Testing High-Performance Storm Shelter Components for ICC 500

Testing High-Performance Storm Shelter Components for ICC 500-2014

Manufacturers of high-performance storm shelter components have a unique set of safety standards that must be met in order to provide consumer protection in areas where tornadoes and hurricanes are a part of life. FEMA developed two important documents that outline official standards for design and construction of safe room storm shelters; FEMA P-320 – “Taking Shelter from the Storm – Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business.” and FEMA P-361 “Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms.”

After years of post-disaster investigations into the performance of safe rooms and storm shelters, the International Code Council and the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) formed a national committee to develop a consensus standard to define the design and construction requirements of tornado and hurricane storm shelters. The standard developed was entitled ICC 500 and was initially published in the Summer of 2008 and subsequently updated in 2014. According to International Code Council, “The purpose of this standard is to establish minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare relative to the design, construction and installation of storm shelters constructed for protection from high winds associated with tornadoes and hurricanes”. Currently the criteria are under review by the ICC Consensus Committee on Design and Construction of Storm Shelters and is expected to be published in 2020. Once the review is completed, manufacturers of storm shelters and their associated components will refer to the ICC 500-2020 as the accepted standard. The standard gives the minimum requirements to safeguard safe room occupants from conditions commonly experienced during tornadoes and hurricanes. The ICC 500 is specifically referenced in the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) as the governing standard for construction and design of storm shelters. While changes to the code have not yet been officially published by ICC, The International Code Council, the NSSA warns that changes are eminent and that anyone associated with storm shelter design and construction prepare for these changes now.

Testing for storm shelter components is a crucial step in adhering to the standards set forth in the code. ICC NTA performs a multitude of tests in accordance with FEMA P-320, FEMA P-361 and ICC 500 – 2014 for manufacturers of high-performance storm shelter doors, including, but not limited to:

  • Code Compliance
  • Windborne debris impact resistance for tornado’s and hurricane’s
  • Wind load testing and wind pressure
  • Static air pressure difference
  • Missile impact
  • Uniform load
  • Air infiltration
  • Water infiltration

To see more information on our ICC 500 Certification see our webpage here.

To read our blog entitled Understanding the ICC 500-2014” Click here.

To speak with an ICC NTA representative give us a call at 574-773-7975 or fill out the form on this page.

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