Bruce Beach Nuclear Survival Resources & Ark II Fallout Shelter Site
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Photos of Construction & Info

For free consultation on how to build your own shelter (and other free nuclear survival information) by the only non-governmental RSO (Radiological Scientific Officer) in Canada CLICK HERE.


Our reason for going into such detail about the construction of our shelter is not just to show how large and strong it is but to let others benefit from our experience.

This was the 24th shelter that the designer has personally built. He has used in other shelters almost every material and method imaginable. Wood structure and sandbags, gunite, corrugated metal, steel construction, steel tanks, concrete forms, and concrete block. The best method found to date has been the use of school buses as forms.

Mind you, one learns from experience, and there are still many things that would be done differently another time around. Mistakes had to be corrected - that now with the experience could be avoided. Still, all in all, the assessment of the Federal Government shelter inspectors who came from Ottawa to view the shelter that, "This is the best shelter that we have ever seen!", seems to be accurate.


To begin the facility, we first dug a DEEP hole. How deep the hole was, you can get an idea by looking at the road the concrete truck has to go up in the above picture. All the shelter lies below the truck and the big pile of dirt behind the truck is a very small part of the fill from the hole that was pushed back over the shelter.


The mountain of backfill gives you another idea of the depth of the hole, when you see the road used to bring the buses down into it.


Here is a picture that shows all the buses being lined up in the hole. The far bus is just being jockeyed into place. On the left of the picture are stacked up forms that are placed around the whole complex. If the buses are accurately placed, each bus acts as a form for the next, and the concrete just fills in between. This is what makes this mode of construction so strong. It is formed like a beehive, with many, many, strong cells. The civil engineer who guided this construction was the engineer who designed the subway system in Toronto and he felt that the concept resulted in an IMMENSELY strong shelter. Especially with the immense amount of reinforcing steel that we put in and the extra strength concrete that we used.


Here you see how the buses are completely gutted and stripped before being brought to the site, so as to cause no environmental damage. Their engines, transmissions, gas tanks, windows, and so forth, have all been removed at another site. They are brought to the site on their rear wheels only, and then the same tow truck takes those wheels away with it. If you look at the bus in the bottom of this picture you will see how all the windows have been sealed with fibreboard. After the concrete is poured, the fibre board and the buses remain in place. Only the outside forms will be removed.


Here you can see the outside forms being put in place and how strongly they are braced. This is VERY necessary. The buses are also greatly braced on the inside. Multiple 2 by 4's hammered together to make 4 by 8's and larger, running the length of the top inside and the floor of the bus with the same type of vertical bracing between them every 4 feet. NECESSARY, NECESSARY, NECESSARY. There is also cross bracing, at TWO levels every four feet. All this bracing is of course removed after the concrete is poured, and the AFTER the backfilling is done. The bracing is then used to build bunks and interior walls. There is not too much.


Here you can see all the buses parked tightly together, and the concrete being poured in between. The framing of doors between the buses must also be securely braced. The importance of STRONG bracing EVERYWHERE can not be over stressed. The concrete is poured over the whole complex bit by bit. Some on every side of all the buses. This is important because otherwise the weight of the concrete would cause the buses to move. Between all the buses is HEAVY wire netting to reinforce the concrete, and because this was private construction we were able to force down in TONS more of scrap steel to further reinforce the concrete.


Here you can see a close up of the pouring of the concrete. Notice the wire reinforcing rod over the top of the shelter. Every so many feet plastic and tin also had to be laid to create expansion joints. The big pumper was rented for a week, at $10K per week, and many concrete trucks were necessary to keep it serviced. One at the pumper, one waiting, one or two on the way back to the mixing yard. One at the mixing yard. One or two on the way to the pumper. From early morning till late at night. Make sure you pick a week of good weather. Talk with the airport meteorologists.


The one bus being formed up separate from the others is the fuel bus. The rest of the buses end up in one big concrete block, which then must be kept dampened and hosed down for a month to let the concrete set. After the outside forms are removed everything is sprayed with heavy black water proofing (we have never had a leak) and then the bulldozers move the top cover back into place, and after giving everything a week or two to settle we remove the interior bracing. In the following picture there is a corrugated pipe that extends up into the air to the left and in the foreground in front of the workmen. The back fill around this pipe will end up about a foot from the top so you can see how far underground the shelter is after the backfilling.

Current and Future Projects

There are always on-going construction projects to improve the facility. At the moment we are having, at the request of the Fire Marshal, to increase the security around the facilty. We are in the process of putting up a ten foot fence along with other security measures. We are also having studied the feasibility of a fire sprinkler system for the shelter.

Bruce Beach Nuclear Survival Resources & Ark II Fallout Shelter Site
Main Contents Page Here Mirror This Site At Your Website! Programming Provided By:
Civil Defense Rad Meter FAQ