Farm building bible is updated after 17 years

A long-awaited up-to-date version of the “agricultural building bible” the Farm Buildings Handbook will be launched at this year’s Agricultural Buildings Show at Myerscough College, Lancashire on 7 April.

Produced by the Rural and Industrial Design and Building Association (RIDBA), it was first published in 1961 and last updated back in 1992, so a lot has changed in the intervening years.

The 200-page book is aimed mainly at farmers doing their own building work. However, is also likely to be of interest to those who employ a contractor to put up the building, but want to have some input into the design of it

The new version of the handbook is likely to attract particular interest because it gathers together the latest rules and regulations on everything from slurry storage to fuel tanks to doing your own electrical wiring. It also provides a lot of detail on the size and type of everything from thicknesses of concrete to the ideal area for a cow cubicle.

Back in the 1960s, says RIDBA national secretary Tony Hutchinson, farm buildings attracted grants, so the quality of design and construction was closely controlled. Now there are no grants and farm buildings aren’t covered by building control regs, so there are no third-party checks any more.

Health and safety legislation has changed massively, too, not just in terms of what practices are allowed and not allowed, but also in the legal accountability of farmers. Back then, building contractors took responsibility for health and safety and farmers weren’t expected to be involved. Now farmers are partly responsible for the safe working of contractors they employ.

And green legislation, unheard of a few years ago, is now an important factor for farmer-builders, says Mr Hutchinson. Slurry storage, nitrates, chemical and fuel storage, for instance, all have a set of rules that have to be adhered too.

The latest version of the Farm Buildings Handbook – which runs to about 200 A5 pages – covers all these areas. It’s not intended to include every single aspect of farm buildings, says RIDBA, but is designed to be a guide to what needs to be considered.

It’s available, price £12, on 7 April direct from RIDBA or phone 01449 676 049 .Or you can get it through specialist agricultural book distributors like the Landsman’s Bookshop.

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