03 January 2018

6 key considerations for the planning stage of an agricultural building

There are many different aspects to consider during the planning stage of an agricultural building: obtaining planning permission, meeting the relevant standards and providing the best in animal welfare can all feel overwhelming.

To assist you with planning an agricultural building that meets and exceeds long-term expectations, here are six key considerations to review and discuss:

● Animal welfare: While the ethical aspects of improved animal welfare are certainly relevant, high standards in this area can also lead to increased productivity, yield and profit. Supermarkets are also increasingly putting pressure on suppliers to meet consumer demand. Therefore to maximise the profitability of your business and to protect the health of livestock, it’s important to consider how your building will be designed with animal welfare in mind at every stage of the planning process.

● Sustainability: Reducing carbon footprints, using renewable energy and preserving water supplies are just some of the things to think about when it comes to sustainability. Of course, this isn’t just about saving the Earth - environmentally friendly practices can save you money and make your products more attractive to buyers. Always ensure sustainability is addressed when making important choices relating to your design plans. 

● Layout and location: Try to take a whole-farm approach, thinking about how the new structure will work with your existing buildings and how it will fit alongside new expansions you may be planning in the future. The location of the building could have an effect on conditions inside: a windy hilltop, for example, will have different ventilation requirements than a sheltered valley. Orientating the building in the right direction will impact the amount of solar gain to which the roof is exposed. Where will your agricultural building be situated?

● Longevity: While many farm buildings have limited lifespans, due to changes in farming techniques, new requirements or increasing capacities, there’s no reason why the structures shouldn’t be able to last 50 years or more. With this in mind, try to plan your buildings with a degree of flexibility. For example, it might be better to construct a larger building than you need now so that your farming operation doesn’t outgrow it in five years. In addition, opting for higher quality products may mean a greater financial investment up front, but lower whole-life costs, as you won’t need to worry as much about maintenance and repairs. What elements have you considered that will increase the longevity of your building?

● CE Marking: In 2013 the Construction and Products Regulation (CPR) came into force. This requires all steel, concrete and timber building frames used in the UK to have CE Marking. Therefore, ensure that any materials specified have the appropriate ‘CE Mark’ stamp of approval.

● Roofing & Cladding: It might not seem relevant to a planning application but the roofing and cladding materials specified could also influence whether an agricultural building gets planning permission. Typically, a building that holds a matt finish is preferred by planners as they blend in with the countryside, particularly when it comes to agricultural buildings within National Parks. Ensure you choose a material that works with your surroundings.

The Marley Eternit range of roofing materials includes Farmscape, which is ideal for creating a more discreet building. Made from anthracite sheets, Farmscape has a pigmented surface layer that, together with the subtle variations in tone that are inherent in any natural cementitious product, helps it blend in with the landscape from the moment it’s installed.

There are many ways that Marley Eternit’s fibre cement profiled sheeting can improve farm buildings, boost animal welfare and increase productivity. Visit our Agriculture Hub or view our product range for more information.

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