Installation is subject to the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and, in the U. S., must meet the standards listed in the section below at a minimum.
One disadvantage with this ceiling system is reduced headroom. Clearance is required between the grid and any pipes or ductwork above to install the ceiling tiles and light fixtures. In general, a minimum clearance of 100 to 200 millimetres (4 to 8 in) is often needed between the lowest obstruction and the level of the ceiling grid. A direct-mount grid may work for those who want the convenience of a dropped ceiling, but have limited headroom. Stretch ceiling supports require less than one inch of vertical space, and no space is required for tiles to be lifted out with a stretch ceiling, but a greater clearance space may be chosen to allow room for MEC or for aesthetic reasons.
In the United States the cell size in the suspension grids is typically either 2 ft × 2 ft or 2 ft × 4 ft and the ceiling tiles are the same size. In Europe the cell size in the suspension grids is 600×600 mm, while the ceiling tiles are slightly smaller at 595mm x 595mm or 595mm x 1195mm.
Drop out ceilings have a further advantage in that they can be mounted underneath fire sprinklers, thus hiding the sprinklers for a more attractive appearance. When installed underneath fire sprinklers, certain requirements for materials, applications, installation, and maintenance of drop out ceilings must be met in order to comply with fire safety regulations. (The white paper Drop-out Ceiling Panels–A Discussion on Their Use With Fire Sprinklers, referenced by the article, is available here).
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