Bunkers Inside Buildings: Jodie Foster, Panic Rooms, and how Steven Schaefer Associates of Cincy ~ the largest pure structural engineer in the Midwest ~ fits in.

Steven Schaefer Associates in Cincinnati Enquirer - 12.4.11

Engineering Risk Management:

‘Bunkers Inside Buildings’

Tornado-proof ‘safe room’ structures from Steven Schaefer Associates provide risk management to companies, homeowners 

Corporate equivalent of Jodie Foster’s hideout in ‘Panic Room.’ Sans psycho.

[CINCINNATI, Ohio ~ Dec. 4, 2011] The tornado season has once again torn through the midsection of the U.S.

In Missouri and Alabama, and even as far north as Massachusetts, tornadoes have wreaked a trail of calamity the likes of which most people will never see.


Williams College of Business, XU

At least, not until next year’s tornado season.

In Greater Cincinnati, ensconced in one of the particularly hot tornado corridors, and across the U.S., Mother Nature has spurred some business owners and homeowners to consider a new line of defense: the atmospheric/meteorological equivalent of a safe room, or “bunker within the building,” such as those designed by Steven Schaefer Associates of Cincinnati.

“Savvy business owners are using this as a tool for risk management. These are banks, financial institutions, companies charged with handling priceless, irreplaceable product, for whom facilities such as these ‘bunkers within buildings’ are a vital piece of their business,” said Jim Miller, President of Steven Schaefer Associates Inc. (www.SSAStructural.com).

The firm was recently featured in the Sunday edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer.

SSAStructural.com Prez Jim Miller at Enquirer photo shoot.

“Think of the alternative: God forbid, but if something terrible happens, you’re looking at calling hundreds of clients to tell them an irreplaceable part of their lives has been completely destroyed,” Miller said.

Most residential and commercial construction is designed to withstand 90-mph winds, Miller said; tornado-safe rooms can stand winds of up to 250 mph.

Steven Schaefer Associates Inc. is the largest engineering-only professional services firm in Greater Cincinnati, and one of the largest in the U.S.

Williams College of Business, XU

Founded in 1976 and licensed in 50 states, with a roster of 50 employees and 32 engineers, the firm is celebrating its 35th year in business this year.

35 years later, SSA projects 12 percent growth

Along with its traditional portfolio of structural engineering services, the company’s expertise in tornado-safe design – “wind-safe design,” to the professional practitioner – has buoyed it through the economic downturn.

Steven Schaefer Associates expects to post at least a 12 percent revenue increase this year, on the heels of a five-year stretch that has seen annual growth yo-yo between 15 percent down and 20 percent up.

Tornado-safe facilities designed by the firm have been built in the Cincinnati and Midwest markets. Construction has started on a $1 million South Carolina home that features a tornado-safe room designed by the firm.

Project managers from Steven Schaefer Associates have recently helped a health care client determine actual and feasible costs for a tornado-safe facility enormous by industry standards, at 15,000 square feet.

What they want is ‘the number.’ How much would it cost to build something like that big, if they could put it exactly where they wanted, versus moving everything to a place like Arizona,” Miller said.

Tornado-safe rooms are designed for two markets in general: a smaller model for the residential market, and a commercial model that ranges widely in size, based upon a client’s particular need.

And they’re not cheap.

Construction costs, on average by square-foot, will increase by as much as 100 percent or more with facilities designed to withstand 250-mph winds.

About Steven Schaefer Associates, Inc.:

Steven Schaefer Associates, Inc. began with one person, founder Steven Schaefer. The company’s structural engineers are located in Cincinnati and an office in Columbus, Ohio.

The firm employs at least one engineer licensed in every state plus Puerto Rico, as well as LEED-accredited engineers. The company’s diverse portfolio throughout the U.S. features structural projects of various sizes, complexity and materials.

Steven Schaefer Associates is the largest single-practice structural engineering firm in the Midwest, renowned for creativity, broad expertise and comprehensive expertise.

Engineers are organized into technical teams to better service clients, providing quality designs and responsive service.

For more information, please call (800) 542-3302 or visit www.ssastructural.com. Steven Schaefer Associates is located at 10411 Medallion Drive, Suite 121, Cincinnati, OH 45241.

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http://www.ssastructural.com at work: Williams College of Business, XU

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