ICC 500 tested doors are a must for storm shelters in schools, police stations, and other public safety buildings in areas prone to extreme weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes. Doors are an essential part of these structures, but all elements must face rigorous testing to live up to these standards.
Here’s a guide to ICC 500 standards for doors and exterior elements used in constructing community storm shelters.
ICC500 Testing Standards
ICC 500 is a guide that outlines the minimum acceptable standards for the design and construction of storm shelters. The guide itself states that its job is to provide:
“the minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare relative to the design, construction, and installation of storm shelters constructed for protection from tornadoes, hurricanes, and other severe windstorms. This standard is intended for adoption by government agencies and organizations for use in conjunction with applicable codes to achieve uniformity in the technical design and construction of storm shelters”
In other words, ICC 500 serves as a universal standard that government agencies and organizations can then adopt and use to create their own standards for their specific part of the process. ICC 500 outlines nearly every element of designing and constructing storm shelters. So there are parts of the guide that may be most relevant to building designers, engineers, material suppliers, and contractors.
When discussing ICC500 tested doors, the most relevant parts of the guide to consider are those related to material testing. All products used to create the envelope around a storm shelter must be able to stand up to various testing standards. This includes not only the doors, but also any window and wall panels that make up the exterior of the shelter or safe room.
Specific testing standards can vary a bit depending on the type of building and its location. For example, storm shelters located in hurricane zones generally need to meet design pressure and debris impact requirements but also need to incur cyclic pressure testing as well to be sure the building will outlast the storm. The pressure and debris impact requirements may differ for hurricane shelters in different locations. However, tornado shelters located in the 250mph wind zone must be able to withstand the most severe impact testing, due to the high speeds at which debris tends to travel during an EF-5 tornado.
One testing element that is included in nearly every component used in the envelope of a storm shelter is missile testing. This type of test involves striking the material with a large, blunt object traveling at a high rate of speed. The exact size, distance, and speed of the missile test can vary depending on the designated storm type the shelter is designed to protect against, as well as the wind speed zone and orientation of the component in question. But Insulgard’s STORMDEFEND doors have been tested to the maximum debris impact testing which consists of multiple strikes from a 15# wood 2×4 traveling at 100mph.
What the ICC500 Standards Indicate for Doors and Other Materials
The testing standards outlined in the ICC 500 guide are designed to ensure that the capacity and protection capabilities of a storm shelter envelope are able to stand up against the extreme weather conditions that are most prominent in that particular location.
For example, wind load parameters are outlined by zone for buildings in and around high wind areas that see lots of tornadoes. ICC 500 tested doors and all other materials used to make up the exterior walls and enclosures of a storm shelter must be pressure tested to ensure they can stand up against these strong winds as they change direction and pressure throughout the area.
Then there’s the impact testing that is designed to ensure the storm shelter stays intact even if the walls, doors, windows, or other enclosure materials are struck with a large object like a tree branch, piece of furniture or lumber debris from a house. This protects those inside from injury and also prevents major changes in air pressure if the envelope is compromised.
In addition, community storm shelter structures also must undergo testing for factors like rain loads, floor loads, and roof loads to mimic the conditions that may impact the building if a major storm does occur in the area.
The Impact of Selecting ICC 500 Tested Doors and Other Products in Design Architecture
Overall, the purpose of ICC 500 testing standards is to ensure that all materials, methods, and design elements used fit with the goal of protecting the public. This is true for ICC 500 tested doors as well as any wall panels and other enclosure elements that make up the exterior of these structures.
Many public buildings like schools and public safety centers are required to include materials that live up to these standards when constructing storm shelters in high wind or hurricane zones. In these instances, regulatory standards are among the most prominent reasons to prioritize building materials and other processes that comply with ICC 500 guidelines. However, there are many real world safety benefits as well.
As outlined above, the testing protocols outlined in the ICC 500 guide are designed to mimic real world scenarios and conditions that are likely to occur during extreme weather events like tornados and hurricanes. From wind and pressure to precipitation and flying debris, safe room structures that are built to these high standards are the best solution currently available to protect individuals caught in these conditions. Constructing safe rooms that live up to these standards can provide peace of mind and keep communities safer over the long run.
If you’re looking for ICC500 tested doors for a community storm shelter, contact Insulgard to discuss your options. We offer a wide array of products that are tested to withstand debris, pressure, and other major storm factors in both tornado and hurricane zones. Our team can even walk you through the options based on the specific needs of your project. Visit our website to browse ICC500 tested doors and connect with a member of our team to get started.