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Old 01-02-2013, 10:35 PM
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Default Sub-Basement shelter in new construction, Positives and Negatives?



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I think the idea of a sub basement in a new construction sounds like the best shelter you could do and has a lot of positives. Now by Sub-Basement, I am talking like a 10 ft Tall(I REALLY like high ceilings)Steel reinforced, SECOND basement under a regular one, the floor of the normal basement would also be the ceiling in the sub basement and about 14" thick reinforced concrete, the house above maybe a decent sized ranch with long Southern exposures for easy solar install. Now of course this isn't going to be cheap, but compared to a separate shelter, it seems a winner.
Positives:
1.Good OpSec once installed, you separate your regular basement from the stairway to the second, with a wall and door, tell people it's a workshop or storage in the small second room.
2. This can be a GIANT shelter, and VERY comfortable, it's going to be the same footprint of the house and a decent sized ranch is going to have a lot of square feet for proper bedrooms/baths/day living and kitchen areas.
3. Huge Prep. Storage use the regular basement to store most and keep the shelter, clear and airy, come up and restock as needed.
4. Much cheaper than a separate shelter, basically just a much deeper hole, and more concrete and steel.

Negatives:
1.Fear of house burning down on top of you and suffocating you? Can this be prevented?
2. Need a location that a 25" hole in the ground won't hit ground water, this will rule out a lot of choice lakefront properties, I'd imagine.
3. Digging deep like that is going to be costly , not to mention the concrete,steel and Engineering work.

Any thoughts on the feasibility, or things I am not considering?
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:41 PM
HB of CJ HB of CJ is offline
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Default Will Not Work As A Nuclear Fallout Shelter And Why

You will need a minimum of 3 feet of packed dirt overhead, (or more) to have that minimum protection factor of 1000 to one. Eight feet of packed earth (with proper ventilation and air filtration) will get you through just about any nuclear fallout possibility. Good luck. HB of CJ (old coot)
Old 01-02-2013, 10:43 PM
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For OPSEC I'd tell the contractors it's a wine cellar

And I wouldn't even acknowledge it's existence to the neighbors. It would be cool to have if you can afford it.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HB of CJ View Post
You will need a minimum of 3 feet of packed dirt overhead, (or more) to have that minimum protection factor of 1000 to one. Eight feet of packed earth (with proper ventilation and air filtration) will get you through just about any nuclear fallout possibility. Good luck. HB of CJ (old coot)
I can GUARANTEE you 14 inches of concrete is equal to many inches of dirt, than you have the regular basement and all the mass there and the house on top of that, excellent protection.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:59 PM
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Default No it is not

Actually you would need just about...three feet of reinforced concrete to equal three feet of 90% compacted earth. What you want is the heaviest stuff you can find. Packed earth and concrete are fairly close to each other in weight. The re-bar doesn't help any either ...it just keeps the cracked concrete from shifting. Good luck.

I would also...for engineering reasons, (foundation considerations) consider locating your deep survival bunker, (a great idea!) some distance away from the planned home. Perhaps you can have that eight feet of dirt on top of a cool tennis court or something? All sorts of ideas come to mind. Have at least 2 exits. HB of CJ

We actually toyed with a surplused large propane tank, (8x35) as a buried deep shelter. Plans fell through because we simply did not have the money for that low probability event. HB (old coot) Kearny's book discussed mass ratios of different materials ...packed dirt seems to be the cheapest available. Earth arching?

"Nuclear War Survival Skills" or "The Effects Of Nuclear Weapons" same guy.
Old 01-02-2013, 11:42 PM
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If you went with a banked earth home,maybe locate it so the sub unit is partialy under the banked earth...poor a large patio over head and for ventilation shafts,install a couple large sturdy lamp posts at the outside perimeter to disguise your vents,they can be 6+ ft tall and get you up from grnd level...
Old 01-03-2013, 12:38 AM
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Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just fix up the basement instead of adding a whole new floor? If you put some thought into the design, it doesn't take that much effort to make a basement an excellent shelter.
Old 01-03-2013, 07:13 AM
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I can think of some negatives that would dissuade me from doing it.

First, if you're going to build a fallout shelter, build a fallout shelter. This sounds like it is about halfway there.

Second, you'd have to move everything down two flights of stairs.

Third, it will be cool year-round. At that deep, you'd be talking ambient ground temperature which would be...55 degrees or so?

Fourth, you'll have moisture issues unless you deal with them up front.

Fifth, OPSEC won't be that great. Unless you did the work yourself, the guy excavating it will wonder why you need a foundation 20+ feet deep, and he'll talk to others. The guys putting in the concrete forms will know, and they'll talk. The concrete delivery guys will know.

Sixth, this is going to cost....big time. If in your area homes sit on 25 feet of earth, it won't be that hard to excavate (relatively speaking). If you have bedrock you'll have to shoot it, and that's very expensive. In my area (southern Wiscsonsin) you'll have bedrock just under a normal basement. In fact, my home sits on bedrock, with a not-quite-normal basement height of 7 1/2 feet.

Seventh, what about exits? As noted, you'll need two. Further, you'll likely need to have the home inspected as it is built, and the inspector will wonder what you're doing plus where the exits are.


All in all, I can think of easier and cheaper ways to skin this cat.
Old 01-03-2013, 09:27 AM
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Theres a family that lives near the city I work at acouple months of the year. They put in an underground survival shelter. Everyone in the area knew about it and talked about it. Im an outsider and I was even told about it. We drove by the place and saw those HUGE dirt piles. That much dirt doesnt come from a normal basement. More people know about it than a normal house. Then there is the assesor who was given the plans. Theres really no hiding extremes when it comes to building.
Old 01-03-2013, 03:22 PM
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One I've thought about a few times is a fiberglass tank that is used by gas stations and homes , some of those are pretty good sized .

You could have it buried in your yard while telling contractors that you are planning on using it for heating oil in the future and then work on it after the initial build is over , maybe set a shed over the top and have an entrance through the floor or tunnel from basement ?

With it being round it may be a problem but just something that's been runnin' around inside my noggin ! lol
Old 01-03-2013, 05:58 PM
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I still like this idea, no reason why you couldn't pour the sub-basement ceiling TWO feet(although that would be expensive). I don't like single use structures, it's hard to imagine an ROI, what I am trying to say is IF you did the sub-basement as basically a small regular house, you could use it as actual living space, put your mother-in-law down there under two feet of concrete.
Old 01-03-2013, 08:58 PM
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It would be smarter to build in the backyard instead of under the house.
Just make a doorway from the basement to the shelter.
Old 01-03-2013, 09:27 PM
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The cool factor would be very high on this, I'll give you that. As a contractor I would suggest you take into account building codes for your area. If your in town, I suggest you look at the depth of you utilities. You can have water down there but chances are high you'll need an ejector/grinder pump to do it. You want to condition the space? In floor heat will work, but you'll also need dehumidification and ventilation. You may also want to check if radon gas is a problem in your area, if so there are solutions to that (it would suck to survive the end of the world just to die of lung cancer). Drainage, sump pumps with battery backups, you'll need them. At leas 2 of them, when it rains hard your sub-basement will be the first to flood.

This is only a small portion of things I thought of when I read this......
Old 01-04-2013, 02:20 AM
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So when TSHTF big time you descend into your super duper lovely secure shelter. Then how do you know what's going on above ground? Are there other survivors inhabiting the rest of your house above your head? Information is power and you're going to have no way of knowing what's going on. Sounds a bit like the Japanese soldier found in the jungle like 20 years after WW2 had finished - he'd never heard that the war had finished.
Old 01-04-2013, 06:47 AM
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I think it would be much cheaper to have a shelter adjacent to your basement, but underneath your backyard. Dirt is much cheaper than reinforced concrete, not to mention all the other issues mentioned so far ( moisture, OPSEC, costs, codes, etc)

You could have a door leading to stairs to the shelter in your basement, along with a hidden hatch in the yard as a 2nd shelter exit.
Old 01-04-2013, 07:00 AM
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I like the idea of having a hatch built into the wall of a regular basement, then building the shelter later, and separate from the house.
Old 01-04-2013, 01:54 PM
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Sounds like a **** poor idea to me. Between moisture and the distinct possiblilty of never being found should the house collapse into the basement for any reason.
Old 01-04-2013, 02:22 PM
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All I can say is...Mushroom farm. Use 1/2 pipe culverts buried at the appropriate depth running perpendicular to your foundation; heavy door, with a small flight of stairs leading down and have it climate/humidity controlled and ventilated. Store stuff there and raise mushrooms for food and extra $$$ while you wait for the Apocalypse!
Old 01-04-2013, 08:30 PM
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The next house I build I am going to put an additional basement under the garage floor, separate adjacent to the standard basement.
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