Highland Manor Receives Excellence in Structural Engineering Award
BROOKFIELD, WI Highland Manor Community Safe Room received a 2016 Excellence in Wisconsin Structural Engineering Award, in the projects less than $5 million in construction costs category, from the Structural Engineers Association of Wisconsin (SEA-WI).
This project challenged R.A. Smith National's structural engineers with finding a solution for the 450 residents of the Highland Manor Mobile Home Community in Madison, Wisconsin, who lacked safe shelter during severe weather events, such as tornadoes. Working collaboratively with precast engineers at Spancrete, the team designed a safe room meeting strict standards that resist extreme wind pressures associated with a tornado event. The design team's creativity and teamwork in overcoming significant design challenges resulted in the largest freestanding safe room in Wisconsin that serves as a model for future shelters and safe rooms.
"The team facilitated a community effort, including the city of Madison, the city Parks Division, FEMA, City Engineering, and the Highland Manor Homeowners' Association. The group worked to meet the FEMA requirements, coordinate park use and maintenance, worked with the City architect to coordinate and execute the project," said Kim Spoden, AIA, Assemblage Architects.
The Highland Manor Community Safe Room represents an innovative, forward-looking approach to preventing fatalities during severe weather events. In order to qualify for $1.2 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant funding, the building had to meet FEMA P-361 requirements. These design criteria are intended to provide a superior level of life safety protection against the extreme wind speeds and flying debris associated with tornados. Although FEMA's guidelines are beyond what most engineers will need to consider for upcoming projects, the related International Code Council ICC-500 requirements may soon become mandatory in Wisconsin for certain types of common structures. This facility meets both ICC-500 and FEMA P-361 requirements, demonstrating it is possible to create a large-scale safe room in a cost-effective manner.
Highland Manor Receives Excellence in Structural Engineering Award, Add One and End
As a safe room, Highland Manor can hold up to 845 individuals. When not harboring community residents during severe weather, the facility functions as a park shelter and community meeting room, making it usable by residents throughout the year.
Judging and Awards
A jury of SEA-WI professionals selected award recipients based on five general criteria, including: the structural design's creativity; technical innovations used and their influence on the project's design; the design's ingenuity for efficient use of materials and labor; how unusual problems were solved by the design; and quality of execution. The Highland Manor project, led by a collaborative and forward-thinking design team, effectively fulfills each of these criteria.
"Assemblage Architects worked with David Boldt (structural engineer of R.A. Smith National) during the design phase to incorporate the FEMA requirements and meet the building program to function during emergency weather events and to be used as a park building," said Kim Spoden, AIA, Assemblage Architects. "This challenge was met with a simple design and bank of service functions including toilet, mechanical and storage to one side. David was instrumental in working with the architect and the City architect to maintain the design intent and meet structural criteria."