RWB Consulting Engineers stays up-to-speed on all changes to building design and construction codes, which is one reason why we have been trusted to consult on and design thousands of building projects in the North Texas area.
The latest edition of the ICC/NSSA 500 Standard and the latest edition of FEMA P-361 criteria and guidelines for Tornado Shelters. require that the design of some public facilities include a community storm shelter.
We take our role as engineers very seriously, which means public safety is our priority. Storm shelters require a mission-critical mindset: should you ever need to use the shelter in the case of a natural disaster, it needs to work.
Storm Shelter Design Requirements
The International Construction Code (ICC) lays out the minimum design requirements for storm shelters. Storm shelters are intended to provide a safe refuge from weather events that produce high winds, like tornadoes. In addition to a wind-resistant structural system, there are requirements for basic occupant life safety. Storm shelters must include a means of egress, lighting, sanitation, ventilation, fire safety, and floor space.
The latest editions of the International Building Code (IBC) requires new buildings with certain uses or occupancies and geographic locations to be built with a storm shelter. A majority of the Dallas and North Texas area falls into the the area of the United States where wind speeds could reach 250 mph. As such, the following structures must include a storm shelter:
- 911 call stations
- Emergency operations centers
- Fire, rescue, and ambulance stations
- Police stations
- K-12 school buildings with an occupant load of 50 or more, with certain exceptions
Additionally, the latest editions of the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) have storm shelter requirements for additions to existing buildings which parallel the IBC requirements.
Our team is well-versed in the code requirements for a community storm shelter. We are experienced in designing storm shelters, performing peer reviews, and taking on the role of being a third-party evaluator of designs by other engineers. Contact us to learn more about our storm shelter services.