ENSURE YOUR NOTICE BOARDS ARE FIRE SAFE
Internal burn testing of a Class D fire rated board compared with a widely available unrated notice board made from virgin wood fibre board demonstrates the potential danger of non-compliant notice boards. Although the board appears to have almost stopped burning once the fabric covering has burned away, within a minute the hazard has become considerable, with the notice board material itself providing additional fuel for the flames and acting as kindling to propagate the fire.
NOTICE BOARD FIRE REGULATIONS – IGNORING A HIDDEN FIRE HAZARD
Over the past decade, awareness of fire regulations around notice boards in UK buildings has become so low that many people have no idea they are buying or installing notice boards that do not meet fire regulations and could contribute to the spread of fire through a building. Many notice board retailers and even manufacturers have so little understanding of the regulations and the risks of not adhering to them that unrated board, or boards tested to wrong or incomplete standards, are widely available in the UK marketplace, even in county council catalogues supplying directly to schools, charities, and government agencies.
Many notice boards bought and installed by teachers, nursing home managers, hospital purchasing departments and even contractors have been sold as fire rated but have only had the fabric tested, not the notice board material itself. Fabric coverings are only tested against the surface spread of flame (BS476 Part 7). In order to meet UK Building Regulations, notice boards must also be tested for the ignition of fire (BS476 Part 6) which measures the flammability of the notice board core.
Boards tested to the Harmonised European standard, BS EN 13501-1 have been certified against the single burning item (SBI) test EN 13823 AND the ignitability test EN ISO 11925-2. The board must be certified to a minimum of BS EN 13501-1 Class D to be suitable for use in a building in the UK. (SBI) test EN 13823 alone is not sufficient.
The material inside most cheap and imported notice boards is virgin wood fibre board which is also sold as a firelighter due to its superior combustibility. As the video above indicates, choosing incorrectly fire rated notice boards for your building can create a hidden fire hazard that could have catastrophic consequences.
NOTICE BOARD FIRE TESTS – BUILDING REGULATION REQUIREMENTS:
Notice Boards are identified as wall linings and the required regulations can be found on page 24 of Approved Document B, Volume 1 (Dwellinghouses) and on page 64 of Approved Document B, Volume 2 (Buildings other than Dwellinghouses). Further advice on the use of notice boards in schools is also given in the BB100 guidelines for schools.