Tackling Wooden Ceiling Cloud Craftsmanship Challenges

On the Moorhead Recreation Center project, The rolling, off-set ceiling system consists of custom-made 4 X 8 wooden panels running lengthwise across the room and sandwiched with a weighted insulation system encapsulated in black vinyl.

Each lengthwise run of panels hangs independently of those adjacent to it. All ceiling lighting, HVAC, and fire protection systems run through the panels which hang from a stainless steel suspension system. Each penetration had to be the exact thickness of what runs through it. Installer and supplier, SRB Acoustics custom CNC- machined 1,000 acoustical holes in each of the 42 runs of panels. To properly install this sophisticated system, Pinkard had to first re-engineer the garage door system that was originally designed to roll up above the panels but blocked MEP and fire system runs. Next, we re-engineered the ductwork to allow the slot diffusers room to properly penetrate the panels. And finally, Pinkard and SRB Acoustics had to drastically modify the other trades’ ceiling system work plans because typical work sequencing was not possible. Typically, each MEP and fire subcontractor goes into the ceiling and works until the job is done. Ceiling panels come last and enclose the work that was done above it. It’s efficient and simple, and subcontractors base their profit plans on this approach.


But with this ceiling system, because all MEP and fire systems had to go through each panel, we had to install one length of panels, allow each trade to do their runs through the panel, then start over with the next length.


Senior PM Derek Stathis: This installation required some unbelievable trigonometry and geometry skills to figure out exactly would hand, and it was tough to get the trades to wait for each other during installation. But we had thought it through in bidding and had given warnings about how complicated it would be. However, when we started buyout, we saw it was even more complicated than we first anticipated. Getting these trades to patiently work together was a great team-building experience.”


Project Architect JesseSherr: That ceiling had the highest level of difficulty — we couldn’t anticipate how much difficulty there was going to be. And yeah, it came out so great.

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