The UK government has opened a public consultation on the revision of the UK furniture fire safety regulations, open to 11th November 2016.
The official consultation document states that fires involving furniture were increasing in the UK in the 1980’s, but levelled off with the introduction of domestic furniture fire safety standards in 1988 and after twenty years had fallen by nearly 40% and have continued to decline through to 2013/2014 (most recent data). The objective of the proposed regulation revision is to clarify the scope of application (items considered to be domestic indoor furniture), to enable more flexible design to maintain levels of fire safety (“ensure no reduction of safety”) whilst enabling industry to innovate new fire protection technologies or reduced flame retardant use, and to facilitate regulation enforcement. Fire testing of furniture is therefore modified to reflect more closely the materials as actually used in complete furniture items: e.g. if a protective barrier or interliner is not used, then all materials close to the covering material must be small flame (match) resistant. At present there are issues with imported furniture not respecting the UK furniture fire safety regulations (see pinfa Newsletter n° 41): this is addressed by new requirements on labelling and traceability (information held by manufacturers) and more flexible conditions for prosecution. Testing costs will be reduced for industry (e.g. cigarette test not required for covers which pass the revised match test). The consultation includes 22 specific questions concerning the proposed regulation changes. Accompanying documents present BSI FW6 comments on these 22 questions.
UK Government open consultation: “Furniture and furnishings fire safety regulations: proposed changes (2016)” – to 11th November: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/furniture-and-furnishing-fire-safety-regulations-proposed-changes-2016