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admin | Category: Modular Container Homes | 07.04.2015
Additionally, the concrete storm shelters used today are basically modified septic tanks never designed to be water tight.
Concrete has many strengths and is a great material to have at our disposal, but make no mistake; there are better materials to use for underground purposes.
There is only one reason anyone would ever consider purchasing an underground shelter is safety. The New Hampshire Materials Laboratory published a study in 2006 in regards to the leading causes of fiberglass structure failures. UNDERGROUND INSTALLATION Installation costs can vary based on geography and soil conditions.
This is not the easiest way or maybe the best way build a shelter, but it worked well for me and my budget. I dug out (with my tractor) a twenty-foot wide swatch and twenty-foot back into the side of the mountain. Digging around the perimeter of my newly dug hole, where the “survival shelter” was to be built, I added a French drain. I rented a concrete saw, and then cut a door way into the structure, leaving the bottom of the door four inches above the shelter floor. Before back filling, I added pink foam for a little insulation on the back and sides with Liquid Nails. Before back filling the roof, it will have insulation, plastic material plus roofing material that will help keep water off the roof and direct it one foot or better past the sides of the shelter. With the door in place and the 4 x 4 lumber on, and the roof backfilled, now comes the front of the structure.
Utilizing the septic manufacturer again, he pours these two foot by two foot by four-foot wide concrete reinforcement blocks that weigh one ton each. Of course by now, I have all the necessary survival food, gear and tools in place and ready to move in. The Prepared Prepper's Cookbook: Over 170 Pages of Food Storage Tips, and Recipes From Preppers All Over America! In my shelter in the basement I have a Coleman camping toilet what holds about 5 to 6 galls of human waste before it needs to be emptied.
This is the most ecological sound advice I have seen on handling human waste with the least amount of smell. It may be too late, but if you plan to plant ivy and stuff on top of the bunker, you should go to your local library or bookstore (or even on-line) and see if you can find a book to look at that discusses designing and building roofs for plants to grow on. It may be irrelevant considering the structure, but they have some pretty good discussions in them on how to line the roof to avoid run-off problems and that sort of thing. We lost 2 neighbors in the storm, killed because their homes were in the wrong place, at most certainly the wrong time. The next days were difficult, we stayed with friends as they lived outside the affected zone.
By the end of the month, we had to move out of our friends small apartment and ended up living in a different town.
Coming from a construction background, I’d say you did really well putting this together.
If you live in regions where hills are very common, an underground (or partial) home makes quite a bit of sense.
Malcolm Wells later in life specialized in underground architecture, a study of his books may provide some ideas you might like to implement.
Besides, this is a storm shelter and not a defensible bunker with alternative ingress and egress.
This is a storm shelter and the retaining walls should help with most door blocking debris problems. The design looks well thought out and using pre engineered precast concrete is no doubt the best solution all around.
I’ve known the Planks for more than 30 years and have spent many days out at that house. The devastating El Reno, OK tornado that struck on May 31, 2013 killed 8 people and destroyed a 29 buildings along its deadly path.
MODS International is a builder of shipping container homes and shelters geared towards temporary situations. During the installation of the container home, local Fire Chief Kent Lagaly and Oklahoma State Representative Joe Dorman were at hand to watch and give a helping hand.

The flexible nature of steel makes it the perfect material to build underground structures from. Our standard residential tornado shelter includes staircases, bench seating and ventilation. Any interior fabrications are usually built using wood products which can mold and rot over time in addition to being a possible fire hazard. On April 27th alone, there were 208 tornadoes with four being EF5’s tearing across hundreds of miles of the countryside, killing hundreds of people and destroying hundreds of millions of dollars in property across six states.
I left the bottom of the hole about eighteen inches above the valley ground level, that is in front of the hole. A French drain is basically a shallow trench with 6” septic drainage pipe, with holes on the top that allows the water to flow down and out.
With a few pencil sketches of my shelter, he was able to add extra reinforcement steel where needed and vent holes for incoming and outgoing air. The dirt on top of the roof will be approximately four foot deep on the back side and two foot on the front side to keep the slope of the ridge the way it was.
This will keep the echoes down inside plus keep from getting a knot on the head when I stand up! So we don’t get a tornado…we don’t have a mass extinction event…now I have a great root cellar and a fort for my 5-year-old to play in. One, an older man, used to sit on his front porch all day in a rocking chair and wave to every car that passed.
They had electricity and water and the stores near their house were not only standing, but were open. Since we are law school students, we were able to find summer work at a law firm down in Montgomery. I don’t believe the outside lock poses a problem as it could bolt through and thus be designed to release from the inside if some villains placed a lock on the outside. I envision an extension of the entrance with a turn, more dirt, add ventilation, foxholes, and plant edibles. The EF5 tornado was the widest and second-strongest tornado on record, and it completely destroyed the home of the Mulanax family in Union City, OK. Their home had been completely ripped to shreds by the tornado and the family of 5 was lucky enough to have survived in their underground shelter during the disaster.
The container will stay on site until renovations are complete, which allows the family to live on their land. Our steel storm shelters are coated with rubberized coating which stops corrosion guaranteeing the shelter will last for generations. While fiberglass products may be good solutions for cars and boats, fiberglass shelters are risky ideas with a proven rate of failure. Many people elect to use candles or lanterns as an alternative means to having standard lighting in these shelters. In this article they explain the regularity in requests where they are asked to perform a failure analysis on something built from fiberglass. He placed a four-inch vent hole at the bottom left front corner for incoming air and one at the top right front corner for outgoing air. The steel door hole cut, would be 1 inch bigger all the way around then the hole cut into the concrete structure. Of course these 4 x 4 posts will be nailed, screwed and glued together as this holding wall is built. Back filling the space above the roof and behind the structure will take nearly 83 cubic yards of dirt.
I choose the same wood, 4 inch by 4 inch PT posts that will stack upright and go six feet out from the structure. For the floor I like the industrial rubber floor mats, as the dirt falls below the mat through the holes. I still smell the gas, hear the people calling out from their homes and feel the strain in my back where I pulled a muscle helping lift that pole.
We have tornadoes here in MI; one went by our house 30 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.
It’s flat here with a high water table so underground shelters are not very practical, you could even be forced out by water or drown.
In response to the devastation, MODS International, a shipping container shelter manufacturer, donated and delivered a 40' home to the family in mid-June.

Doug Larson, founder and president of MODS® International, stated on their blog, “We’re excited to be a part of the humanitarian relief effort in Oklahoma. The 40′ container is weather tight and completely mobile and includes a small living space, a kitchenette, bathroom and bedroom. There is no worrying about typical issues like corrosion, cracks, mold, moisture or collapses due to exposure to the weather and earth. When an underground shelter is built from steel it will expand and contract with the earth’s movement and temperature fluctuation but fiberglass lacks these characteristics and begins to breakdown over time leading to premature failure. To also help aid in water drainage, I cut a shovel wide trench above the structure area, so water coming from the ridge above is diverted away. The halves pieced together with a V groove and some thick rubber sticky material that acted as a seal all the way around. Once the door is in place I will place 4 inch by 4 inch PT posts stacked upright behind the door, on the roof, so the dirt has a place to stop.
By the deadline of this article, I really don’t know if this structure will be complete, due to rain, snow and the cold, but I will entail the rest of my plans, like I just did.
These wood retaining walls will be on each side of the door, attached to the door and will hold dirt that will be covering up the front of the structure.
When I drive home now, under much less shade than before since there are no trees in my once wooded neighborhood, I sometimes forget what happened and hold up my hand, waving to an empty lot with one tomato plant waving back. We were fine; our fields were filled with pieces of house, insulation and debris from others not so lucky.
You may have something up your sleeve for defense of your bunker and that’s not our business and as should stay that way. The container will serve as their temporary home while their land is cleared of the debris and a new home is constructed. The roughly 300 sq ft home provides the necessities for the family as they work to reclaim their home and rebuild. Not that we are going to try it, but adding dirt to the roof does add weight so this was a bit reassuring. After these blocks snug up against my 4 by 4 wood retaining walls alongside the doors, I will back fill that area with dirt. These shelters sit below the earth’s surface and are the SAFEST option in a tornado or extreme weather. I then added about 8 inches of rock over the drain and in the area where the shelter was to be placed. Before I cut the door way, I put two coats of Dam Tight and three coats of rubber roofing material on four sides and the roof top.
This will give me a 2 foot thick concrete barrier with 4 feet of dirt in front of my structure. Those of us without a saw would latch on to a couple of people with a saw and we could clear a full grown tree out of the street in about 45 minutes.
But we had nothing but beer and champagne in the fridge and no food that didn’t require a microwave to eat. When this is complete I will grow grass and ivy on the roof area to help keep the soil in place and blend and bushes in the front to hide it. We packed as much as we could carry including our dogs and cats and our shotguns, some water bottles we happened to have and toiletries and walked out of the neighborhood. My wife went ahead, cleaned the broken windows out of our truck, and by days end we had helped 2 people move their belongings out of their totally destroyed homes. Over the course of the next week, we volunteered with different groups, took food from one place to another, cut and cleared more trees and cooked food. The sight of 2-3 thousand people similarly situated, walking like refugees while cops and firemen looked on helplessly was terrifying. Through it all, the volunteers were many and were supported heroically by the organized groups like Red Cross, churches, etc.

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