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solar guy
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have taken a job with a solar energy company. My past experience has been in residential construction, solar and plumbing. We have rented a warehouse space that our office will be in. Right now it is wide open and not air conditioned. We need to build some office space within the warehouse so we can have conditioned space to work. The county is requiring us to have smoke walls separating the storage area from the office space. The ceilings are 18' tall to the deck steel bar joists and a bunch of wires sprinklers etc. The office is in anne arundel County Maryland

My question is instead of taking the walls to the deck is it within code to install a drywall z bar ceiling as a smoke barrier above the office space as opposed to taking walls to the roof deck?

this would save a tremendous amount on relocating space heaters etc.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

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solar guy
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
it is similar to a fire separation wall but with no long term fire rating EG 2 hours etc. Designed to keep smoke from penetrating from storage area to office area. I never heard of this either. Fire separation walls are already in place between tenant space.
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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If that's the case why can't you use a plastic sheet. That will keep the smoke out. What smoke are we talking about anyway. These guys smoking stogies in there?
 

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Tech Geek
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I've always had to take them all the way up. Is there a way to divide the area (between the warehouse and offices) with 1 rated wall and shorter walls as the office partitions?
 

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Yes you should be able to do that, most of the warehouses are like that around here.

In our warehouse I made the ceiling joists over the office as floor joists so I could use the space above the offices for storage.
 

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solar guy
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've always had to take them all the way up. Is there a way to divide the area (between the warehouse and offices) with 1 rated wall and shorter walls as the office partitions?
this is what they are specifying. the office space is pretty open and the additional walls are twice the area of the ceiling.
 

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solar guy
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes you should be able to do that, most of the warehouses are like that around here.

In our warehouse I made the ceiling joists over the office as floor joists so I could use the space above the offices for storage.
This was my first choice but the slab is not rated to mezanine the space so storage above is not an option. However I see no difference between this and 16 feet tall steel racks.
 

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My question is instead of taking the walls to the deck is it within code to install a drywall z bar ceiling as a smoke barrier above the office space as opposed to taking walls to the roof deck?
I don't quite understand your scenario as you describe it, but I would think that any smoke wall or smoke curtain must be taken all the way to structure top. You could take it to the bar joists, but the space above the bottom flange must be impenetrable by smoke.

Or are you thinking of using a hard lid on your office space, and using that as a smoke separation? If so, that would be up to the AHJ
 

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Tech Geek
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So I would just build the 1 tall wall then have the ceiling guys come in and grid out the entire office space (fast and cheap if that's what you're looking for). Then attach all of the office walls to that. I guess I'm just not understanding what your reasoning is for wanting to drywall all the ceilings verses building one tall wall.:confused1:
 

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solar guy
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Or are you thinking of using a hard lid on your office space, and using that as a smoke separation? If so, that would be up to the AHJ
Yes this is what I had in mind. Since I do not own a copy of the IBC will this satisfy the code requirement? BTW what is tha AHJ I am a little slow tonight.
 

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AHJ: Authority having jurisdiction

I'm thinking that you are going to have to build a wall that is for all praticle purposes a demising wall between the offices, and the wharehouse. This wall should go to the pan deck ceiling, and probably have a top track built as a deflection track. The GWB may have to scalloped to meet the pan decking.

Hopefully, the AHJ will expect much less
 

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solar guy
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
AHJ: Authority having jurisdiction

I'm thinking that you are going to have to build a wall that is for all praticle purposes a demising wall between the offices, and the wharehouse. This wall should go to the pan deck ceiling, and probably have a top track built as a deflection track. The GWB may have to scalloped to meet the pan decking.

Hopefully, the AHJ will expect much less
This is exactly what they are talking about and will be a ROYAL PITA to do around all the existing wires pipes etc. Was hoping to avoid this.
 

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This is exactly what they are talking about and will be a ROYAL PITA to do around all the existing wires pipes etc. Was hoping to avoid this.
It's really common in commercial work. Slow, and you'll need a lift. Some sprinkler heads may need to be moved due to the new walls. Here, a head can't be withing 6" of a wall. But I'm sure you'll have quite a bit of sprinkler work if a new grid ceiling is going in.
 

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solar guy
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's really common in commercial work. Slow, and you'll need a lift. Some sprinkler heads may need to be moved due to the new walls. Here, a head can't be withing 6" of a wall. But I'm sure you'll have quite a bit of sprinkler work if a new grid ceiling is going in.
We have already accounted for the sprinkler work and it is a lot as we will need them both above and below the drop ceiling.

There is a bathroom in the warehouse space with a hard lid and that seemed to pass will have to go the
permit office and whine.
 

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There is a bathroom in the warehouse space with a hard lid and that seemed to pass will have to go the permit office and whine.
1) Depending on the size of the offices, building a full height demising wall may be cheaper than building an extensive hard lid. Especially when the added work for all the other trades are factored in.

2) It is still unclear what a "smoke wall" is. I assume that it is local vernacular for a one-hour rated demising wall. But it may mean something else.

3) The fact that the bathroom passed with a hard lid probably has no bearing on the offices. The bathroom probably has a limited occupancy, and its use is transitory in nature ( it is in limited use). The occupancy of an office area is entirely different, and the concerns of the building and fire codes towards the occupants of these offices are of an entirely different nature than those posed by in the warehouse setting.
 

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I'm curious how this ended up working out for you. I am currently running into a similar situation. I want to suggest to my Architect that we install a 2 hour rated ceiling about our storage space to encapsulate any potential smoke issue.
 
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