The UK furniture industry is fully aware of the established Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988/89 and 1993 governing the safety of upholstered products for the domestic sector. Tests are based on BS 5852 : Parts 1 & 2 (ignition sources 0 and 1 – cigarette and match) with foam filling materials required to resist ignition sources 2 (match) and 5 (wood crib). Loose covers and throws should be match resistant, and all convertible furniture must meet the relevant requirements specified in BS 5852.
Upholstery for the contract sector falls within the building contents section of The Regulatory Reform (Fire) (Safety) Order, and the nominated ‘person responsible’ is accountable for ensuring that the relevant levels of fire resistance are met.
The British Standard Specification BS 7176: 2007+2011, divides the requirement for non-domestic seating into four sections, as follows:
- Ignitability requirements;
- Durability of treatment;
- Frequency of testing;
Fabric Flare is primarily concerned with meeting the requirement of sections 1 and 2, and the ‘Duraflam®’ System has been developed to satisfy the categories of each hazard type: low, medium and high.
Ignitability is measured in terms of the upholstered composite, with the cover and filling material tested together.
The tests for measuring ignition resistance are:
- For cigarette resistance – BS EN 1021-1
- For match resistance – BS EN 1021-2
- For resistance to larger flaming sources – BS 5852
The durability of a fire retardant treatment applied to reduce the ignitability of the upholstered material, is assessed by a water soak procedure, as described in BS 5651: 1989, before the material is conditioned and tested.
The Reform Order has changed the previous approach of certification and licensing to one of risk. Essentially, all premises or sites to which members of the public have assess, are required to undergo a fire risk assessment carried out by the nominated ‘responsible person’, and the requirement brings fire safety more into line with the discipline of health and safety.