Recent experiences have shown that ceiling damage can result in property and functionality loss, injury or even death. This can occur at levels of shaking smaller than those required to produce noticeable structural damage. Despite their frequent use in
New Zealand, many suspended ceilings that experienced damage in the past earthquakes lacked either proper seismic design or efficient installation. There is also an increasing concern about the inconsistency of the limit state applied for the design of ceilings.
This study looks into the gaps and issues currently present in the seismic design and installation of suspended ceilings in New Zealand. In order to provide an inclusive background, the existing standards and guidelines for design and installation of ceilings both available in New Zealand and worldwide have been reviewed. Through this
comparative study, areas of similarity and discrepancy have been identified, along with
the ambiguities and gaps which define the extent of research required. Investigations have also been performed on the seismic design approaches of proprietary suspended ceilings. This study mainly addresses the residential and commercial suspended ceilings provided by two major ceiling manufacturers in New Zealand. The capacity of either ceiling
system has been evaluated through component based fragility studies. The comparison of the current systems’ capacity with the New Zealand code prescribed demand provides an objective understanding of the performance of the existing system. Moreover the efficiency of the assigned design limit states can be better evaluated.
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