Storm Shelter Design: Understanding ICC 500 Requirements

Storm Shelter Design: Understanding ICC 500 Requirements

The United States sees an average of 1,000 tornadoes each year. However, there was limited guidance for designing and constructing buildings to withstand tornadoes until the International Code Council (ICC) and National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) published ICC/NSSA 500 – Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters in 2008, with subsequent updates in 2014 and 2020. At first a voluntary or local requirement, ICC 500 is now referenced in the International Building Code (IBC) and International Existing Building Code (IEBC), mandating storm shelter construction in K-12 schools and critical facilities in more than twenty states. ICC 500 is a comprehensive document that addresses structural, architectural, mechanical, egress, accessibility, and siting aspects of storm shelter design. Understanding these requirements can influence design, operational, and construction cost expectations associated with these storm shelter projects.

In this webinar, we will discuss when a storm shelter is required, review how the ICC 500 standard has evolved through the years, and outline best practices for structural analysis, detailing, and documentation on these projects.


After attending this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify when a storm shelter is required on a new construction or renovation project.
  • Evaluate options for locating the storm shelter within the building architectural program and selecting appropriate structural systems for its design.
  • Understand the composition of the ICC 500 standard and significant components of each chapter.
  • Recognize differences between ICC 500 storm shelters, FEMA P-361 Safe Rooms, and tornado-resistant buildings designed with Chapter 32 of ASCE 7-22.

Participants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW) for attending the live webinar. Registration is free. Please note that space is limited – email events@sgh.com to join our waitlist if the session is closed when you register. 

About the Speaker

Connor Bruns
Connor Bruns | Senior Project Manager

Connor Bruns is a structural engineer focused on evaluating, designing, rehabilitating, and constructing the built environment. He works with architects, interior designers, contractors, fabricators, and industry organizations to execute built work and develop improved standards of construction. Connor is the Secretary of the Wind Load Subcommittee of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-7), Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures. He brings his practical and professional expertise to designing and evaluating constructed works for extreme environments.

Jeffrey Viano
Jeffrey Viano | Senior Project Manager

Jeffrey Viano has a broad range of experience investigating, rehabilitating, and designing buildings and other structures. He specializes in response to collapsed and dilapidated buildings and other structures and investigation into the root causes of failures. Jeffrey possesses a keen understanding of the behavior of various construction materials, including steel, concrete, post-tensioned and prestressed concrete, masonry, wood, and cold-formed steel.