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Furniture and Fire Safety

If you are creating a commercial hospitality venue of any sort, you are legally obliged to address the issue of furniture fire safety. Everything that could affect the chance of fire - and that alters the chances of safe escape - needs to be considered. This list includes the materials used in the building, escape routes, fire detection, fire fighting (sprinkler systems, extinguishers...) as well as the contents of the building, which obviously includes furniture.

In 2006 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order was introduced. This requires that all commercial premises undergo a fire risk assessment, that needs to be carried out by a 'responsible person'. So this person needs to understand about how likely furniture is to catch fire - technically known as its 'ignition resistance'.

To see examples of how treated fabric better resists fire, click here or here -  the first is a fabric company, the second a FIRA [Furniture Industry Research Association] webpage

Exactly what ignition resistance is appropriate is determined by the use of the premises for which it is intended - this is set out on the chart below. To see an example of 'Crib 5', click here.

Other considerations include

note: article continues below this table...

Furniture Fire Safety

 ...and what is Class 0 (and classes 1,2,3 and 4)?

Class 0 is the most rigorous of five category levels (0-4), which are part of BS (British Standard) 476. This concerns the lateral spread of flame along vertical surfaces - walls and wall hangings. It is not directly relevant for furniture although occasionally materials that are being used in furniture and might also be used on walls and wall coverings (mainly fabric, but also lacquers etc) may be needed to conform to one of these classes.

 

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