Storm Shelter Design
The 2015 edition of the International Building Code (IBC) adopted ICC 500 – Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, and required new K–12 schools throughout much of the central US to include a community storm shelter.
ICC 500 storm shelters are subject to extreme wind loads greater than the most stringent wind load requirements in ASCE 7. Due to the substantially increased wind pressures, ICC 500 storm shelter design requires special consideration of critical structural and enclosure details from the foundation to the roof. In practice, many of the elements that make up the storm shelter are either delegated to the contractor’s engineer or pre-engineered manufactured systems. This paper describes community storm shelter design criteria, common structural materials and systems used in storm shelters, the critical wind-load resisting elements of these systems, differences between details for typical buildings and those for storm shelters, and best practices for delegated design.