British Standards Relevant to Agriculture

British Standard Summaries

BS5502: Part 32: 1990
Building and Structures for Agriculture.
The Attenuation of Noise.

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

This part of BS5502 identifies those operations which occur commonly in agricultural and horticultural buildings and structures that may give rise to noise and pollution. It also advises on mitigation measures which, if implemented at the design and construction stage, can reduce noise and pollution significantly.


  • Exposure to high noise levels can cause noise induced deafness.
  • Employees should not be exposed to daily noise levels over 90 dB over an 8 hr period.
  • The unprotected ear should never be exposed to noise levels over 135 dB.
  • Ear protection can offer an interim solution until a more premanent answer is found.
  • Ear plugs and ear muffs may reduce noise by around 5 - 20 dB depending on type used but this level of reduction can not be guaranteed.
  • Noise at Work Regulations must be complied with. These regulations require noise assessments to be carried out and abatement measures taken if  needed.
  • Noise can generate problems with neighbours.
  • Unacceptable noise levels can come from a variety of equipment and plant. These include crop dryers, ventilation plant, seed cleaning activities, crushing and milling.
  • Sound can be transmitted as vibrations via internal structures and fittings.

Livestock and noise

  • Sudden loud noises can be stressful to livestock and this can reduce productivity levels.
  • Noisy equipment should not be situated close to livestock or near where they walk in file.
  • Livestock themselves can cause unacceptable noise levels at feeding times for example.

Controlling noise

  • The most effective means of controlling noise is at source.
  • Noise  levels reduce as distance from source increases. For general guidance only this can be assumed to be in the order of  a 6 dB reduction per doubling of distance.
  • Existing buildings and landscape / natural features will help reduce noise levels.
  • Inlet and outlet ducts and doorways should be fitted with sound attenuators.
  • Noisy equipment should, where ever possible, be sited away from external walls and out of direct line with doors and windows.
  • Noisy machinery should be covered, as practicable, with dense sheet material with a sound absorbent lining.

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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