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When to opt for a Ceiling Electrical System

It is possible to install a ceiling electrical system to avoid invasive renovation works: let’s see when and how to do it

During a renovation, when it is not possible to pass corrugated pipes and tubing under the floor, it is necessary to evaluate alternative solutions such as creating the ceiling electrical system. What are the disadvantages? Is it always possible to do it? Find out more in this article.

Ceiling electrical system

In the panorama of renovations, the installation of the ceiling electrical system has evolved more and more, from a mere alternative linked to the impossibility of creating floor systems, to a prestigious choice increasingly widespread even in new construction, especially related to the construction of offices and shops.

Inspectionable dropped ceiling in tiles

Inspectionable dropped ceiling with tiles

Traditionally, the focus has always been on floor systems or, alternatively, on visible electrical systems. Lately, the trend has shifted towards installing a ceiling electrical system, which utilizes the void between the floor slab and the false ceiling to allow the passage of conduits. This is due to the increased attention towards designing plasterboard false ceilings, which are increasingly requested by clients, especially for aesthetic rather than functional reasons. It is worth noting that nowadays, it is rare to plan renovation or repurposing projects for interior spaces without including false ceilings, cornices, and dropped ceilings.

The construction of the false ceiling has thus become a key element of modern renovations with the aim of characterizing the environments and accommodating spotlights and LED strips for effective and impactful lighting. Therefore, why not take advantage of this process already included in the costs to also implement the ceiling electrical system? Adding vertical conduits and branching conduits during the false ceiling installation phase is an efficient way to reduce costs and simplify the overall process.

This approach not only ensures significant time and cost savings compared to traditional floor system installations but is also extremely versatile, especially when choosing not to replace the flooring or carry out overly invasive work.

In many cases, it represents the only feasible solution for carrying out work on systems (refurbishment, upgrading, etc.) with minimal impact.

It is indeed possible to design aesthetically pleasing solutions that can conceal the passage of conduits. It is not always necessary to lower the entire ceiling. Often, perimeter cornices or targeted interventions in strategic positions are sufficient.

How to design a false ceiling | Render made with Edificius

How to design a false ceiling | Render generated with Edificius

Does this type of system comply with current safety regulations? The answer is yes, as long as it is installed correctly on adequate support systems, such as walkways or pipes, appropriate junction boxes are used, and an inspection hatch is included to ensure access to the system components when needed for maintenance.

ceiling panel

ceiling panel

Using a MEP software for designing a Ceiling electrical system

Using a BIM MEP systems software for the design and maintenance of a Ceiling electrical system offers numerous advantages both during the design phase and in the management and maintenance phases.

During the design phase, the software allows designers to create detailed three-dimensional models of the Ceiling electrical system, integrating them with other MEP systems (mechanical, electrical, plumbing), architectural elements, and the building’s structural elements. This allows for a better understanding of the interaction between the various components of the system and the building structure, reducing the risk of errors and conflicts during construction. From the 3D model, it is possible to evaluate the correctness of aesthetic and functional design choices, such as the minimum height in the false ceiling, the positioning of light points, and the aesthetic rendering of the false ceiling.

In fact, the BIM-MEP integration allows modeling both the false ceiling, entering into style and design choices, and the elements of the Ceiling electrical system with the same software. The result is a complete 3D model ready to be used for the automatic creation of project drawings, renders, schedules, and tables to present the project exhaustively.

During the maintenance phase, the MEP model provides a complete database of information on the Ceiling electrical system, including details on components, scheduled preventive maintenance, safety instructions, and access to historical maintenance records. This greatly simplifies the planning and execution of maintenance activities, allowing for timely interventions and reducing system downtime. Furthermore, integration with real-time monitoring technologies allows for the early detection of any anomalies or failures, enabling quick interventions and minimizing impacts on operations. Ultimately, the use of BIM-MEP software for the design and maintenance of Ceiling electrical systems represents a valuable investment that leads to more efficient design, simplified management, and greater long-term system reliability.

Pros and Cons

If you have never considered a Ceiling electrical system, here is a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of this solution.

Among the main benefits, there is the possibility of modernizing the system without having to face invasive works that involve moving furniture, demolishing portions of walls, and, above all, removing the floor and screed. This reduces both the time and the overall costs of the renovation, as well as avoiding the inconvenience of living with a construction site at home. Furthermore, the Ceiling electrical system offers a clean and modern aesthetic, allowing for the placement of strategic lights and spotlights that can improve room lighting and create captivating visual effects. Additionally, by installing the electrical system above the false ceiling, the need to create traces on the underside of the slab, otherwise necessary for positioning ceiling lights, is also avoided.

false ceiling project

False ceiling project

However, there are some disadvantages to consider. The main limitation is the reduction in room height caused by the creation of the false ceiling, which could be problematic especially in environments with already low ceilings or close to the limit of habitability.

This difficulty could be overcome by avoiding an overall lowering and providing only perimeter soffits or targeted lowering for housing the cables.

Furthermore, the construction of metal structures and beams to support the system requires careful and professional work, while the plasterboard ceiling must be made with high-quality materials to ensure its strength and durability over time. Moreover, this solution is not applicable in contexts where the visibility and integrity of the ceilings need to be preserved, such as in the presence of frescoes, vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, etc.

Finally, in both solutions, it is essential to obtain a Certificate of Conformity to ensure that the electrical system is installed according to current safety regulations.

Carefully considering these pros and cons is crucial to make an informed decision about implementing a ceiling electrical system.