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Emerson High School Storm Shelter

Storm Shelter Review: Protect Wall Penetrations

Farnsworth Group performed an ICC 500 Storm Shelter Peer review for new high school located in Frisco, Texas.

The project constructed an ICC 500 rated storm shelter within the new gymnasium. The storm shelter / gymnasium has approximately 13,800 SF for a maximum occupancy of 1,887. The design of this tornado shelter utilized mechanical ventilation using battery backup power. 

Farnsworth Group began the ICC 500 Peer Review for this project when the drawing, specifications and calculations were at a 90% completion level.  There were a few items that needed to be corrected to comply with the requirements.

During our review, we identified some of the following:

  • The structural drawings did not adequately show the roof and wall penetrations. The peer reviewer must check that all wall or roof penetrations are accounted for and protected. Protective baffling must be designed for those penetrations greater than a maximum threshold of area. The baffling must also protect the internal storm shelter space from any direct wind-borne debris that can enter the shelter. The baffle must be geometrically arranged so there is no direct line of travel between the opening and the protected space.
  • The design drawings were also missing information regarding fire rating of doors and overhead coiling doors. Peer reviewers must confirm that the products being proposed in the specifications meet the performance criteria. The ICC 500 requires that the internal walls of a community storm shelter must have a two-hour fire rating, which includes any doors along those walls. As part of our review, we verified that the products identified in the specifications are from approved manufacturers with adequate performance criteria.
  • The MEP design required additional review after we competed the first review. One deficient item was the improper circuiting of the storm shelter lighting design. ICC 500 storm shelters must be able to provide a minimum of two hours of emergency lighting during a power outage. Additionally, the UPS (uninterrupted power supply) must be contained within the storm shelter envelope. The circuiting to the UPS must be functional to meet this two-hour supply. Upon completion of the final review, the UPS circuiting was corrected and shown in the storm shelter control room.