formulations, ([6.10], or [6.10a] and [6.10b], or [6.10a modified] and [6.10b]), which are substantially confirmed in the draft version of the new EN1990 (prEN1990:2019), are not completely equivalent in terms of structural reliability. In the present study, the reliability levels associated with each of them are compared in some relevant examples considering permanent and imposed loads for different buildings categories. In the analyses, the structural reliability indexes derived using level 2 and 3 methods are discussed considering the influences of different assumptions about statistical distributions and parameters of material resistances and action effects. The results of the sensitivity analyses confirm that the reliability level for ULS checks is also strongly dependent upon the statistical models adopted. The target reliability level recommended for use in EN 1990 (and in prEN1990:2019) is commonly reached using expression [6.10], while the adoption of expressions [6.10a] and [6.10b] can lead to lower values, especially when the coefficient of variation (COV) of the material resistance is high. Expressions [6.10a modified] and [6.10b] generally lead to very significant reductions of the reliability levels in all the investigated cases, especially when permanent loads dominate the structural design.