Case study: California hospital's ceilings offer alternate seismic compliance path

Good looks weren't the only consideration when selecting the interior finishes at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, Calif. Ceilings also had to perform to stringent seismic standards.

By Healthcare Facilities Today
February 28, 2013

Courtesy of Chicago Metallic.

Located within a residential community, when the Marian Regional Medical Center opened in May 2012, aesthetics were a big consideration. The $210 million, four-story acute care facility's exterior matches the California Mission-style of its neighborhood in Santa Maria, Calif.

The area’s agricultural landscape inspires the interior. The finishes, furnishings and artwork highlight cinnamon, pinot noir and sage green colors. Throughout the 191-bed, nearly 240,000-square-foot building, the new hospital focuses on cultivating patient care and creating comfort within a healing environment.

But good looks weren't the only consideration when selecting the interior finishes. Following the 1994 Northridge earthquake, California passed a law requiring higher seismic standards established by the Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development (OSHPD) and the California Building Code.

Meeting the most stringent of these criteria, the medical center used an alternative construction method for its ceilings to gain installation cost savings. Chicago Metallic’s 15/16-inch 1200 Seismic Ceiling Suspension System and 1496 Seismic Perimeter Clip were installed throughout the facility. To gain OSHPD’s approval, Chicago Metallic provided detailed documentation including independent engineering analysis by a structural and earthquake engineering firm.

As an approved alternative construction method for all Seismic Design Categories (SDCs), Chicago Metallic’s 1496 Seismic Perimeter Clip attaches to a wall angle, main runner and cross-tees that support ceiling tiles. For the SDC D associated with Marian Regional Medical Center, the use of the International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) recognized, seismic perimeter clip may replace the 2-inch wall angle with a 15/16-inch wall angle and eliminate the need for spacer bars.

“Installing 2-inch wall angles is a nightmare, not just from the time and materials, but also from an aesthetic point-of-view," says Tyler Hovivian, project manager with Martin Integrated, who installed the hospital's ceilings. "When an architect or designer looks at it, they see a large obtrusive angle [and an] unevenness in the drywall. The drywall has a stringent tolerance of no more than 1/8-inch variance. With the 2-inch wall angles, the drywall looks like it undulates."

Hovivian estimates the Chicago Metallic system is three to four times more efficient labor-wise than the system prescribed by OSHPD, according to the manufacturer.

Contributing to ongoing safety, the facility and its site have been fitted with seismic instrumentation that sends real-time data to the California Geological Survey with the goals of providing early warning earthquake detection and optimizing buildings for the next generation.

Chicago Metallic

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