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    Author(s): Robert H. Falk; James J. Bridwell; Tom Williamson; Todd Black
    Date: 2019
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL-GTR-266.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (4.0 MB)


    The development and use of tornado shelters have helped reduce loss of human life associated with extreme weather events. Currently, the majority of shelters are built from either steel or concrete. The development of the cross-laminated timber (CLT) industry in the United States has provided an ideal wood product to resist the debris impact and high wind forces associated with tornados. This report overviews the design and development of a residential tornado shelter constructed from CLT. This design was impact- and wind-pressure-tested according to the core requirements of the International Code Council Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters. Results indicate that a residential tornado shelter constructed of four-ply CLT walls, a three-ply roof, and a four-ply door can safely resist the impact of a 15-lb wooden missile traveling at 100-mi/h (mph)—the most severe impact test included in the ICC/NSSA-500 standard. Lateral load and uplift load testing indicated that the four-ply shelter can resist the applied pressure caused by a 250-mph wind, as calculated from wind load design criteria. More testing would be required to verify the performance of a CLT shelter intended for commercial or institutional applications.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Falk, Robert H.; Bridwell, James J.; Williamson, Tom; Black, Todd. 2019. Development of a ready-to-assemble tornado shelter from cross-laminated timber (CLT): impact and wind pressure testing. Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL-GTR-266. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 1-31.


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    Tornado, impact testing, cross-laminated timber, safe room

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