The International Code Council approved building code changes based on recommendations from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's investigation of the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., on May 22, 2011.
The changes are aimed at protecting schools and their related high-occupancy buildings from the most powerful tornadoes. The updates apply to the most tornado-prone regions in the U.S., from northern Texas to central Minnesota, and from western Oklahoma to western Pennsylvania.
The updates will require enhanced protection for new school buildings and additions to buildings on existing school campuses. They will also apply to facilities associated with schools where people regularly assemble including gymnasiums, theaters, and community centers.
Storm shelters must be provided that protect all occupants from storms with wind speeds of 250 mph--the top intensity category, EF-5, on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Storm shelter requirements will be published in ICC's 2018 International Building Code and 2018 International Existing Building Code.