Secure Life Homes GRID Down Homes
Licensed architects in over 17 states, engineers & builders of resilient, hardened homes, off grid homes, and other hardened structures, including shelters against severe storms, safe rooms, and nuclear fallout bunkers

Program development

Off Grid capable home design

We begin consulting services for new design clients under a predesign consulting agreement to perform the professional service of “Program Development”.

Here is an internet source to an explanation of architectural programming

There are entire books on the topic, but the above web link is a good introduction.

Programming, of any new (or remodeling) secure home seeks to define the project “scope of work” from the aspect of both human design needs to interact with the home successfully (such as design style, size, number of bedrooms, baths, site location etc. that would be part of any architect’s services). PLUS planning for the home to resist client disclosed protection criteria. The enhanced protection of a hardened or secure home needs to be designed to meet just enough protection and not more than needed to prevent wasting client time, money, and resources.

To achieve the protection criteria, we look at three broad categories:

  1. Threat Hierarchy: What are the client disclosed natural hazards and human threats to protect against, and in what intensity or severity level? If a client needs severe storm protection, then what EF or hurricane rating, or how high potential flood waters? if wildfire protection how many hours’ protection? if nuclear radiation, then how many rads per hour and just fallout or blast protection also? If ballistic protection then what caliber of ammunition? if forced entry protection, what level of tools, motivation and sophistication of intruder? For example, common property theft, vs organized looters masquerading as peaceful protesters vs. a police SWAT team are each different levels of forced entry effort, capabilities and sophistication. We also look the clients’ most likely threat events, the most devastating type, and the ones of highest priority concern to our client to determine types of protection and at what levels a project requires.
  2. Assets to protect. Human lives are the most valuable assets to protect. Next priority assets to protect include the building infrastructure and systems critically necessary to protect and sustain human lives. For example: protection of air, water, shelter from outside events etc., protection of the power system to run everything off grid, then other material assets the client discloses to us that require protection. We need to know how many people we are protecting, for how long and if the people have any special needs, medical conditions, or special skills to plan for in the home design such as medical professionals may want a mini trauma treatment room in the home, avid gardener may need a greenhouse, gun hobby person may need a shooting range underground to not disturb neighbors.
  3. Site Conditions, Broad topic, beginning where is the site, what is its size? How easy is the site to access for construction? What is the site location relative to client disclosed threats or natural hazards? What other site utilization’s are critical such as storing vehicles or growing food, how far from building supplies? For example, is there a concrete redi-mix plant less than 45 minutes away even during rush hour, or will off peak delivery, or even on site mixing of concrete be required? What about site location relative to client disclosed threat concerns? if a hurricane, tornado, flood or wildfire, how many have occurred in the past in the same country or region? What are local crime rates and other societal indicators of known or potential danger at a client site? How would we develop layers of security on site against the client disclosed threat hierarchy, and so on?

This is just a preliminary glimpse into the research needed to develop a program for a secure home. We provide documentation of our findings and recommendations in those three main categories identified during this programming phase of services to owners to confirm design intent before advancing into actual design. The owner’s response to our recommendations drives the actual start of design services, including what team of specialty consultant members we need such as blast engineers, electronic security consultants, permaculture experts, site security training experts etc. Our time working for clients to achieve this Programming phase results in a written document often over 30 pages long and is compensated as an hourly service.

I hope this is helpful information for you to consider when planning your new home, regardless of what builder or design firm you are working with, as these are the most basic questions which a professional should be asking in order to properly plan your project.

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