Shelter from the storm

This year is shaping up to be a record-breaking one for tornadoes and severe weather. In just the first nine months, nearly 1300 tornadoes swept across the country. Since 2009, the International Building Code (IBC) has included standards for tornado shelters. However, not until the 2015 edition did it...
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Retrofitting buildings with vapor barriers

Vapor intrusion occurs when there is a migration of chemicals containing vapor from a subsurface source such as soil, groundwater, or soil vapor into an overlying building (Figure 1). As a result of past activities, some areas are more prone to the risk of vapor intrusion for its surrounding...
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Design guidance for building safe rooms

Safe rooms are specially designed structures that offer an enclosed space for people to seek refuge in the event of extreme weather, such as tornadoes and hurricanes. These structures are designed to provide what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) considers to be “near-absolute protection”—a term describing the level...
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