Class 0 & Class 1 are fire ratings that we are occasionally asked for. Below is an explanation of the terms and how they apply to contract furniture.
What is Class 1 Fire Rating?
Class 1 is the highest rating in British Standard 476 (part 7) fire resistance classifications, which measures the spread of flame along the surface of a specimen of a building material (positioned vertically). A Class 1 building material/product will have achieved the lowest flame spread (classes 2 to 4 are progressively less fire-resistant).
Class 1(or 2, 3 or 4) is generally applied to materials making up the structure of a building, often internal walls, for instance giving a high level of protection to high-risk areas such as fire escape routes.
What is Class 0 Fire Rating?
A Class 0 fire rating is part of UK building regulations for fire safety within and around buildings, covering material such as wood and wood-based wall coverings and internal linings. A Class 0 material must not only achieve a Class 1 classification for spread of flame, but also BS 476 (part 6) Fire Propagation Test, which measures the amount of heat released.
How do Class 0 and Class 1-4 Fire Ratings apply to contract furniture?
BS476, including the classifications of Class 0 and Classes 1-4, is not a standard that is designed to include contract furniture. In addition, the test that results in a fire rating of 1-4 is carried out on the surface of a material only, so it is not possible to test an item of furniture in the manner required for the furniture to gain a rating.
We are occasionally asked if furniture can be supplied that complies with one (or more) of these ratings. We can treat a table top with a fire-resistant lacquer or paint that would in theory mean that the top surface would gain a Class 1 rating. Two words of warning though – the table as a whole (or any other piece of furniture) will never conform to BS476, and the (fairly soft) lacquer that makes a surface more fire-resistant is not robust-enough for anything other than occasional use.