Engineers dealing with historic structures frequently have to adapt standards created for those designing new structures. In Britain the timber design code was changed in 1984 in such a way that the behavior of historic buildings has, since then, to be justified in terms of an obsolete code of practice, especially when dealing with oak, which was removed from the recognized species. Although there has recently been a modification of the new code to reinstate oak, the material used in a group of significant historic buildings, the position is still far from satisfactory. This paper outlines the changes in the code and offers some pointers towards the form that a code for historic timber structure might take in Britain.
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