Get rid of drop ceiling in apartment building?

4 Replies

We are about converting 9000 sq ft of office space into residential apartments on the 2nd level of a commercial building.

Right now its all drop ceiling. Is this a no-no in apartment buildings?

We are pretty much reconfiguring the entire space to get the apartment layouts we want so I figure if we are taking down most of the walls then we should do the ceiling. But the ceiling track is all intact so I want to be 100% sure before we demo.

What are your thoughts on drop ceiling for apartment building? Is it even allowed? 

Hi Adam, I would look at local ordnances and building codes. As you're changing the property type, I might involved a legal team that focuses on municipality regulation to make sure multifamily is allowed in that zoning district, the density you're planning for is allowed, and to understand the exemption process if needed.

Hi Adam,

Check with a local architect re Fire Codes, etc...

Also the area above the ceiling tiles may be the HVAC plenum. Ask about that also.

Good Luck!

@Adam Craig I’d imagine you’d need demising/fire rated walls between apartments. Having an open plenum above the ceiling probably wouldn’t fly.

Once you’re cutting tracks to install new walls, the ceiling might as well come down.

But of course, that’s a building/fire code issue that you may be able to work around (?).

Not even regarding the fire code requirements, which I believe requires fire walls between all units. Consider that unless your new walls go up to a hard ceiling surface there are noise and security issues. Someone from an adjacent unit could just pop a ceiling tile and climb over the wall into the next unit.  I’d not want that in any unit I was renting and don’t think any of my tenants would either. 

So then you are cutting the grid for all common walls. Probably doesn’t make sense to repair all that.