Seismic Frequently asked Questions for Contractors

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Seismic > Frequently asked Questions for Contractors

Which grid products can be used for seismic applications?

The International Building Code (IBC) is based on flat, level suspended ceilings with panels supported by the grid on all four sides.

Since ceiling panel performance and non-tee bar suspension systems are not well defined in the IBC requirements, Armstrong has partnered with the State University of NY at Buffalo to test both standard and non-standard ceiling systems for seismic performance. The results of more than 120 full-scale seismic tests offer proven safety and performance support for standard and non-standard ceilings, flexible design options, and more efficient installation designs.

Click here for a list of Armstrong Seismic Tested Products.

What do I need to know to be able to install ceilings to meet seismic requirements?
You need to know the following:
i. The building code that is currently in use in your jurisdiction.
ii. The seismic design category for the building where the ceiling is to be installed.
iii. Installation standards that can be used or are accepted in your jurisdiction.

This information is available from the project design team and your local code official. This information is available in the general information section of the specification and in the general notes on the structural drawings.

Is there a step-by-step installation procedure for seismic requirements?
Common implementation standards are IBC, the CISCA Seismic documents, UBC 25-2 and ASTM E 580. The implementation standards are straightforward. Please contact our TechLine department at 877-ARMSTRONG if additional assistance is required.

How do I know what code my state or local municipality has adopted?
Contact your local government office and ask to speak to someone about building permits and construction requirements.

Is there an installation alternative to 2” wall molding in IBC seismic categories D, E and F?
The Armstrong BERC2 system offers the alternative of 7/8” wall molding and no perimeter stabilizer bars (versus 2” wall molding with perimeter stabilizer bars) with verified performance and superior aesthetics. The BERC2 system complies with IBC as an alternative material or method with code official approval. Section 104.11 of the IBC code provides for “Alternative materials, design, and methods of construction and equipment.” Section 104.11.1 authorizes building code officials “to require tests as evidence of compliance” in order to substantiate claims for alternative materials or methods.

If the code requires 2” wall molding, how can Armstrong offer an alternative using 7/8” wall molding?
The Armstrong Seismic Rx  system was full-scale tested on a seismic table at the Structural Earthquake Engineering Laboratory at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The appropriate section of the IBC code (Section 104.11) allows code officials to consider alternative construction methods. The Seismic Rx system solution is an “alternative construction method” properly governed by IBC section 104.11. Full-scale tests conducted validated that the Seismic Rx system performs in a manner consistent with the requirements of the 2000 IBC. In addition, our documentation of the performance of this assembly has been submitted and accepted by ICC-ES and these alternate designs are included in our evaluation report (ICC-ES-ESR 1308)

What documentation can I provide to a code official to prove the Seismic Rx system has demonstrated proper seismic performance?
Local code officials should be directed to the ICC-ES's web site:, where they can search evaluation repots by manufacturer (Armstrong) or by report number (ICC-ES -ESR 1308)

Click here for more Seismic Installation FAQs.

Armstrong has made these test results available to you for code official to review. Test summaries and seismic literature can be found on our web site at Complete test results can be obtained by calling TechLine at 1-877-ARMSTRONG (276-7876).


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