British Standards Relevant to Agriculture

British Standard Summaries

BS5502: Part 22: 2003
Building and Structures for Agriculture.
Code of Practice for Design, Construction and Loading

The text herein is not a a full reproduction of the British Standard. It is summary based upon interpretation of the original text and not intended as a replacement for the full text. It should be used for general guidance only.

BS5502 is sub-divided into a number of individual standards. These can be broadly broken down as follows:

  • Part 0: Introduction
  • Parts 10 - 19: Reference information
  • Parts 20 - 39: General designs
  • Parts 40 - 59: Livestock buildings
  • Parts 60 - 79: Crop buildings
  • Parts 80 - 99: Ancillary buildings

BS5502 Part 22 provides detailed recommendations for the design and construction  of agricultural buildings. You will need to consult other parts of BS5502 and other Standards  to obtain the recommendations for site preparation (BS5930) and design and construction of foundations (BS8110:1 & BS8004).

Works below ground

  • All below ground structures (e.g. ducts, tanks, hoppers and any liquid-holding container) must be built to withstand external pressures including groundwaters, nearby foundations and other loadings. They should be constructed such that groundwater is protected against potential pollution form any leakage of the contained substance.
  • Below ground structures must be resistant to attack by substances such as silage effluent and manures.

Protection of floors

  • Floors should be protected against moisture seepage upwards from bare ground to the upper surface of the floor. Moisture barriers are required for livestock bedded on absorbant materials, crop production, storage of fodder crops, storage of farm wastes and storage of implements.
  • The standard provides special rules for timber floors and concrete floors subject to attack by organic acids.

Protection of walls, piers and columns

  • All constructions should be designed and constructed to prevent the transmission of moisture to any material which may adversely affected by it.
  • Damp-proofing may be necessary.

Protection of roofs

  • Roofs should not be fragile
  • Roofs should be weatherproof
  • Roof ventilators/opening may be required to provide fresh air. Precautions may be required to prevent such vents causing corrosion of surrounding materials.

Design classification

  • Design of the agricultural building will be in accordance with one of four classes which depend upon the extent of normal human occupancy.
  • Design must take account of human occupancy, building location and design life.


  • The building design must take due account of potential building loadings. The full standard provides details of  loadings: dead and imposed loads, loads from stored materials, service loads, impact loads etc.
  • Floors of livestock buildings must be capable of retaining the imposed livestock load. Slatted floors should be made in accordance with BS5502:51.
  • Wall loads should be calculated using recognised earth pressure theories.
  • Walls of slurry storage tanks and reception pits - loads should be determined in accordance with BS5502:50.

Structural design

  • Design should conform to the relevant British Standard covering the structural materials being used.
  • The full Standard provides recommendations on the structural use of timber, steelwork, concrete and masonry.


  • Greenhouses should be designed in accordance with BS EN 13031-1
  • Slurry tanks and reception pits should conform to BS5502:50
  • Silo towers should conform to BS5061
  • Additional information on livestock buildings is given in BS5502 parts 40 to 43 and part 49.
  • Crop production buildings should conform to BS5502:60
  • Cattle grids should conform to BS4008

A British Standard nor this summary does not, necessarily, include all the necessary information for correct implementation of the Standard to any specific application. This is purely the responsibility of the user. Standards are updated by either amendment or revision. Users should ensure that they are using the latest version.

The full text of this Standard can be obtained from the British Standard Institution

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