Bulletin Boards in Corridors

Q: What is the requirement for bulletin boards in exit corridors? I heard from another hospital that bulletin boards greater than 4 square feet must be protected with glass. Is this true?

A: Not according to the 2000 edition of the LSC, but perhaps that hospital was referring to a local or state requirement. The 2000 edition of the LSC is rather quiet on the subject of bulletin boards, so authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) that enforce NFPA codes and standards use their own interpretation for guidance. Some AHJs use section 19.7.5.4 as a guide to determine if there are sufficient quantities of combustibles that a hazard of a spread of fire is possible. I’ve seen other AHJs use section 17.7.4.3 which allows up to 20% of the wall surface with artwork and teaching materials, but that only applies to Day-Care Occupancies, and I don’t know how they make the jump to healthcare occupancies. Some AHJs use section 10.2.5 which allows up to 10% of the wall surface to be Class C where Class A and Class B finishes are required. But that provision was to allow wood trim around doors and windows or chair rail moldings. The bottom line: This is not an exact science. Since the LSC is not specific, it is up to the AHJs to interpret how to enforce it. Since the typical hospital has 5 or 6 different AHJs that enforce NFPA codes and standards, you will have to comply with the most restrictive interpretation, so I suggest you be conservative on this issue.