Following the recent earthquakes in Wellington and Canterbury, Standards New Zealand adjusted their guidelines, putting a renewed focus on improving the performance of non-structural elements, such as suspended-ceilings. The aim is to reduce injury, avoid collapsed ceilings hindering rescue efforts, and save on costs in the event of an earthquake.

The new Standard lowers the weight threshold to 7.5kg for ultimate limit state design (the measure for strength and stability under design loads).

However, ceilings cannot simply be classified as P7 (a classification of seismic resilience allowing for a lower SLS design) simply because individual components weigh under 7.5kg. The new Standard also requires that the total weight of the ceiling system must be considered.

This is a huge undertaking. The changes affect both new and existing buildings, so all buildings nationwide must be brought up to the new Standard (ULS design) by the end of 2017.

Joel Savill, National Specification Manager at Forman Building Systems, says his team have taken an integrated approach to the challenge, which means everything above the ceiling, such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing and sprinkler services needs to be considered. “It’s not just about putting in a ceiling, it’s the overall clearance space and how we factor in all the other components as well,” he says.

”We take a holistic approach to ceiling management, and are working together with other services and the architect to make sure we align all those things to avoid issues during the construction phase.”

For more information, contact Forman Building Systems – Industry Leaders in Seismic Solutions.

P: 0800 45 4000