FAQs - Seismic

Answers to your most common questions about the seismic performance of acoustical ceilings.

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Use our FAQ database to look up answers to frequently asked questions. The questions are grouped with topics of a similar nature to shorten your process.

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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 is 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 70 full-scale seismic tests offer proven safety and performance support for standard and non-standard ceilings, flexible design options, and more efficient installation designs.

The following grid systems have been tested and approved for International Building Categories (IBC) A-F

Grid Systems IBC A, B, C IBC D, E, F
AL Prelude Plus XL X  
SS Prelude Plus XL X  
Clean Room X  
Concealed Z X1  
Interlude XL X  
Prelude Concealed X X
Prelude ML X  
Prelude Plus XL FG X X
Prelude XL for Exterior Apps X X
Prelude XL X X
Prelude XL FG X X
Silhouette X X
Sonata X  
Suprafine ML X  
Suprafine XL X X
Suprafine XL FG X X
Trimlok X  
Drywall Grid System X X
ShortSpan DGS X X
1 Tested by Armstrong. Indirect systems are not covered in IBC. Report available upon request.       
Note: Check local code for installation requirements.     

What do I need to know to be able to install ceilings to meet seismic requirements?
You need to know the following:
i. With what code are you being asked to comply?
ii. With what seismic zone or category are you being asked to comply?
iii. What implementation standard will be used/accepted?

This information is available from the project design team and your local code official.

Is there a step-by-step installation procedure for seismic requirements?
Common implementation standards are IBC, 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 BERC2 system was full-scale tested on a seismic table at the Structural Earthquake Engineering Systems 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 BERC2 system solution is an “alternative construction method” properly governed by IBC section 104.11. Full-scale tests conducted validated that the BERC2 system performs in a manner consistent with the requirements of the 2000 IBC.

What documentation can I provide to a code official to prove the BERC2 system has demonstrated proper seismic performance?
The IBC code authorizes code officials to approve alternative construction methods based upon acceptable full-scale test results. 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 www.armstrong.com/seismic. Complete test results can be obtained by calling TechLine at 1-877-ARMSTRONG (276-7876).

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