Air Conditioning Units, Grills and Ducting Seismic Restraints

Air Conditioning Units, Grills & Ducting Seismic Restraint Installers

You may not be aware of the large air con system perched above you as air conditioning units, grills and ducting are usually hidden away in the ceiling.

Weighing between 30 and 100 kgs, these fixtures have the potential to cause major damage and physical harm.

Air con units/grills should be independently restrained, and should not be allowed to drop more than 100 mm.

They should also NEVER be fitted to a suspended ceiling.

As well as this, rigid ducting (where the hanger length exceeds 200 mm), and flexible ducting (over 1.5 m) should be restrained against seismic forces.

Damage to a suspended ceiling and ducting service caused by lack of seismic restraint in the ceiling space. (Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries of New Zealand)

Earthquake damage to a suspended ceiling and ducting service caused by lack of seismic restraint in the ceiling space

Next steps

  • You can check whether your air conditioning units, ducting and grills are seismically restrained by carefully removing a tile and looking up. 
  • Once there, make sure there is a flexible wire securing the elements to overhead structures. They should not be attached to the suspended ceiling.
  • If you do not see seismic restraints or are concerned the restraints are not fitted properly, contact an expert to assess your earthquake risk, recommend solutions according to best practice, and in compliance with NZ Building Code.

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