Protect valuable assets with an ICF Safe Room.
An ICF Safe Room provides protection from winds as high as 250 mph. These safe rooms are created by building any room (such as the master bedroom closet) with ICF walls, pouring a concrete “lid” on top, and installing a steel door. Not only does it keep your family safe, a closet Safe Room is a fire-resistant storage area for your valuables and heirlooms. Integrating a safe room into your new home design, adding to an existing home, or retrofitting current home are all affordable and straightforward.
Looking for home plans with a safe room or a safe home?
BuildBlock has partnered with Nelson Design Group, a national home designer. Their entire catalog of 2,500 home plans are available to you. Find one you like and BuildBlock will discount the cost of ICF conversion when you purchase your block. Visit Nelson Design Group and see their home designs – http://nelsondesigngroup.com. Every year, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme windstorms injure and kill people, and cause millions of dollars worth of property damage in the United States. Even so, more and more people build homes in tornado- and hurricane-prone areas, possibly putting themselves into the path of such storms. Having a safe room built for your home or small business can help provide “near-absolute protection” for you and your family or employees from injury or death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds. – FEMA 320
WHAT ELSE CAN YOUR SAFE ROOM DO?
ICF Safe Rooms are like any other room in your home. Master bathroom, bedroom, closet, pantry, media room and more. Building a safe room doesn’t mean building an ugly bunker. Using ICFs, you can finish this room however you would like and use it as a part of your home each day. Add an ICF safe room to existing homes or new construction today! Add valuable square footage to your existing home.For example, if you add a 6×9 Safe Room to your home and it is worth $80 a square foot, you have added $4320 worth of value. Depending on the size and scope of your individual project, you can almost break even in costs and enjoy your Safe Room each and every day as a new addition to your home and a safe haven in inclement weather. Pictured above: Construction in progress of a Safe Room/Master Bedroom Closet being added on to an existing home.
Tornado & Hurricane ICF Safe Rooms
- Built to FEMA 320 Design Specifications
- Reinforced Concrete Walls and Roof
- In-House Convenience and ADA compliant. No stairs to climb down, ease of entry and exit with family regardless of limitations.
- Safety for Your Entire Family
- 14-gauge Steel Door & Jamb with Three-point locks
- Safely Protects Your Valuable Belongings
- ICF Safe Rooms provide a 4-hour fire rating.
- Resist winds up to 250mph when built to FEMA guidelines.
- Reinforced concrete structures can withstand impacts from flying debris and extreme winds with little to no damage.
Safe Room Options
- Design a Safe Room into your New Home Plans
- Retro-fit Your Existing Home
- Build a Stand-Alone Above-Ground Shelter
- Add on to your existing home
- Upgrade a room such as an interior bathroom, bedroom, pantry, closet, or office.
- Use your safe room every day, not just in an emergency.
- Finish your safe room to look like any other room in your home and make it blend in seamlessly.
ICF Safe Room Design Detail
BuildBlock provides safe room detail designs that comply with FEMA 320 specifications for construction of safe rooms in your home or building. BuildBlock can provide standard kits for a safe room at 8’x8′, 10’x10′, and 12’x12′ feet. We can also assist you in converting your design to an ICF safe room.
Safe Room Considerations
- Safe rooms must be adequately anchored to the foundation to resist overturning and uplift.
- Safe rooms must provide adequate ventilation.
- Walls, ceiling, and doors of the shelter must withstand wind pressure and resist penetration by windborne objects and falling debris.
- Connections between all parts of the safe room must be strong enough to resist high-velocity winds.
- The safe room must be installed on its own footings and foundation separate from the main structure. This is required so damage to the home will not cause damage to the safe room.
- The door must be 14-gauge Steel Door & Jamb with Three-point locks.
Safe Room Related Resources
Washington Post – The Tornado Proof Home: is it possible? Portland Cement Association Technology Brief No. 7 “Concrete Homes Built-in Safety” – http://www.cement.org/homes/brief07.asp. FEMA Taking Shelter from the Storm – http://www.fema.gov/safe-rooms
Financial Assistance After Disaster
Homeowners who receive a disaster assistance loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to repair or rebuild a damaged or destroyed home may use some of the loan proceeds to construct a safe room. The SBA can also increase the approved disaster loan by up to 20 percent to cover the cost of adding a safe room. (Safe Room grants vary based on location. Please consult your local Emergency Management Office for more information.) For more information on FEMA 320, you can download the complete “Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House” document from the FEMA website at http://www.fema.gov/safe-rooms
Potential Non-FEMA Safe Room Funding
SBA Disaster Loans Homeowners who receive a disaster assistance loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to repair or rebuild a damaged or destroyed home may use some of the loan proceeds to construct a safe room. The SBA can also increase the approved disaster loan by up to 20 percent to cover the cost of adding a safe room. Community Development Block Grant Funds On December 3, 2003, the President signed into law the Tornado Shelters Act (Public Law 108-146), which amends the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, authorizing communities to use community development block grant funds to construct tornado safe shelters in manufactured home parks. To be eligible, a storm shelter must be located in a neighborhood or park that contains at least 20 units, consists predominately of low- and moderate-income households, and is in a state where a tornado has occurred within the current year or last 3 years.
The storm shelter must comply with tornado-appropriate safety and construction standards, be large enough to accommodate all members of the park/neighborhood, and be located in a park/neighborhood that has a warning siren. Community development block grant funds are funded through HUD. FHA Mortgage Insured Financing On January 14, 2000, as part of HUD/FHA’s continuing efforts to be responsive to public safety concerns, HUD began allowing borrowers to include windstorm shelters as an eligible work item for FHA 203(k) rehabilitation loans and FHA 203(b) financed new construction. Shelters financed with FHA-insured mortgages must be constructed consistent with the guidelines presented in FEMA Publication 320 USDA Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Grants The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers the Very Low-Income Housing Repair program which provides grants of up to $7,500 to very low-income homeowners who are 62 years of age or older to address health and safety hazards. The improved property must reside in a rural town of 20,000 or fewer residents. Grant funding is variable each year.
Additional Websites and Resources
- Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants (PDM) and Safe Rooms Fact Sheet
- Texas Tech University Wind Engineering Research Center
- American Red Cross
- National Storm Shelter Association
- Storm Prediction Center
- U.S. Small Business Administration
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Tornadoes: Being Prepared
- The Tornado Project
- Before, During, and After a Tornado
- National Weather Service
- High Wind Safe Rooms
- Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)
- MAT Report – Spring 2011 Tornadoes: April 25-28 and May 22 (FEMA P-908)
- 2011 Tornado Recovery Advisories in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Missouri
- 2007 Tornado Recovery Advisories in Florida
- 2007 Tornado Recovery Advisories in Kansas
Visit Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) for information on grants. If you need additional information on HMA grants, contact the HMA Helpline by emailing HMAGrantsHelpline@feme.dhs.gov or by calling (866) 222-3580. Questions? Click on the “Frequently Asked Questions” link to view FAQs about design and construction of safe rooms. If you need additional information about the design and construction of safe rooms, contact the Safe Room Helpline by emailing SafeRoom@fema.dhs.gov or by calling (866) 927-2104. Please allow up to 5 business days for a response.