Incorporated within the 2009 International Building Code, ICC 500 is the work of a diverse committee composed of members of industry, academia, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Authorities Having Jurisdiction. The standard appears in IBC Chapter 4, Special Detailed Requirements Based on Use and Occupancy, and will be found under new section 421, Storm Shelters.
The technical requirements for both community tornado and hurricane shelters are based upon the premise that the designer has selected the applicable design wind speed for the type of shelter being designed and the geographic location of the shelter. This approach allows a shelter design to be tailored to the wind speed associated with the type of event in its specific geography, instead of the previous ‘one size fits all’ approach.
New Shelter Brings Code to LifeAlthough the new shelter standard has just been published, one building is already being constructed to comply with its requirements. Located in Hudson, Florida, the new Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter and Health Clinic is the first such shelter built under the new ICC 500 standard and is expected to be completed by January, 2010. It also is the first Pasco County building designed to win certification from the U.S. Green Building Coalition’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The facility is named for state Senator Mike Fasano, of New Port Richey, Florida, who was instrumental in sponsoring and securing federal and state funding for the project.
Spring Engineering, Inc., of Holiday, Florida is responsible for the architecture and engineering of the new facility, and the general contractor is Bandes Construction, Inc., of Dunedin, Florida.
Finding Doors and Hardware to Meet the New StandardDesigning and constructing the shelter to meet the proper wind loads and other requirements for a tough new standard was challenge enough, but when it came to finding hardware that would measure up, things became more difficult. President Richard M. Bekesh, AIA, of Spring Engineering, Inc. says, “There will be a lot of communities along the coast that will build hurricane shelters, but because it will not amount to a large market overall, only a few manufacturers are willing to do the research and spend the money to prove their products comply. That meant that, as designers, we had to be creative in finding products that would work under ICC 500.”
For example, when design work began, no available window shielding devices would comply with the standard. Bekesh says, “Armor Screen Corporation, a company in Riviera Beach, Florida that makes a hurricane protective screen, was willing to re-engineer its product and has since passed the criteria for our location.” He notes that some door and hardware products that were approved under FEMA 361 have been allowed, but each was an individual case. “This makes it very challenging from a design standpoint in terms of the building envelope and the structure,” he adds.
It All Comes TogetherFrom a business perspective, the new shelter and the standard on which it is based illustrate the complex interaction of many factors, as well as the need for patience and persistence. Code committee discussions began some seven years ago, with participation that included members from the hardware industry. Knowing that a new standard for wind storms was being developed, manufacturers such as Von Duprin began work on products to withstand higher forces. Eventually, as the standard moved through the development process and became part of the Code, the spec writer, in this case Steve King, of Ingersoll Rand’s SSC office in Longwood, Florida, worked to incorporate appropriate products that would adhere to the standard. As Spring Engineering translated the concept into the final design and construction began, a process that started in 2002 began to pay off.
Although there was considerably more work in designing and building to a new standard than one that had been in place, the effort created a pathway for others to follow.
Traditionally the architectural openings industry has provided life-safety consultation on matters related to fire protection and means of egress. The publication of shelter standards within the model code brings an added dimension to our industry, and additional opportunities for professionals in the life-safety industry.