Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Building Codes for Bunkers

A reader sent me this question:

Are there any sites that have info about how to comply with building codes and zoning regulations when building a safe home or underground bunker?
It's my impression that there are many many people advocating underground or very safe homes, but I know (only a bit) about building codes and zoning restrictions, and it seems they are very anti-thetical to any such kind of construction. I wonder if there is some place where people have already researched and discussed the issues. Since there are several generally accepted general standards, and localities can modify them, the potential problems seem endless and mostly unknown to trip up the unwary.

In a similar vein, there are many many people advocating the use of used surplus ISO steel shipping containers to make a supposedly cheap house or bunker, but they don't seem to calculate the huge cost of converting them, adding doors, windows, plumbing (very hard to do in a 6,000 lb box sitting flat on ground), insulating them (all the architects seem to ignore lack of energy efficiency in these), preventing leaks, zoning restrictions, getting a mortgage on such an unusual home, etc. Similarly, while monolithic domes have wonderful physical characteristics, and are enthusiastically promoted by some, zoning restrictions and lack of mortgage financing kills them for almost all people.

I am just beginning to look into prepper sites, and came across yours as one of the first. Thanks for letting me know whatever you can learn. I'm happy if there is some source of good info that you could also pass on to others. If I happen to come across such info, I will share it with you.
I decided to ask someone in the business for the answer.  I emailed Vic Rantala Owner of Safecastle LLC  Vic's answer was:

I am not aware of any sites like that. The short answer to the question is that each locality has different building codes and zoning regs. If you want to learn about your locale's codes, you need to contact your local authorities about it. Many do not have special regs about shelters and would likely then defer to the old FEMA guidelines. Also, certification of a design by a state-licensed structural engineer would be a big help. Finally, if you make the local authorities aware of your shelter project, you should expect visits from the local building inspectors thru the project as I'm sure they will take special interest in the project because of the novelty of it all. Hope that helps.
Here's a book that may help you out:

Check out the author's website and this video:
Please comment below if you know any more on the topic.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sleep for Survival