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This paper advocates a holistic perception of the structural design process. By shortly reflecting the design process, it aims to identify common characteristics of ‘good’ structural design: A common postulate is always the definition of, or the agreement upon, specific structural requirements that conform to the intended function and life-time of the structure - performance criteria. Then, what are suitable engineering tools, tools that support the development of a qualified design? At this point, the paper attempts to contribute to some demystification of reliability based design. Not least by practical geotechnical case studies, reliability based design is motivated as an engineering tool which adds value to engineering decision making and finally helps to contribute to a ‘good’ - performance based - structural design. Finally, what is to say about the normative background? Are the Eurocode concept and the notion of performance based design extremes? To shed some light on these relevant, practically motivated questions, the EN 1990 is critically reviewed and discussed. 

ISGSR 2011 - Vogt, Schuppener, Straub & Bräu (eds) - © 2011 Bundesanstalt für Wasserbau
SOFiSTiK AG, Germany
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