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5.56 Addict
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Discussion Starter #1
On my way home from the LDS cannery this evening, I called a friend who has like interests in the SHTF realm. We talked about our stocks of supplies accumulated so far and the constant need for MORE MORE MORE. He's on a very limited income and his progress is slow going. I'm slightly better off but the wife isn't on board yet and so my efforts are being met with some resistance, too.

During our talk, we got on the BOL subject. I mentioned property a relative owns 1.5 hrs north of my home. There's over 80 acres and most of it is used for hay. The farm house and barn are rented out. My interest is in the "field" furthest from the house and road. It's perfectly flat terrain, heavily wooded on three sides and a row of scrub brush / weed tree's on the fourth, separating it from the other fields and blocking the view from the road. I'm making a very rough guess of it being about 6-8 acres, but I have no eye for that and will have to measure it later to be sure. I saw a diagram of an acre overlayed on a football field and that's how I'm getting the estimate.

Anyway... My friend and I talked about the possibility of starting work on a bunker back there, with the later intentions of building above ground near it.

I'm wondering what size bunker, being one or more rooms, it would take to be short-term livable for a 3-4 family group. The live in function of the bunker would hopefully not be for long. I'm really just looking for the amount of room for temporary, wall mount bunk's and room for everyone's emergency stores. We're thinking cement block or poured cement walls and floor. On that subject - I saw some guys making a building out of what looked like foam blocks. I don't know if those are strong enough to use below ground, but the total difference in weight to transport all of it back there, and build with, would be huge.

Other thought's: We'd like to sink a hand pumped well inside the bunker for close water access and vent a wood stove over to the tree's, to break up the smoke signature a little. I don't know if it's possible to make the smoke travel that far w/o having it backing up into the bunker first... just a thought.

Sorry if this is a much covered topic. I did search and only found stuff on bunkers for single families or storage. I like the idea, posted by many, to build in a natural ravine or low spot between small hills. That make's a ton of sense and would significantly cut the amount of labor for earth moving. Too bad my intended BOL area is flat. :-(
 

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DTOM
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No limit on time or space available? Then it's totally up to your budget for how big to make it. It also depends on how well you get along. An emergency situation that calls for a dozen people to live underground with each other would help force everyone to get along, but the more space you have to divide everyone up the more liveable it will be. 3 or 4 families are a lot of people, and a short-term stay will probably need the same resources as a long-term stay for one family.

For the chimney, I would say that if you build your bunker close to the trees it would be easier to hide the smoke. I don't think the length is as much of an issue as the angle of the pipe is. (linkage) Also watch out for anything flammable in the path of the chimney. Also the trees would be a good place to hide the output pipe for your regular air ventilation system.

There are some big things to take into consideration before the first shovel full of dirt is lifted up, and I won't over-work some electrons here to list them all, but google has plenty of examples. :D

For the structure itself, I don't know about those blocks, but have you considered a quonset hut type of design? The rounded angle seems to be a lot more stable without needing as much of a bracing.

Check out this thread for more ideas: http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=142747
 

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I like these shelters myself:

http://utahsheltersystems.com/

They're made from giant culvert piping that they then put a false floor in to make the floor flat. Of course they cost as much as a modest house, but you could probably do something like that yourself? The curved "roof" makes it much stonger underground then a flat topped roof.

Just an idea
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Square flat roof's are more to my liking, IF it isn't too much more costly. We are just in the discussion phases and this may never come true. I gave it some more thought and realized that I might have to rethink who I get involved with, in a collaboration like that. It's a big investment of time and money (that most of us dont have much of).
 

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Being so flat , check for ground water.
often that flat the water table is just below serface.
If your using a back hoe dig down in a prefirrd spot and test for radon gas and water at the same time . see what things are like when it rains , can you provide a natural drain below the level you plan to dig, not just for septic but for incomming air as well. Can be hidden with an out cropping of boulders too big to move by hand .
Had I the oppurtunity and the funds I'd be doing the same thing .
I've got 2-1/2 acres but the top soil is all gone ,barely grows weeds. Been considdeing the same thing though, a long time, problem here is I have very nosey neighbors .
If I did any thing perminant I''d dig a well first.
 

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I sell US Military MRE's
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My Dad had a bomb shelter built in 1960 during the height of the cold war. It is built in the side of a hill with a staircase leading down to it. Has steel door entrance, there is an "L" shaped hall way which leads to another steel door. Inside is a single room with bunks and supplies. It used to have an hand crank air purifier to bring in filtered air.

As long as I can get home, I'm not worried about SHTF.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My Dad had a bomb shelter built in 1960 during the height of the cold war. It is built in the side of a hill with a staircase leading down to it. Has steel door entrance, there is an "L" shaped hall way which leads to another steel door. Inside is a single room with bunks and supplies. It used to have an hand crank air purifier to bring in filtered air.

As long as I can get home, I'm not worried about SHTF.
Man... that would be nice to have that available. Your very lucky.

In the movie The Road, they found that bunker with all the supplies. I thought about me and my son going through the same situation. I might be so happy that I'd keel over dead from a heart attack.
 

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FYI The foam blocks referred to are hollow shaped blocks that stack and link. To use they are filled with a concrete slurry that hardens to give the structure strength. Its main advantages are that they are light and easy to errect and shape. If filled properly with the right consistency of slurry and there is no leakage, they are extremely strong. The foam forms a moisture barrier and makes waterproofing an underground structure much easier.

However be aware that they require a continuous pour system for integrity and that is hard to accomplish covertly.... the foam blocks on their own are not of any use.
 

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5.56 Addict
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Discussion Starter #12
This thread would not be complete without a brief warning about radon, particularly when discussing underground bunkers. Don't forget to plan this into your design:

http://www.aw-el.com/kies.pdf

http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1194947332977

http://www3.cancer.gov/intra/dce-old/pdfs/reumid.pdf

See the Q&A on "Radon Basics" at this link.

http://www.inspectapedia.com/Energy/Moisture_Calculations.pdf

Thanks for the links, Composter. The Radon factor was mentioned earlier but you went the extra mile.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
FYI The foam blocks referred to are hollow shaped blocks that stack and link. To use they are filled with a concrete slurry that hardens to give the structure strength. Its main advantages are that they are light and easy to errect and shape. If filled properly with the right consistency of slurry and there is no leakage, they are extremely strong. The foam forms a moisture barrier and makes waterproofing an underground structure much easier.

However be aware that they require a continuous pour system for integrity and that is hard to accomplish covertly.... the foam blocks on their own are not of any use.
Thanks !! Good info. I'm fairly certain that I could do the building "quietly" due to the row of scrub tree's and brush that cut off the view from the road, which is 400-500 yards away anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well... I got a chance to talk to my relative and they don't want to part with the property. They said it was always available to me, but not to own. I explained that I wanted to eventually build on it and that got me a "Sorry, but it belongs to my kids." I understand what he's saying. At least I know that I can go there if the SHTF. That's some relief. I'll just have to wait on building anything.

Ohh well..... :(
 

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Here is an idea. I just built a root cellar. It is made out of concrete foam block construction as you mentioned. It is amazing. Great R value and very strong. Mine has is 22 x 30 feet, 7 feet high inside. 3 rooms. One for freezers, one for pantry, one for root crops. Root cellars have vents in the ceiling and an outside air vent that goes underground. They are very similar to bomb shelters. Cause you have a vent in the ceiling it is simple to install a chimney with two air sources. These two air sources can also be filtered. Plumbing water into it is simple. That way you have your food and small living area. Mine is lit with solar as a back up.

If you want anymore information let me know
 
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