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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oklahoma City
    Posts
    356

    Default Storm shelter at grade level

    Are there any codes or standards that someone can give me to address this storm shelter being at grade level? This is a brand new house and they just installed the shelter last week. Maybe I am crazy, but it looks like it would be prone to flooding to me. There has not been any heavy rain to see if water gets into it since it was installed. I just need to know if there is something I can quote to say it is not right or if I am wrong in my thinking. I have not seen one installed this way in a yard before.

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  2. #2
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: Storm shelter at grade level

    Is it on an high or low portion of the grade? If it is in a low spot, why do you need a code to identify the flooding potential?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: Storm shelter at grade level

    If you really need to know you might want to contact the local AHJ as this might be out of the scope of building codes anyway, kind of like play structures. But, like Darrel said, no code needed to point out issues.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: Storm shelter at grade level

    This looks to be an under garge type/flat-top type storm shelter, pre-manufactured/welded which is backfilled with conrete, such as pictured here: Ground Zero Storm Shelter | Oklahoma Kansas | Texas | Mississippi | Alabama | Georgia | Arkansas | Missouri | Louisiana | Florida | Tennessee | Garage Underground Flattop Tornado Shelters | Safe Rooms These are designed to be built under cover and within the "footprint" of a garage or carport. You are more likely familiar with the bunker type which is generally found outdoors...I question its "uncovered" and in-the-dirt type install. Perhaps this installation was made to secure the state grant funding for replacement home build and the "garage" or carport is yet to be built??

    Somewhere I got the impression the state generally was using the FEMA standards for in-ground shelters and above grade "safe rooms" likely got the impression from the state grant program...FEMA Publication 320 specifications. It has been my understanding that outdoor bunker (in ground shelter) and garage type flat top underground storm shelters were not allowed in designated flood plains, and certanly not without special requirements and approvals, and thus the above ground or safe-room type (more expensive) specifications.

    I have not checked what your local requirements may cover or require. FEMA also has standards, see Publication 320. IIRC there are or were some grant or rebate options ofter the "big one" of recent past, I seem to recall a similar OKC program ended up not being funded.

    The 2009 IRC defers to ICC/NSSA-500 at R323.1, and further identifies and clarifies the edition in Chapter 44 as Standard reference number ICC 500-08 entitled "ICC/NSSA Standard on the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters". Whether or not applicable to jurisdiction (as x-tra requirements) and questioned circumstance cannot say. However, appears may have been an installtion of an other-than-site-built shelter; shelter or bunker itself appears to be entirely below grade, and not at (or above/upon) grade as you seem to have indicated in your writing. There are several manufacturers and installers of the in-ground "garage type" flat tops, I am unware of these being tested or suitable for use exposed (as to entry/access, and uncovered by vehicle - except for the entry edge).

    I have a recollection of a news story on TV about a woman being trapped in a similar shelter earler this year (march? Edmond area?) but I couldn't locate it.

    Have no idea if the particular local jurisdiction requires permit, inspection for same, nor if registration is required.

    HTH.

    P.S. found the state rebte progrm link I believe I was recalling...looks like projects were to have been completed Sept. 30, 2012 Here is a clickable link: Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management - Rules & Regulations

    The pic sure seems to suggest some rust in areas, you sure it was "just installed" as "new" and didn't survive the big storms of 2011?

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-18-2012 at 12:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oklahoma City
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Storm shelter at grade level

    Yes, it was just installed. This is a brand new home in a new housing addition and I could tell the sod was just laid in around it. Buyer said they just put it in for them on their request. It is not in a flood plain or an area that will obviously flood. That is why I questioned whether it is correct or not even though it looks wrong to me. I certainly have not seen one installed this way before.

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