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The Furniture Retail Quality Group best practice guide - flammability testing

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The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, amended 1989, 1993 and 2010, have been implemented in the UK for over 20 years. The Regulations contain requirements for the ignition resistance of upholstery components.

The procedures for assessing the ignition resistance of upholstery components, required by the regulations, are contained in a series of Schedules. These Schedules call up various British Standard test methods which detail the methods by which testing to prove compliance with the regulations is to be conducted. The methods contained within the cited British Standards are further modified by the wording within these Schedules. 

The test requirements for different upholstery components can be difficult to understand without considerable experience. Overall the specified test procedures are reasonably clear on how the testing should be performed. However a small number of uncertainties exist, pertaining to the testing and the regulatory requirements, which cause concern to the industry especially where reproducibility between testing laboratories is concerned.

This best practice guide draws upon experience gained by retailers, test organisations when conducting ignition tests for the industry and other interested parties, since the introduction of the regulations over twenty years ago, in order to demonstrate compliance with the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations and simply aims to identify and document a series of ‘best practice rules’ for upholstery suppliers and laboratories worldwide to reduce any uncertainties and enhance reproducibility. 

Note: More information on the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations can be found in the British Furniture Confederation’s document ‘Fire safety of furniture and furnishings in the home. A Guide to the UK Regulations’

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