Legal requirements about the fire-resistance of furniture specified for the UK hospitality industry are contained in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) – which is not to be confused with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations (FFFSR), covering furniture for domestic use.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO)
The RRFSO states that every building needs a Responsible Person who is responsible for deciding furniture ignition-resistance. These decisions are made as part of a wider-reaching fire risk assessment, covering:
- Construction & materials used
- Provision of fire escape routes
- Fire detection
- Fire fighting systems
- The building contents (which includes furniture)
This all-encompassing approach means that the RRFSO does not actually specify precise ignition resistance requirements for furniture.
British Standard BS7176
British Standard BS7176 is available to guide the Responsible Person (who is often the owner of a building or business). BS7176 is a UK-only testing standard (it has no EN in the title) which is used to test the ignition-resistance of seats in hospitality premises. There are three different types of test procedure:
Smouldering cigarette test (BS EN 1021-1:2006)
Match flame test (BS EN 1021-2: 2006)
Smouldering and flaming ignition sources test (BS 5852: 2006)
The last of these is tested using small stacks of wood - eg. a Crib 5 or a Crib 7 stack.
If a product passes a particular test, it is categorised according to the table below.
BS7176 also groups types of premises, categorising them by the level of fire hazard (how high the fire risk is perceived to be), again set out on the table below.
The table gives a clear guide for the Responsible Person (and a good indicator for specifiers of furniture in general).
The Contract Chair Company will supply fabrics and foams that meet the fire-resistance requirements that are specified to us. We can also arrange for most fabrics to be treated to increase their fire-resistance - view our blog on treating fabric to Crib 5.
If fire-resistance requirements are not specified it is important to note that we are not required by law to supply furniture that would pass particular fire-resistance tests.
With thanks to Paul Vaughan from FIRA for contributing his expertise to this article.
Furniture fire safety training
We're more than happy to answer any questions you have on the information above. We know that fire regulations and furniture ignitability requirements will vary from project to project and it's important to get it right. We also offer design practices free CPD training on health and safety topics such as fire retardants and furniture testing. Learn more here.