Cloud ceilings are ceiling panels that sit beneath the structural ceiling of a room or space and are seen increasingly in commercial and industrial buildings. “Cloud” panels range in area from discrete ceiling panels with large spaces in between, to close-to-full-room-area contiguous coverage with small gaps at the perimeter wall location. NFPA 13 does not have definitive guidance on automatic sprinkler installation requirements for these ceilings and in some conditions requires sprinklers at both the structural ceiling and cloud ceiling panel elevations. Recent NFPA 13 change proposals were rejected based on a lack of validation of modeling results.
The objective of this project is to obtain an understanding of how cloud ceiling panels impact sprinkler actuation thresholds with an overall goal to provide the technical basis for sprinkler installation requirements. A primary focus is determination of sprinkler installation requirements for large contiguous “clouds” with a specific objective of determining the maximum separation distance between the wall and cloud edge at which structural ceiling sprinklers are not necessary/effective.
Both fire modeling and full scale testing will be conducted.