ICC 500-2020 Standard and Commentary: ICC/NSSA Design and Construction of Storm Shelters

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This easy-to-use format includes the full text of ICC 500-2020: ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, including tables and figures, followed by the corresponding commentary for each section. The commentary explains the background and intent of the requirements and suggests the most effective method of application.

Published by the International Code Council and the National Storm Shelter Association, the ANSI-approved 500-2020 standard is referenced in the 2021 IBC® and IRC® and provides minimum design and construction requirements for storm shelters that provide a safe refuge from tornadoes, hurricanes and other severe windstorms. The standard provides design requirements for the main wind-resisting structural system and components and cladding of these shelters, including items such as occupant density, access, egress, sanitation, ventilation, fire safety and standby power.

The 2021 IBC, under certain conditions, requires design of protected storm shelter areas in accordance with ICC 500-2020 for emergency operation centers, 911 call stations, police/fire/rescue/ambulance stations and the 2021 IBC abd IEBC for some Group E ocupancies.

In addition to treating each section of the standard, this Commentary also addresses many items that have been revised or added since the 2014 edition. 

  • Updated load combinations and wind speed maps
  • Clarifies requirements for falling debris and laydown hazards and has removed requirements for rollover hazards
  • Where a fire separation is required between a shelter and a host building
  • Establishing criteria for a design occupant capacity for a storm shelter
  • Addresses requirements for shelters located within the 100-year and 500-year flood plains
  • Increasing design options for occupant support areas, such as sanitation facilities
  • Additional criteria for evaluation, maintenance and repair
  • A new appendix with guidelines for storm shelter preparedness and emergency operations plans (SSPEOP)

This publication provides an excellent resource for anyone who wants a better understanding of ICC 500-2020 and how its provisions can increase public safety in high-wind regions.

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