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Secure Suspended Ceilings

Suspended ceilings and overhead lighting fixtures typically fail where anchorage is poor, or the runners that support the panels and lights are too weak to withstand lateral earthquake forces. Unbraced suspended ceilings can swing independently of the supporting floor and be damaged or fall. Installing ‘four-way’ diagonal wire bracing and compression struts between the ceiling grid and the supporting floor will significantly improve the ceiling’s seismic performance. In addition to the struts, the connections between the main runners and cross runners should be capable of transferring tension loads. 

Effectiveness:

  • Somewhat to very effective depending on strength of ceiling grid.

Limitations:

  • Splices and connections of the runner sections that comprise the ceiling grid may need to be strengthened. 

Secure Overhead or Pendant Lighting Fixtures

During seismic shaking, overhead lighting fixtures can fail when the suspended ceiling sways and distorts. Electrical wires are often the only support for these fixtures. Independent wire ties connected from each fixture corner to the supporting floor can be added. Also, safety wires can reduce damage. Threaded metal conduit can protect the wiring and support the fixture, and wire straps or cages may prevent fluorescent tubes from falling. 

Effectiveness:

  • Very effective.

 

 

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© Randolph Langenbach

M-Arch (Harvard), Dipl.Conservation (York, England)


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