FAQs

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Furniture Fire Safety FAQs

If you’re involved in the manufacturing or sale of furniture – especially where it is upholstered – then you may have questions regarding fire safety regulations. Here, we answer some of the more frequently asked questions regarding furniture fire safety.

What are my responsibilities as the manufacturer when asked to use customer-supplied materials to create furniture?

In this instance, it is you who is the responsible party for ensuring the materials you use are in line with regulations. There should be a certificate from the supplier to show it conforms, and where this is not provided, you will require additional material for testing.

What are my responsibilities if I’m an importing retailer?

Because you are the first supplier of the materials for the UK, you are responsible for ensuring the items are tested and that they comply with regulations. You will also need to keep a record of compliance tests for these items. The same applies if you are an importing agent – unless you are only passing orders back to the foreign source.

What is a UKAS accredited laboratory?

UKAS stands for United Kingdom Accreditation Service, and a UKAS laboratory is one which meets the BS EN ISO/IEC 17025 international standard. Essentially, any UKAS accredited laboratory can legally carry out testing for materials in relation to furniture fire safety.

Do I need to perform a cigarette test for every cover and filling in my range if I manufacture domestic upholstered furniture?

While all materials do need to be tested, it has been agreed that this is sometimes unrealistic. The alternative is to provide the worst case test. Using the filling most likely to catch flame from cigarettes.

How long should upholstery fabrics which have been treated with flame retardant finishes be expected to retain those properties?

The flame retardant properties should be kept for between three and six cleans – wet or dry. Different cleaning processes will impact this differently, so cleaning instructions should be provided at point of sale.

Are upholstered pet beds required to meet regulations?

There is some confusion about this, with some pointing to the fact they don’t fall under the remit of the regulations, while General Product Safety Regulations may come into play and require pet beds to meet Schedule 1 if they contain foam.

Do throws need to comply with regulations?

Being classed in a different category, these items do not necessarily need to comply, but if they are designed to be used as domestic covering for seating – say over a sofa – then they should be marketed and regulated as such.

Is inflatable furniture subject to regulations?

Plain, unadorned inflatable furniture does not need to comply with regulations, but those which come with fillings or materials as part of the structure do.

What rules apply to office chairs for a home study?

For any chairs of this type being sold to the domestic market must comply with regulations, whereas those sold to non-domestic markets would not have any requirements for labelling. It is recommended, however, that any foam should be compliant with Schedule 1.

Are there regulation requirements for wheelchairs?

A regular wheelchair will usually be covered through BS ISO 7176-16: 1997 for resistance to ignition. If the wheelchair in question has more upholstery than usual, this may mean it should be considered an upholstered chair and may be subject to regulations.

What are the Ignition Sources in the British Standards related to?

  • Ignition Source 0 – This means a smouldering cigarette was used to test the item
  • Ignition Source 1 – This means a small gas flame was used to test the item, similar to a match
  • Ignition Source 2 – This means a large gas flame was used to test the item, a more intense version of Source 1
  • Ignition Source 5 – A crib of wooden planks is used here, with propanediol added and ignited with a match to simulate a far more intense fire
  • Only when there is no smouldering or flaming on the upholstery in these tests will it receive a recorded pass.