Flammability Testing

Why test furniture for flammability?

Flammability regulations for the UK were brought in to help save lives and prevent injuries through reducing the number of fires that involve furniture.

Flammability requirements for domestic furniture - All upholstered furniture for the home (domestic sector) MUST legally comply with the UK’s ‘Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations'.

Flammability requirements for contract furniture - Flammability Standards also exist for contract and office furniture and, although not covered by the above-mentioned regulations, are no less important. Compliance with these Standards is essential and will, in the majority of cases, be a requirement of tender documents.

FIRA undertakes flammability testing for products for both the domestic and contract markets.

There are a series of Standards and regulations applicable to the flammability of furniture and the exact requirements can be difficult to ascertain.

FIRA’s experts are able to discuss each specific situation and make the appropriate recommendations - contact us or request a quote

Complying with the UK’s flammability regulations

The ‘Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations' apply to all items of domestic upholstered furniture - that is furniture that has on it somewhere a padded area consisting of a cover over a resilient filling - including children’s furniture, sofa-beds, futons, bed headboards and garden furniture which could be used in a private dwelling.

Fillings used in mattresses, divans and bed bases (when upholstered) also fall within the scope of the regulations, as do scatter cushions, pillows and covers.

The regulations cover a number of issues including:

  • all filling materials must meet specified ignition tests
  • all upholstery must be cigarette resistant
  • upholstery fabrics must be match flame resistant
  • furniture must be permanently labelled
  • furniture must be display labelled
  • furniture suppliers must maintain records for five years

Mattresses, divans and bed bases

Mattresses, divans and bed bases as a final item do not fall within the UK Furniture and Furnishings Regulations, but it is recommended that they are tested to comply with the relevant standard, BS 7177, to demonstrate the product is safe in accordance with the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

Importing furniture covered by the UK’s flammability regulations

It is the first importer into the UK, whether from in or outside the EU, who is responsible for ensuring that a product complies with the appropriate flammability requirements.

Performance levels for testing chairs and seating

The test methods and performance requirements vary depending upon the end use of the item concerned:

  • Domestic use
  • Low hazard contract use (such as offices)
  • Medium Hazard contract use (such as hotel bedrooms)
  • High hazard contract use (such as prisons and army barracks)
  • Very high hazard contract use (such as oil rigs)