European Concrete Societies Network



Project partners

Deutscher Beton- und Bautechniek Verein E.V. - Betonvereniging - Suomen Betoniyhdistry RY - Abacus Computer GMBH - Technische Universität München - DPT Architettura E Urbanistica per L'ingegneria - Politechnico di Torino - UAB matrix software baltic - Vilniaus Gedimino technikos universitetas - Matrix software bv - Technische Universiteit Delft - Glasgow Caledonian university



EuroCADcrete is an interactive design exercise in structural engineering with reinforced concrete. The level of this exercise aims to reflect the abilities a student should have at the end of a bachelor course in civil or structural engineering. The exercise addresses the design process, the structural integrity of the design and the economy. As an interactive Computer Aided Learning tool, euroCADcrete can be used as courseware on an institute network and individually at home. It will be a sufficient self-explaining program using tutors on several levels, to guarantee a minimum of staff attendance and a maximum of learning effect. euroCADcrete is a further development, based on 10 years experience with a total of over 1500 students from a CAD-exercise for undergraduate students in structural concrete at the Delft University of Technology in the nineties. After 3 years of experience with the euroCADcrete exercise in The Netherlands -this year another 110 students participated in the euroCadcrete project- we will start with the dissemination of euroCADcrete in Europe. Also a lot of improvements and desires are formulated during the last 3 years. A consortium for the Leonardo da Vinci programme, with Universities from Scotland, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and The Netherlands, as well as the ECSN (European Concrete Societies Network), can give the euroCADcrete exercise a big push forwards to a wider range of applications and users.

Students in Civil engineering should not only have theoretical knowledge, they also need practice in designing and detailing components of concrete structure to enhance their work experience. EuroCadcrete is especially designed to fulfil these goals; therefore it has been part of the curriculum for the education of civil engineers at the Delft University of Technology for a long time.

To reduce the costs and time of university education staff, an AutoCAD based computer program was developed in the late eighties. This CAD exercise was developed in order to support students in dimensioning, analysing and detailing concrete structures, after the introductory lecture in designing and constructing concrete in their third academic year. During 10 years more than 1500 students used these exercises for training. Although the exercise was quite successful in the beginning, the success decreased in time because equipment and software went out of date, as well as the didactic unwanted situations, this was reason to improve the program.

In 1999 Matrix Software BV, supplier of MatrixFrame©, a commercial software tool for structural analysis and the design of concrete, steel and timber structures, which already has been used for the structural analysis education at the university, was invited to develop a complete new exercise. In cooperation with the educational staff of the department of Civil Engineering and an educational technologist of the Educational Development Unit of the university, Matrix Software developed a new exercise, called euroCADcrete, as an extension on MatrixFrame. In March 2000 the first group of 110 students from the Delft University performed their exercise with euroCADcrete successfully. Now, three years later, roughly 400 students worked with euroCADcrete, accompanied this year, after a trial previous year, with 40 students from the Polytechnics of Utrecht.


Scope and objective

Primary goal of the euroCADcrete program was to reduce the educational staff resources and to manage a practical concrete exercise with a large amount of students. Unforeseen was the positive influence of secondary effects:

  • Teachers are exempt from the boring look over activities, and focus more on the lectures (this was considered as one of the most important reasons for the polytechnics to make a start with euroCADcrete)
  • Impact on the skills of students, because isolated subjects are combined and integrated to one begin-to-end practical overall exercise. This is the really preparation on the engineering practice.
  • To give a clear insight in the mechanism of designing structures, by introducing parameter studies in euroCADcrete.
  • Impact on the curriculum, by introducing new (practical) issues, like detailing of reinforcement and the economics of the design.
  • Impact on the curriculum, by analysing results of the log-file. For example, the steps 13-17 are consulted more than average, so the teachers decided to pay more attention to these subjects during the lectures.



Before starting the software development of the new euroCADcrete exercise in 1999, first objectives, also been based on the experiences with the old CAD-Concrete exercise where formulated. The objectives are (Galjaard, Vos & Kunst 2000):

  • Students should design a concrete beam according to the relevant codes. This design should be checked and corrected without human interference.
  • The design should leave some "engineering judgement" to the student. More specific: checks, which could have been included to prevent uneconomic designs, should be avoided as much as possible.
  • The judgement on the economy of the design compared to other possible designs should be left to the student by showing him a cost comparison of some alternatives.
  • Giving the student the possibility to get context-related help, varying from a hint to the correct answer should prevent solving the exercise by trial and error. Asking too much help should however be discouraged.
  • At the start of the exercise the students should determine the correct sequence of the steps of the design process.
  • Students should size the structure by global rules of thumb before doing any detailed calculations.
  • The student will only be allowed to proceed to the next step of the design process when the current step is fully correct. In this way it will be immediately clear where errors are made, and misleading error messages which are the result of the subsequent stacking of errors in a number of steps can be avoided.

These objectives have led to a schedule comprising all the necessary steps of the exercise.
In this schedule a differentiation is made between:

  1. the task to be done
  2. the product of this task
  3. the required activity of the student for this task
  4. the required activity of the computer for this task
  5. learning objective of this task
  A Task B Product C Students activity D Computer activity E Learning objective
1 Fixing a static scheme, from a drawing with a tunnel-roof or a continuous beam in a prefab building Static scheme with sizes and loads and other design parameters. Making sketches, static scheme, loading scheme with EC 1 and common sense, and exposure class. Only administrative generating of a unique set of design parameters. Training the relation in between the constructed world and a structural scheme for analysis.
2 Selection geometry of structural concrete and final static scheme. Shape (including possible haunches) and depth, width, cover and concrete quality of the cross section. Simple trial & error hand analysis, for moment and shear capacity of cross section. Prepare input. Fixes data from student.
Analyses and shows range of valid parameters. Depth for min. and max. z.
To analyse by hand shape, sizes and concrete specifications from a beam type concrete member.
3 Analysis from ruling external and internal forces Ruling bending moment and shear diagrams Analysis by Frame program on PC Automatic analysis and showing results to student for comparison. Understanding from force-distribution in a structure. Using a frame program in practice.
4 Check ruling cross sections on moment and shear for check on SLS and ULS Reinforcement % longitudinal reinforcement and stirrups in ruling cross sections Analyses with intermediate steps (depth compression zone etc.) the reinforcement. Checks for crack-width. Analyses and shows intermediate steps after student has provided his intermediate data. Getting acquainted step by step with the complete process of analysing a cross section and the influence of the relevant parameters.
5 Designing a practical and economic reinforcement Full drawing of a rational reinforcement as far as structurally required Input of reinforcement cover diagram, choice of diameters, basic reinforcement and secondary bars. Automatic analysing and showing of reinforcement cover diagram, commenting students.
Analysing students diagram on consequences. Just the same for stirrups, c.t.c. distances of bars and diameters.
Exercising steps required to arrive at a rational reinforcement from a cross section analysis only.
6 Find reinforcement details Complete reinforcement drawing Indicate all other required reinforcement Check per component being used as input and comment deviations from rules with consequences.
Generate and comment answers on some interactive questions on detailing.
Getting a complete picture of detailing reinforcement.
7 Cost estimate Estimate, being build up from unit prices. Estimate unit costs per cum of concrete for the whole structure. (Concrete, casting and reinforced) Use these quantities as input and give the present the price. Analyse and show the exact price of the structure after the student has given his figures. Obtaining an idea on the cost structure of a concrete construction.
8 Parameter-study Influence of important design parameters on the costs of a concrete construction What is the price difference for a 50% higher loading, or when paint is being used, that bridges cracks. Analyses and shows these answers exact after student has presented his estimates. Presents a way of improved guessing, when required. Obtaining an idea of the influence of different parameters on the costs of a concrete structure



The second part of the exercise, the concrete part, should be performed with the euroCADcrete-wizard on the computer network environment of the University. All computer entries of the student are logged in a central database. Thanks to this central database we can control the following points:

  • After closing the program students can continue the next time with the same step
  • Counting penalties for each student. In this way a list of marks for all students can be generated.
  • Get detailed information about students activities
  • Guard against manipulations of results !

Because all data is stored in one central database, it is easy to generate statistics and other information (Galjaard, Vos & Weener 2000), for example:

  • The average of using the assist for each level for each wizard step (see Figure 7)
  • The average and maximum of attempts of data entry for each cell in a wizard step.
  • Results of the students questionare from step 24
  • Student opinions related to the exercise and program from the memo field in step 24.
  • Average and maximum duration of the exercise
  • Snapshot about the progress of the exercise.


Product - EuroCADcrete (EC2learn)

Easy to learn concrete training and examination

ECC Slideshow
EuroCADcrete slideshow (powerpoint)
Using euroCADcrete, a generally applicable self-study package for the PC (CAL: Computer Aided Learning), this need for training can be satisfied without any extra burden on teaching staff. The programme has learning material and exercises for practising civil and construction engineers at Bachelors level but is also suitable for universities.

The basis is an examination programme developed by the current partners and which is used at the Technical University of Delft. EuroCADcrete is no longer a specific examination programme but has been developed as a self-study package where the student is led through the design process for a simple concrete construction step by step with emphasis on the design process, constructive elements of EC2 and economic aspects.

The new training course has been tried out by the partners. The material has been adjusted to the language and specific requirements per country were laid down in the National Application Documents under EC2. The concrete associations will be providing the written material in the form of a study manual, geared to the steps to be taken within the programme.

The software programme is developed by participants as result of Leonardo da Vinci under suspicion of the ECSN. They were supplied with the up-to-date versions of software packages regularly for evaluation, testing and investigating purposes. In that way they delivered intermediate versions of the main software product - "MatrixFrame/euroCadcrete". All these versions support the multilingual user interface, translated by the contractor and/or other participants of the Project. According to a treaty the main product "MatrixFrame/euroCadcrete" is supported by flexible projects, flexible steps, validation rules, switch off/on wizard steps, multiple choice, prototype and connection of the dynamic assist and others. "MatrixFrame/euroCADcrete" meets the requirements of the NEN6702, NEN6720 plus the EC1 and EC2 by taking into account related National Annexes. In the main product the following functionalities are also available: calculating/checking concrete slabs, concrete ribs, concrete columns, concrete deflections etc.

In relation to the main product "MatrixFrame/euroCADcrete" an independent software application "Teacher Tool" has been developed and disseminated. The special in-house developed Learning Management System (LMS) can be used for managing specific teachers? activities such as accounting and evaluating students? activity it is supported by the report system. This will result in an attractive tool for the members of the target groups. Because of the interaction with the contract partners there is a direct link to the labour market. The various design practices in the participating countries were incorporated into one system.

EuroCADcrete presentation (ZIP-download)

Study books EuroCADcrete:

PDF English version
PDF Dutch version
PDF German version
PDF Italian version
PDF Czech version