Design & Refurbishment Specialists

UK Fire Regulations for Contract Environments

What this Page Tells You

In the UK, fire regulations for domestic environments are well established. Our article about these can be found HERE. Contract environments on the other hand, must follow a more strict and detailed set of regulations in order to protect the health and safety of guests and staff.

Contract fire regulations can be confusing and it is important that you comply. Therefore, this handy guide will aim to answer all the top questions you might have.

 


Which Regulations Must be Followed? 

This article will discuss the RRFSO Regulator Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 and associated BS Standards 7176 and 7177.

The RRFSO does not dictate the exact standards that each item of furniture must follow. Instead it focuses on the prevention and protection. This centres around the Risk Assessment completed by the Responsible Person.

Requirements of the RRFSO

The RRFSO requires that all premises must have:

  1.  A Responsible Person  – the individual who must carry out a fire risk assessment.
  2.  A Competent Person  –  an individual who has sufficient training and experience to undertake the prevention and protection measures.
  3.  A Fire Safety Risk Assessment – analysing the action, people and contents of their premise.


It is Worth Noting:

Under the RRFSO, local fire authorities are no longer responsible for providing fire certification for premises. They will inspect the Fire Risk Assessment completed by the Responsible Person ensuring they:

  • Have been conducted and or approved by the Responsible Person
  • Are comprehensive and accurate
  • Are up to date

Who is the Responsible Person?

The RRFSO dictate that each business must appoint a “Responsible Person”. This individual is usually someone who owns the premises or business, or who takes control for the daily activities within the organisation. This Responsible Person is accountable for the fire safety of the premises and all contents (including furniture).  As furniture is viewed as a source of ignition and fuel for fires, all furniture must be controlled and considered.

The Responsible person is responsible for implementing and complying with all regulations, accepting full corporate liability for the premises.



How does the RRFSO affect Furniture and Furnishings?

The RRFSO dictates that a comprehensive fire risk assessment be completed. This must include:

  • Material and constructions use
  • Provision of escape routes
  • Fire detection methods
  • Fire fighting systems
  • The building contents

Once these aspects are analysed, an environment is rated low, medium, high or severe hazard. For example a prison, where residents are not able to escape quickly or easily would be severe risk. Off short installations are considered high risk.

The hazard level then dictates the ignition levels that furniture must be tested to, meeting the appropriate safety standards for their final use environment.


I have Completed my Risk Assessment and Assigned a Hazard Level to my Business. Now what do I do?

Once you know the hazard level of your environment, you must shop for appropriately manufactured furniture and furnishings. Furniture is separated into Non Domestic Seating, Beds & mattresses and Soft furnishings.


The Standards

Non-Domestic Seating BS 7176: 2007 + A1: 2011

Compliance with this standard requires three key elements:

  • Meeting the technical requirement for ignition resistance
  • Frequency of Testing
  • Product Labeling

Guidance is provided for the Responsible Person to identify the Hazard Area Classification. Many factors influence the severity of risk such as occupancy rate, ease of evacuation, detectors and alarm systems. Activities such as cooking, low lighting, live flame effects, drinking, gambling or the use of a space after dark also affect the hazard rating.

 


Mattresses, Mattress Pads, Divans and Bed Bases  – BS 7177: 2008 + A1: 2011

Compliance with this standard requires three key elements:

  • Meeting the technical requirement for ignition resistance
  • Frequency of Testing
  • Product Labeling

As with seating, a thorough knowledge of the end use environment is required so that an appropriate ignition resistance can be specified.


Fabrics for curtains, drapes and window blinds – BS 586: Par 2 2008

BS 5867 was updated and republished in 2008. The standard sets requirements for different ignition levels of fabrics and fabric combinations for use as curtains, drapes and window blinds, including the combinations of curtains and linings.

Compliance with this standard requires three key elements:

  • Meeting the technical requirement for ignition resistance
  • Frequency of Testing
  • Product Labeling

In order to establish the required ignition resistance for curtains, it is necessary to have thorough knowledge of the end us environment so that a suitable assessment can be made.

 


Labeling

You will know that a product has been manufactured to these standards based on labeling used. No matter the supplier, you are unlikely to be guaranteed full compliance. Therefore labels often state “ this item complies with the ignition resistance requirements XYZ, XYZ hazard level”. In some circumstances labeling is not possible. For example, built in booth seating. This should be assessed and overcome by the Responsible Person is and when the situation arises.

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