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Load tables for steel-framed agricultural and industrial buildings are being updated by RIDBA.

Steel frame manufacturers and contractors who are members of RIDBA (the Rural and Industrial Design and Building Association) are to get help safely designing their agricultural buildings to new Eurocode standards without having to resort to the use of expensive software.

The original load tables written by Mel Fearn almost 30 years ago had never been reviewed or amended until RIDBA tasked consultant Dr Martin Heywood, former associate director at the Steel Construction Institute, with updating them in line with the imminent new BS 5502-22 and latest Eurocode standards as part of CE Marking which becomes compulsory next July.

The Fearn tables were nominally written using BS 449 for the steelwork design and CP3 Chapter V for the loading, with load reductions to the old BS 5502-22. But BS 449 was replaced by BS 5950-1 in 1985 and this was itself replaced in 2010 by Eurocode 3. Similarly, BS 6399 (snow and wind loading) has been around since the 1990s and has been replaced by Eurocode 1.

The new load tables demand a more rigorous design procedure, accounting for aspects of frame behaviour ignored by BS 449. The snow and wind loads are also higher due to Eurocode values being higher than CP3 Chapter V and the new BS 5502-22 makes less generous reductions for agricultural buildings.

Dr Heywood said: “While adequate for the design of simple beams and columns, BS 449 lacked some of the checks required for portal frame design, especially in regard to member and frame buckling.  A quick look through the old load tables reveals significant gaps in the design of portal frames.  This isn't a criticism of Fearn but emphasises the need to update the tables.

“The new load tables will enable all manufacturers to carry out Eurocode-compliant design of agricultural buildings to class 2 of BS 5502 part 22, without the use of expensive software and this will enable them to declare the structural performance of the frames on their CE Marks.”

In addition to the load tables, RIDBA members are being helped with fabrication procedures for their steel framed buildings to BS EN 1090 through a link-up with BM TRADA, the independent timber research, consultancy, testing and information provider and notified body for the UK construction industry, which has produced a generic factory production control manual that can be purchased by RIDBA corporate members.

RIDBA members supply over 65% of the UK agricultural market and over 15%% of the total single-storey steel-framed market. They erect more than 6,000 agricultural and industrial buildings a year and supply an area of over 4million²m of steel-framed agricultural and industrial buildings.


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