Title:
PREFABRICATED STORM SHELTER AND ASSOCIATED METHODS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The storm shelter includes a prefabricatable enclosure at a remote site, and deliverable to the building construction site following floor slab pouring and prior to wall construction. The shelter includes a unitary solid enclosure having entry means and an open bottom, the enclosure made of material having sufficient strength to withstand tornado- and hurricane-force weather, such as poured concrete. The shelter further includes devices for affixing the enclosure to the building slab, which also have sufficient strength to withstand tornado- and hurricane-force weather.



Inventors:
Riech, Harry C. (ORLANDO, FL, US)
Application Number:
09/210027
Publication Date:
11/08/2001
Filing Date:
12/11/1998
Assignee:
Jacqueline E. Hartt
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/169.6
International Classes:
E04H9/14; (IPC1-7): E04H1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GLESSNER, BRIAN E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JACQUELINE E. HARTT, PH.D (ORLANDO, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A storm shelter for forming part of a building to be constructed comprising: a unitary solid enclosure having side walls, a door opening in a side wall, a top, and an opening at the bottom, the enclosure having sufficient strength to withstand a storm of predetermined magnitude; and means embedded in and projecting from the side walls for affixing the enclosure to a slab at a building site, the affixing means having sufficient strength to withstand a storm of predetermined magnitude.

2. The storm shelter recited in claim 1, wherein the enclosure comprises poured concrete.

3. The storm shelter recited in claim 1, wherein the side walls comprise four side walls meeting in generally right angles to form a rectilinear enclosure.

4. The storm shelter recited in claim 1, further comprising a high-strength access door hingedly affixed within the door opening.

5. The storm shelter recited in claim 1, wherein the affixing means comprises means for affixing the enclosure to a footer having a shape commensurate with a shape of a bottom of the enclosure.

6. The storm shelter recited in claim 5, wherein the affixing means comprises a plurality of spaced-apart hold-down anchors, each having a top portion affixable to a side wall and a side portion protruding outwardly therefrom, the side portion adapted to be embedded in the footer.

7. The storm shelter recited in claim 5, wherein the affixing means comprises a plurality of spaced-apart reinforcing rods, each having a top portion embedded in a side wall and a bottom portion protruding therebeneath, the bottom portion adapted to be embedded in the footer.

8. The storm shelter recited in claim 1, wherein the affixing means comprises a plurality of spaced-apart hold-down anchors, each having a top portion affixable to a side wall and a side portion protruding outwardly therefrom, the side portion adapted to be embedded in the footer.

9. The storm shelter recited in claim 1, wherein the affixing means comprises a plurality of spaced-apart reinforcing rods, each having a top portion embedded in a side wall and a bottom portion protruding therebeneath, the bottom portion adapted to be embedded in the slab.

10. The storm shelter recited in claim 1, wherein the enclosure comprises prefabricated, steel-reinforced high-strength concrete.

11. The storm shelter recited in claim 1, wherein the enclosure is affixable at a closet location within the building site.

12. A method for constructing a storm shelter comprising the steps of: fabricating an enclosure at a remote site, the enclosure having side walls, a door opening in a side wall, a top, and an opening at the bottom, the enclosure having sufficient strength to withstand a storm of predetermined magnitude; transporting the enclosure to a building site; and affixing the enclosure to a slab at the building site with sufficient strength to withstand a storm of predetermined magnitude.

13. The method recited in claim 12, wherein: the fabricating step comprises affixing a plurality of hold-down anchors in spaced-apart relation to an outside surface of the side walls so as to project outwardly therefrom; and the affixing step comprises affixing the projecting portions of the anchors into concrete at the building site.

14. The method recited in claim 12, wherein: the fabricating step comprises embedding a plurality of reinforcing rods in spaced-apart relation in the side walls so as to project partially therebeneath; and the affixing step comprises embedding the projecting portions of the reinforcing rods into concrete at the building site.

15. The method recited in claim 14, wherein the affixing step comprises embedding the projecting portions of the reinforcing rods into a poured concrete footer at the building site.

16. The method recited in claim 12, wherein the fabricating step further comprises the step of affixing a storm door within the door opening, the door having a heavy-duty latching device affixed thereto.

17. The method recited in claim 12, wherein the fabricating step comprises forming a concrete mold having a desired form, affixing reinforcing steel members therewithin, and pouring a high-strength concrete thereinto.

18. The method recited in claim 12, wherein the affixing step comprises placing the enclosure at a location in the building site at a position intended to be within the confines of the planned building.

19. The method recited in claim 18, wherein the affixing step further comprises positioning the door opening for access from within the building confines.

20. A method for constructing a building having an internal storm shelter comprising the steps of: fabricating an enclosure at a remote site, the enclosure having side walls, a door opening in a side wall, a top, and an opening at the bottom, the enclosure having sufficient strength to withstand a storm of predetermined magnitude; transporting the enclosure to a building site; pouring a slab for the building; and affixing the enclosure to the slab with sufficient strength to withstand a storm of predetermined magnitude.

21. The method recited in claim 20, further comprising the step, following the slab-pouring step, of pouring a building footer atop the building slab, and wherein the enclosure-affixing step comprises affixing the enclosure to the footer.

22. The method recited in claim 21, wherein: the enclosure-fabricating step further comprises affixing a plurality of hold-down to the side walls, each anchor having a top portion affixable to an outside surface of the side wall and a side portion projecting outwardly therefrom; and the enclosure-affixing step comprises affixing the anchor side portions to the footer.

23. The method recited in claim 21, wherein: the enclosure-fabricating step further comprises embedding a plurality of reinforcing bars in the side walls, each bar having a top portion embedded in the side wall and a bottom portion projecting therebeneath; and the enclosure-affixing step comprises embedding the reinforcing bars bottom portions in the footer.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority from provisional application No. 60/094,631, “Prefabricated Storm Shelter and Associated Methods,” filed Jul. 30, 1998.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to storm shelters, and, more particularly, to storm shelters directly accessible from a building.

[0004] 2. Description of Related Art

[0005] Storm shelters are desirable in areas subject to violent weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes. In particular, tornadoes can strike with little warning, leaving building occupants no time to evacuate.

[0006] In some localities where basements are not typically part of a building, it is desirable to provide a shelter for building occupants that is immediately accessible from the building. Such a construction has been disclosed by Silen; however, this assembly must be constructed on site, and is indeed affixed to other walls of the building.

[0007] Other shelter constructions have been disclosed by Rice (U.S. Pat. No. 4,539,780), Thornton (U.S. Pat. No. 4,615,158), Hsu (U.S. Pat. No. 5,210,985), and Riley (U.S. Pat. No. 5,600,923).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is an object of the present invention to provide a storm shelter that is readily accessible from a building.

[0009] It is another object to provide such a shelter that is structurally independent of the building structure.

[0010] It is a further object to provide such a shelter that is constructed separately from the building site.

[0011] It is also an object to provide such a shelter that can be prefabricated and delivered to the building site prior to the building's construction.

[0012] It is yet another object to provide a method of providing shelter to building occupants.

[0013] It is yet a further object to provide a method of constructing a storm shelter.

[0014] It is yet an additional object to provide a method of incorporating a storm shelter into a building under construction.

[0015] Another object is to provide such a method that does not substantially interfere with the building's construction schedule.

[0016] These and other objects are provided by the present invention, a storm shelter and associated methods. The storm shelter is preferably prefabricatable at a remote site, and deliverable to the building construction site following floor slab pouring and prior to wall construction.

[0017] The shelter comprises a unitary solid enclosure having side walls, a door opening in a side wall, a top, and an open bottom. The enclosure comprises a material having sufficient strength to withstand tornado- and hurricane-force weather. Such a material may comprise, for example, poured concrete, although this is not intended as a limitation.

[0018] The shelter further comprises means for affixing the enclosure to the building slab, such means also having sufficient strength to withstand tornado- and hurricane-force weather.

[0019] The features that characterize the invention, both as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, will be better understood from the following description used in conjunction with the accompanying drawing. It is to be expressly understood that the drawing is for the purpose of illustration and description and is not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. These and other objects attained, and advantages offered, by the present invention will become more fully apparent as the description that now follows is read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] FIG. 1 illustrates a side perspective view of a first embodiment of the storm shelter of the present invention.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a side cross-sectional view through a wall of the shelter of FIG. 1, illustrating the method of affixing this shelter to the floor slab.

[0022] FIG. 3 illustrates a side perspective view of a second embodiment of the storm shelter of the present invention.

[0023] FIG. 4 is a side cross-sectional view through a wall of the shelter of FIG. 3, illustrating the method of affixing this shelter to the floor slab.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0024] A description of the preferred embodiments of the present 15 invention will now be presented with reference to FIGS. 1-4.

[0025] A first embodiment of the storm shelter 10 of the present invention (FIGS. 1 and 2) comprises an enclosure 15 having, in a particular embodiment, four walls 11, a ceiling 12, and a high-strength access door 13. The bottom 14 is open.

[0026] The shelter 10 typically is constructed as a unitary enclosure 15 by pouring a flowable material such as concrete into a mold, although this material is not intended as a limitation. Whatever material is used, it should have sufficient strength conferred by its material properties and thickness to withstand tornado- and hurricane-force weather.

[0027] Protruding from the bottom of the walls 11 are a plurality of means for affixing the enclosure 15 to a floor slab 20 of a building. Such affixing means may comprise, for example, a plurality of spaced-apart reinforcing rods 16 (“rebar”), each having a bottom portion 21 protruding beneath the walls 11 and a top portion 22 embedded in the walls 11, although this is not intended as a limitation. In an embodiment a footer 23 dimensioned to conform to the shape of the wall perimeter is poured under the floor slab 20 during construction thereof. Installation of the shelter 10 comprises anchoring the bottom portions 21 of the reinforcing rods 16 to the floor slab 20 and footer 23, for example, with high-strength anchoring cement. The building walls are then constructed around the shelter 10, which may serve, for example, as a closet until needed in an emergency. Other locations may also be contemplated for the shelter. Preferably none of the building walls should be affixed to the shelter 10, which will permit the building walls to break away in case of structural failure of the building.

[0028] In a second embodiment (FIGS. 3 and 4), believed to be preferred, the shelter 30 affixing means comprises a plurality of hold-down anchors 36, each having a side portion 31 protruding outward at generally right angles from the walls 11 and a top portion 32 generally at right angles to the side portion 31 bolted to the outside of the walls 11, although this is not intended as a limitation. In a preferred embodiment each anchor 36 has two holes 37 in the top portion 32 for admitting bolts 40 therethrough for bolting into the side walls 11 and one hole 38 in the side portion 31 for admitting a bolt 40 therethrough for bolting into the footer 23 with an addition of epoxy.

[0029] Particular dimensions and building material may comprise: a footer 23 having a width of 24 in. and a depth of 16 in.; reinforcing rods 16 of ⅝ in. having a top portion 22 of 24 in. and a bottom portion 21 of 12 in. and spaced apart about the wall perimeter at a distance of 24 in.; a storm door 13 having a solid core an a heavy-duty latching device; and walls 11 and ceiling 12 of prefabricated, steel-reinforced, 4-in.-thick solid high-strength concrete.

[0030] Preferably the shelter 10 may be manufactured at a site remote from the building construction, such as a concrete prefabrication plant, and delivered to the building site following floor slab 20 pouring and prior to wall construction. Such a method will not substantially alter the building schedule and will not add an insurmountable cost to the building construction.

[0031] During an emergency the building occupants can immediately enter the shelter 10 via the access door 13 and be safe, without leaving the building.

[0032] It may be appreciated by one skilled in the art that additional embodiments may be contemplated, including enclosures and affixing means of alternate materials.

[0033] In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clarity, and understanding, but no unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirements of the prior art, because such words are used for description purposes herein and are intended to be broadly construed. Moreover, the embodiments of the apparatus illustrated and described herein are by way of example, and the scope of the invention is not limited to the exact details of construction.

[0034] Having now described the invention, the construction, the operation and use of preferred embodiment thereof, and the advantageous new and useful results obtained thereby, the new and useful constructions, and reasonable mechanical equivalents thereof obvious to those skilled in the art, are set forth in the appended claims.