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Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 as amended

Two stakeholder workshops (one in London and one in Manchester) were held in February 2020, which confirmed OPSS’s proposed new approach based on outcome led essential safety requirements (ESR’s), supported by new standards. The aim of any new regulation would be to maintain the current level of fire safety, principally to prevent ignition and spread of fire whilst secondarily encouraging a reduction of chemical flame retardants and attempting to remove barriers to innovation.

Due to Covid-19 crisis OPSS have been revising their timetable and does not expect to have new regulations ready until 2022 the earliest. OPSS said that they have evaluated stake holders’ views and the evidence available to identify their next steps. The next step is seeking appropriate expert advice and commissioning additional research to inform the policy development. They have categorically stated that there will not be an open call for applicants; expert advice will be sought and used to help inform specific technical and scientific aspects of the policy. Based on the research commissioned the government will form their policy only after then they will be seeking further consultation from the stake holders and other experts. For the time being, they anticipate the consultation stage to start late 2021.

OPSS have tasked BSI to develop new standards to support the new regulations (but these will be voluntary rather than mandatory). However, BSI cannot start work unless they know what the ESR’s are. The process developing new standards can take 18 to 36 months.

The message remains that, for the time being, the existing Regulations will continue to apply.