Furniture Flammability Legislation For The Contract Furniture Industry

It is highly important to enforce a flammability test in a contract environment. There are various requirements and each country has its own standards that have to be met. UK has one of the most stringent regulations in the world.

European EN 1021 Part 1 and 2

The test fabric is exposed to different ignition sources, namely a burning cigarette and butane flame, to examine its burning behavior.

A test rig is constructed using foam and fabric in order to simulate a chair.

PART 1: A cigarette is lighted and placed in the crevice of the test rig in contact with both back and seat. It is left to smolder along its entire length. The fabric is observed to smoldering or flaming.
PART 2: The composed test rig is now tested with a butane flame, which simulates a burning match, to the crevice. After removing the flame, the fabric is observed to smoldering or flaming within 2min.   

Higher level standard in the UK

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1988/1324/contents/made

*Please refer to the website above to gain an in depth understanding.

 

Furniture Flammability Legislation

Furniture Flammability Legislation for the Contract Furniture Industry

Flammability testing leads to safety implications on the environment. There are various requirements in regards to fire safety in relations towards the furnishing of fabrics. Each individual country has different standards for fire regulation. Your contract furniture will need to comply with British Standards (BS), European Standards (EN) or International Standards (ISO) depending on where it is being used. The legal requirements for contract use in the United Kingdom (applicable to the furniture supplied by Instyle seating) are the following standards: EN 1021 Part 1 and 2 and BS 5852, with BS7176 also a consideration.

EN 10121-1 AND 2 (2006)

This test involves a standard test rig constructed from fabric and foam to form a simulated chair.

Part 1 (cigarette): a lighted cigarette is placed in the angle of the test rig and left to smolder along its entire length. After an hour no smoldering or flaming of the fabric should be observed.

Part 2 (match): a butane flame (35mm in height) is used to represent a burning match. It is applied for 15 seconds and after the flame is removed, there should be no flaming of the fabric after two minutes.

Higher level standards in the UK:

BS 5852 (2006) – Ignition Source 5

In BS 5852 there are eight ignition sources, among them are Ignition Source 0 (cigarette), Ignition Source 1 (match) and Ignition Source 5 (crib 5). The heat produced from the wooden crib 5 structure is 16 times more intense than a match. In order to pass the test, all flaming should cease within 10 minutes. Also, any charring should be within 100mm either side of the crib and the foam cannot be burnt through its full thickness. Please check the original document of the 1988 Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1988/1324/made). The latter apply to all persons in the business supply chain from the supply of materials for use in furniture and furnishings through the supply of the finished article. Those regulations identify 13 separate fire tests which are applicable to various furniture and furnishings.

BS 7176: (1995)

This standard is based on BS 5852 and specifies the resistance to ignition of upholstered furniture for non-domestic seating by testing composites (each composite shall be tested every 2500 units produced). The additional parameter of this test is based on defining “Hazard” categories linked directly to the combination of different ignition sources used in the flammability test.

  • The UK has harsh restrictions. In order to meet the standards the use of flame-retardant, treatments are used to enhance the flammability performance.
  • They express that by soaking the fabric in water it ensure that any fire retardant treatment is permanent.

Dust and dirt wear down the textile and also reduce its fire-retardant properties.

Fabric Flammability - General Notes:

Many textiles are flame resistant. Some fabrics are more combustible than others, there are many factors such as surface texture, the weight or even the weave will affect how easy and fast the material will ignite.

  • Wool is naturally flame resistant and is difficult to ignite. It has tendencies such as low flame spread with low heat release properties and anti-static properties which make it hard to burn.
  • Trevira CS (type of polyester) is permanently flame resistant. Due the weight and weave of the fabric it will affect how easily the material will ignite and burn. Heavy and tight weave fabrics will burn more slowly than loose weave, light fabrics of the same material. In regards to fabric structure, fabrics that are long, loose or fluffy will ignite faster than fabrics with a hard and tight surface.  In some cases if lit it will result in flames flashing across the fabric surface. In some cases, the hazard may be greater than that of either fabric individually. In such case, synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, acrylic or polyester resist ignition. However, once ignited, the fabrics melt and may cause extremely severe burns. When natural and synthetic fibers are blended, the hazard is increase due to the combination of high rate of burning and fabric melting usually will result in serious burns.
  • Cotton and linen also have a high burning rate but can be prevented by the application of flame-retardant chemical additives.
  • Acetate and triacetate are as flammable as or slightly less flammable than cotton. However, they can be made flame-retardant with chemical treatment.
  • Nylon, polyester and acrylic tend to be slow to ignite but once ignited, severe melting and dripping occurs.
  • Wool is a flame resistant. It has a low burning rate and may self-extinguish.
  • Glass fibers and moacrylic are almost flame-resistant. These synthetic fibers are designed and possess flame-retardant properties.
  • Wool is naturally flame resistant and is difficult to ignite. It has tendencies such as low flame spread with low heat release properties and anti-static properties which make it hard to burn.
  • Trevira CS (type of polyester) is permanently flame resistant. Due the weight and weave of the fabric it will affect how easily the material will ignite and burn. Heavy and tight weave fabrics will burn more slowly than loose weave, light fabrics of the same material. In regards to fabric structure, fabrics that are long, loose or fluffy will ignite faster than fabrics with a hard and tight surface.  In some cases if lit it will result in flames flashing across the fabric surface. In some cases, the hazard may be greater than that of either fabric individually. In such case, synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, acrylic or polyester resist ignition. However, once ignited, the fabrics melt and may cause extremely severe burns. When natural and synthetic fibers are blended, the hazard is increase due to the combination of high rate of burning and fabric melting usually will result in serious burns.
  • Cotton and linen also have a high burning rate but can be prevented by the application of flame-retardant chemical additives.
  • Acetate and triacetate are as flammable as or slightly less flammable than cotton. However, they can be made flame-retardant with chemical treatment.
  • Nylon, polyester and acrylic tend to be slow to ignite but once ignited, severe melting and dripping occurs.
  • Wool is a flame resistant. It has a low burning rate and may self-extinguish.
  • Glass fibers and moacrylic are almost flame-resistant. These synthetic fibres are designed and possess flame-retardant properties.