By Chris Hickman

I recently visited QAI Laboratories in Rancho Cucamonga, California, to observe a new ceiling support and restraint product in testing to obtain California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development’s (OSHPD) Preapproval of Manufacturer’s Certification (OPM). OPM is the coveted certification that makes use of a product or material configuration easier to apply to a hospital project, thereby reducing time and cost. The testing is an integral part of the OPM certification process to demonstrate that theoretical performance is proven in field conditions. A representative from OSHPD was also on hand to ensure the testing was being performed in accordance with the requirements.

I was intrigued to learn about this product —GRIDLOK® by TRACKLOK LTD — which was developed in New Zealand in response to its devastating Christchurch earthquake of 2011. The product allows metal studs to be used in lieu of splay wires, thereby reducing the quantity of braces and increasing the distance between them. The manufacturer’s experience is that the metal studs, in concert with the GRIDLOK device, has far superior performance in earthquakes than the conventional approach.  This could have a meaningful impact to hospitals in the U.S. prone to earthquake damage.

“Any new product that promises to make buildings perform better is worth a second look — and when cost neutral, it’s a no-brainer, in my opinion” Hickman said. “The collateral benefits of reducing ceiling conflicts is an added bonus.

“I’m looking forward to seeing this product adopted into projects in the U.S., along with its sister product, BRACELOK®, which has similar promise for lateral bracing of non-structural partition walls,” he continued. “I am encouraged that new products are coming to market to improve the performance of buildings, as well as offering a form of pre-fabrication which is much-needed in our industry.”

To learn more about seismic preparedness, check out my blog “Seismic Preparedness in the Pacific Northwest: It’s Time to Get Ready”, which includes key questions to ask now about seismic preparedness.

At Petra, we’re all about creating better — for our clients and the patients we ultimately all serve. Our team of experts ensures your next facility project meets tomorrow’s healthcare needs by delivering holistic, innovative solutions with the benefits of long-term sustainability and flexibility for the future. Contact us today to learn more about seismic preparedness and compliance for your hospital or health system.

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