Design & Refurbishment Specialists

UK Fire Regulations

Why We Have Regulations. 

The UK introduced furniture fire retardant regulations following the Woolworth’s fire of 1979. This massive fire impacted the lives of over 500 customers, in the store when the fire took place. The poor viability and vast plumes of smoke created a chaotic environment in which 10 people died and 47 were hospitalised. It was later found that the extreme, black smoke that caused the poor visibility was created by the poor quality, unregulated foams in the furniture fillings within the store.

Following the fire, Chief Fire Officer, Bob Graham, led an investigation with the government. In 1988 The UK Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations came into effect.


Which Products Must Comply with the Regulations?

The following products must adhere to the Fire Regulations:

A small selection of products do NOT need to comply: Sleeping bags, bed covers, duvets, curtains and carpets.


Who is Responsible for Ensuring Regulations are Followed?

The regulations apply to all persons in the business supply chain, from the suppliers of raw materials, through to the supplier of the final product.

Manufacturers, importers, wholesales, retailers, furniture hire companies, second hand sellers and re-upholsterers must all ensure products they provide consumers comply with the appropriate regulations.


Which Part of The Furniture Must Comply?

The regulations apply to furniture fillings and cover materials. Any braiding, decorative trims or other removable features do not need to comply with regulations. Springs used in seating, mattresses etc are also exempt from these regulations.

 

a basic bed base with mattress and simple bedding

Mattresses and Bed-Bases

The Regulations apply to the filling materials of these items.

The cover fabric and ticking are subject to the requirements of BS7177.

a cane armchair with two beige cushions

Cane Furniture 

Furniture with a cane-based structure must comply with the regulations.

Despite cushions on cane chairs often resembling scatter cushions, they must be treated as fixed upholstery items for testing.

 

a designer headboard with scatter cushions and table

Headboards

Headboards must follow the Regulations. The fabric used for the front and back of any headboard are both considered “visible” fabrics for the purpose of the testing and as such, must both follow these Regulations.

 

a futon style sofa bed shown with three cushions

Sofa Beds, Futons and Other Fold Outs

Any product that can be used as seating must comply with the requirements of the Regulations.

Any element that can be used as a sleeping surface (mattress), the fillings must comply with the requirements of the regulations. The covering and ticking must comply with the requirements of BS7177.

scatter cushions shown with a book and candle light

Pillows, Scatter Cushions and Seat Pads 

The filling materials of pillows, scatters of seat pads for the use on wooden chairs must comply.

If the item has a fixed cover, then the fillings, together with the cover must pass the Regulation tests. The Regulations do NOT apply to the decorative cover of scatter cushions and seat pads, or to the covers of these items that are sold separately.

a stylish dog bed with comfortable dog lounging

Pet Furniture 

Although General Product Safety Regulations cover safety for humans and not animals, as these products are often used within the home environment, fillings should comply with the Regulations to protect human life.

This is especially recommended for pet furniture designed to look like “real furniture” that is then more likely to be used by adults and children.

a beanbag chair sitting on wooden floor

Beanbags and Floor Cushions 

The Requirements apply in full to these items including filling and case.

A scatter cushion is considered a floor cushion when it is over 60cm x 60cm in size.

A sofa style futton bed with scatter cushions in grey

Loose and Stretch Covers for Furniture

Any cover that is supplied separately from the furniture falls into this category. Loose covers must meet the match test requirements outlined in the Regulations.

Stretch covers that meet the elasticity requirements of BS4723 must meet the modified match test outlined in the Regulations.

Removable covers are classified as permanent covers for the purpose of the Regulations.

The Regulations do NOT apply to loose covers for mattresses and bed-bases.

 

Requirements of the Regulations

There are 7 sections within the Regulations. These are named “Schedules”. Each must be considered depending on the product / filling type and risk level of your business environment.

  • Schedule 1 –  Foam Fillings
  • Schedule 2 –  Non-Foam Fillings
  • Schedule 3 –  Interliners
  • Schedule 4 –  Cigarette Test
  • Schedule 5 –  Match Test
  • Schedule 6 –  Labeling Requirements – Display Swing Tickets
  • Schedule 7 –  Labeling Requirements  –  Permanent Labels

 

Schedule 1

This test involves evaluating the extinguishing speed and smoldering rate of foams. This applies to regular foam slabs, crumb foam fillings and latex based foams. The sample must self-extinguish within 120 seconds of removal of the ignition source.


Schedule 2

This test must be conducted for any fillings material that is not foam based. This includes fibres, feathers, polystyrene balls etc.


Schedule 3

This test applies to Interliners. Interliners are the fabrics that sit between the top fabric and lining. All interliners must be tested using the ignition source 5 test, also known as CRIB 5 test.


Schedule 4

This test applies to all visible covers such as decorative cushions covers. These fabrics must pass the cigarette test when tested in conjunction with either the actual filling materials that would be used with the cover fabric or a filling material that is representative of what it might be used with normally, such as FR Foam.


Schedule 5

NOTE – for visible cover fabrics, there are two routes to compliance.

    • Route 1 – the fabric must pass the requirements of Schedule 4 Part 1 and Schedule 5 Part 1. (cigarette and match tests)
    • Route 2  –  The cover material must pass the requirements of Schedule 4 Part 1 and is used in conjunction with an interliner that has passed the requirements of Schedule 3.

Route 2 can only be taken if the fibre content of the cover fabric is at least 75% by weight: cotton / modal / flax / silk / viscose / wool.

Visible covers must all pass the CRIB 5 match test. The full details of this are available HERE.

Non-Visable covers, including dust covers, or the fabrics on the underside of chairs and stools, must be tested to a modified cigarette and match test.

                What is the modified test?

  • Schedule 4 is modified as there is a water soaking treatment to the fabric, removing any non permanent / non-durable FR treatments.
  • In Schedule 5, there is no water-soak procedure and the test is carried out over combustion modified FR foam.

Schedule 6

Display Swing Tickets (loose hanging labels) must be placed on all furniture except, mattresses, bed bases, pillows, scatter cushions, seat pads and loose cover / stretch covers.

All other furniture must display a label at the point of sale. The Regulations contain full-size illustrations for display labels in colour. Furniture sold as part of a collection, such as a three piece suite, must display a label on each product in the bundle.

    • If Schedule 5 Route 1 has been taken, and the cover satisfies both the cigarette and match test requirements, then a green product label must be used.The graphic portion must be at least 50 x 50mm.
    • If Schedule 5 Route 2 has been taken, then the product must be labelled with the red warning triangle. These labels must be attached in a prominent position so it is clearly visible to a potential purchaser, with easy to read text on both sides.

Schedule 7

All upholstered furniture must carry a permanent label indicating that the product complies with the Regulations. This must be securely attached, meaning it cannot be removed without causing damage to the product or label. It can appear on any external surface of the product.

All words and numbers must be in a font size of AT LEAST 10 point, (or 2.5mm high).

Furniture sold as part of a collection, such as a three piece suite, must display a label on each product in the bundle.


 

BS7176  –  Specification for Resistance to Ignition of Upholstered Furniture for Non-Domestic Seating

Hazard Category Examples

 

BS7177  –  Specification for Resistance to Ignition of Mattresses, Pads, Bed Bases and Divans

Hazard Category Examples

 

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