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Health and Safety Services

Notice-Boards / Flyposting / Leaflets


Open notice boards are vulnerable to arson.  A fire on a notice board can facilitate the rapid spread of flames and the production of a significant amount of smoke.  Therefore, our most critical escape routes  -  staircases and dead-end corridors must be maintained free of the fire hazard presented by open notice boards.   The following guidance should assist schools and departments to decide what kind of notice board they can have in various areas of our buildings.

Before arranging to fit a new notice board in any corridor, consult Birkbeck Health & Safety Services about suitability.  Requests to our carpenters will usually be referred to Health and Safety Services but the responsibility is that of the school or department.  Inappropriately placed notice boards will be removed.

Notice boards in stairwells, stairwell lobbies and dead ends must meet strict fire resistance criteria  i.e. they must be enclosed, lockable and built of class '0' fire resisting material– note: these are expensive!

Open notice boards in corridors with escape in two directions are allowable but must meet these criteria:

  • The corridor has smoke detection in the section that is to be used for notice boards.

  • The boards are located away from heaters / radiators.

  • Only one side of the corridor is used for notice boards - and the other side is clear of obstructions. This avoids a fire crossing over to an opposite notice board

  • The corridor is more than 1050mm wide at its narrowest point. This allows persons to get past in reasonable safety.

  • The board must be managed and the person managing each board must be specified. Placing excessive amounts of material on boards may contribute to the seriousness of a fire remove old material regularly.


Sheets of A4, decorative postersetc. ,stuck onto walls and doors can also be arson fire risks. The following guidance should help but  check with Birkbeck Health & Safety Services if in doubt.

  • No material other than essential College information, such as safety information, is allowed on the walls and doors within high risk areas - staircases and dead end corridors.

  • If your office door is in a staircase or dead-end then you cannot have posters on its door. 

  • Informative and decorative posters are allowed on office doors other than as mentioned above but these must not spread to the walls of corridors. Any posters etc on walls are liable to prompt removal.

  • Some allowance is made for hirers' directional information for their delegates in two way routes but this is liable to be removed early if undated.

  • All other fly-posted material found anywhere is liable to immediate removal.

Leaflets, booklets, magazines, promotional material

Such items can also be fire hazards. Official Birkbeck material may be placed in racks sited in locations approved by the Birkbeck Health and Safety Service.

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Health & Safety Services, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX. Tel: 020 7631 6218, email: