What has been described as “an ingenious concept for housing
livestock” has won the CLA President’s Award for the
best new build in England and Wales.
CLA regional resident Charles Harle, left, presents the award for
best new build in England and Wales to John Allinson, centre, and Geoff Simpson.Designers of the Roundhouse, Geoffrey Simpson and John Allinson
received the prestigious national award from regional CLA president
Charles Harle at the farm of one of their clients, John Hodgson,
at Summerhouse, near Darlington, on Friday (January 18).
started using the building for finishing cattle in October 2006
and he is delighted with the health of his animals and their ease
of handling in the revolutionary building at Summerhouse Grange.
Roundhouse concept dates back to the Bronze Age, making full use
of natural air flows with its modern design and materials not only
optimising welfare but reducing operational costs as well as blending
into its surroundings.
The open-sided building is divided into segments,
each opening into a central handling pen area which can be adapted
to individual producer’s requirements.
And such is the interest
in the award-winning concept that three new installations have
been made in the last three months.
Roundhouse Building Solutions,
a separate company set up by steel framed buildings manufacturers
Simpson and Allinson in Barnard Castle, now has its 12th order
for the unique building – recent builds include one to house
suckler cows and calves in Dalrymple, Ayrshire and another for
organic pigs in Lambourn, Berkshire.
CLA Director North East and one of the judging panel, said: “All
the judges were extremely impressed with the Roundhouse and felt
that the National Award was clearly justified for this ingenious
concept for housing livestock, based on a design which actually
goes back to the bronze age.
“Its modern design and materials
have created a unique building, not only optimising animal welfare,
but significantly reducing operational costs. The roof is made
from tensile fabric of high strength and designed to blend into
“The design allows easier, safer handling, better air
flow therefore reduced veterinary bills, and initial results indicate an increased
weight gain so a reduced finishing time. I am sure that this design will become
a common site on UK farms and will also find other applications.
“It is precisely the kind of building that we hoped the
Awards would uncover; one that demonstrates a contribution to both
environment and economy, and is one that thoroughly deserves public
The award comes five years after the first prototype
building and Mr Simpson is delighted with the win. “A lot
of time and effort has gone into the design by myself, John Allinson,
others in the team and by the prototype owning farmers too,” he
“From the start we knew that round would be a winning
shape and we have persevered to bringing the concept to market,” he
John Hodgson finishes around 500 heifers a year, buying them
in as strong stores and finishing them over a three month period
at 18 to 20 months old on a total mixed ration and selling them
through Darlington market.
The Roundhouse will house up to 150 animals
based on 20 cattle weighing 450kg in each of the segment shaped
“When we first saw a Roundhouse my son Nick and I immediately
said this is the building we want. It is so easy for handling cattle
but the health benefits are probably the most important.
don’t have a vet’s bill now except for vaccination! “We
have no cases of pneumonia and the cattle are always content. They
are also cooler in the summer.
“Handling the animals is much
safer. We can feed the cattle in less than half an hour and we
can muck out the whole building in under five hours.”
Roundhouse, which is constructed in a standard size with a high
strength tensile fabric roof, is of comparable cost to a conventional
building but has the added benefit of the central handling area
which can be fitted with a weighbridge or crush or other extra
Roundhouse - An Innovation in Agricultural Buildings
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