British Standards Relevant to Agriculture

British Standard Summaries

BS5502: Part 23: 2004
Building and Structures for Agriculture.
Code of Practice for Fire Precautions

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 23 provides recommendations for fire precautions for single storey agricultural or horticultural buildings and structures not covered by building regulations. 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).


The risk of fire and the provision of escape routes should be assessed during the early stages of building design. The issues which need to be considered include:

  • General building design including the materials used for construction
  • The purpose and intended contents of the building particularly if highly combustible materials are to be stored such as hay or straw
  • Arson risks.

General precautions

  • Clear access should be provided for fire fighting vehicles and equipment
  • Access to water sources and hydrants should be available
  • The name of the farm should be clearly visible from the public road access
  • Emergency escape routes for housed livestock hould be available
  • Adequate emergency lighting should be used to illuminate escape routes in the event of a mains power supply failure
  • Smoke venting should be provided in a large farm buildings in accordance with BS5502:52
  • All electrical installations should be carried out in accordance with BS5502:25 and BS7671
  • All gas fired heating installations should be carried out in accordance with BS5502:25.
  • High risk areas should display a safety warning notice.

Structural protection

  • The fire performance of all intended building materials and components should be determined. Detailed information is provided in the full standard
  • Detailed specifications of building requirements is given in the full standard. Including that for walls, cladding, roofs, cavities, fie stopping and internal surfaces

Livestock and special purpose buildings

  • Detailed specifications for buildings intended for livestock housing is given in the full standard
  • Buildings used to store hay and straw should be at least 6m apart from other buildings or boundaries. Other special specifications may also apply - see full standard
  • Special purpose buildings especially those used to store flammable material other than hay and straw also have special specifications - see full standard
  • All working areas in agricultural buildings must have adequate escape routes and exits in suitable positions and sufficient in number to enable occupants to reach safety in the event of a fire
  • Intensive livestock buildings should have suitable fire detection equipment installed

Fire detection and extinguishing systems

  • The selection and use of fire detection and extinguishing systems should be in accordance with BS5306-0.
  • Fire blankets may be useful in confined spaces
  • Portable fire extinguishers conforming to BS EN 1869 should be installed and maintained according to BS5306-3
  • Extinguisher type, fire rating and size should be selected according to the likely hazard
  • If mains water of suitable pressure is available hose reel equipment should be considered
  • Consideration should be given to the potential benefits of automatic fire suppression systems such as water sprinklers
  • Where mains water supply is inadequate and suitable natural sources of water not available consideration should be given to static water tanks.

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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