Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ramtech’s New Storm Shelters Designed for “Tornado Alley”

Section 423 of the 2015 Edition of the International Building Code mandates the placement of ICC-500 compliant storm shelters covering all new construction in “tornado alley” from Central Texas to the upper Midwest for educational occupancy when the building is designed for 50 or more occupants. It also requires storm shelters for all new construction of critical emergency operations centers used by our first responders.


To answer this challenge, Ramtech has developed hardened shelters that can be incorporated into new construction such as the corridor shown in the adjacent plan, or free-standing shelters that can be placed alongside existing structures.


Design-build commercial modular building firm Ramtech Building Systems of Mansfield, Texas has announced that the company has developed storm shelters that can be integrated into new construction or function as a standalone structures to meet Group E occupancy requirements for K-12 education facilities of 50 or more occupants and for Emergency Operation Centers such as 911 call centers, fire, ambulance, and police stations.

The storm shelters have been developed to meet wind speeds of up to 250 MPH and have ballistic sheathing to withstand a debris missile impact of a 15-pound 2x4 shot at 100 MPH.

According to Roland Brown, Ramtech's vice president of design and development, "We developed a modular building approach to create a hardened storm shelter that is fastened directly onto a specially designed engineered concrete slab foundation which allows it to counter the uplift generated from tornado force winds while protecting against the flying debris that can easily penetrate ordinary buildings."

When integrated into new construction, the storm shelters function as the corridor in a multiple classroom or office building, or they can be used as freestanding structures placed adjacent to existing buildings.

Using a variation of Ramtech's innovative slab-on-grade permanent modular construction process, the storm shelters are manufactured with attached ceilings and walls but without floors, which allows the modular sections to be fastened directly onto a conventional concrete slab foundation. This allows the concrete slab to become the floor of the structure just like a site-built building. By applying this technique, Ramtech is able to construct the building faster and with less cost, but identical in the look, functionality, and life expectancy of a completely site built structure.

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