Skip to main content

Furniture and Fire Regulations

Furniture is not just about aesthetics and comfort; it also plays a crucial role in safety, particularly concerning fire hazards.

When furniture catches fire, it can have devastating consequences. The materials commonly found in furniture, such as upholstery foam, wood, and synthetic fabrics, are highly flammable and can ignite quickly. Once ignited, the fire can spread rapidly, producing toxic smoke and gases that pose a serious threat to occupants.

In addition to the immediate danger to human life, furniture
fires can also result in extensive property damage. Moreover, the toxic fumes
released during combustion can impair visibility and hinder escape efforts, making it challenging for individuals to evacuate safely.

Legislation and labelling. 

In the UK, furniture must meet specific flammability standards outlined in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended) which significantly reduce the speed and which furniture will ignite and flames spread.

All furniture meeting the regulations will have fire safety labels affixed somewhere, including on mattresses.

Damaged Furniture

Damaged furniture, particularly if it affects fire-resistant material coverings or exposes the stuffing / frame can pose significant safety risks. Avoid using damaged furniture, especially if it compromises its structural integrity or fire-retardant properties. Putting a decorative throw over furniture will not reduce the fire risk.

Heirlooms and antique pieces

Heirloom furniture often holds sentimental value and pre dates fire safety regulations. Where possible owners should implement any necessary upgrades to enhance their fire resistance while preserving their historical integrity. Even if the furniture can’t be upgraded, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be removed from the property.  This will all depend on the fire risk assessment and what other measures can be put in place to mitigate the risk.

Reupholstered furniture

Many pieces of furniture are reupholstered, and it is important to know that the fabric used meets the required fire resistance standard.  If using a professional tradesperson they will usually use the right fabrics. However if you are providing your own or doing it yourself, and it’s for a commercial premises, then fire resistant fabric should be used.

Fire Resistant Fabric Sprays

These may be used on pieces of historic furniture where the type of fabric is not known. They are products designed to enhance the fire resistance of textiles such as clothing, upholstery, curtains, and other fabrics. These sprays typically contain chemicals that help inhibit or retard the spread of flames when applied to fabrics.

The effectiveness of fire-resistant fabric sprays can diminish over time due to factors such as, exposure to sunlight, and general wear and tear. Some sprays may need to be reapplied periodically to maintain their fire-resistant properties.

These are not a solution to replacing furniture but may allow an owner to keep a particular item of furniture in situ.

In conclusion

Navigating furniture fire regulations involves a combination of understanding safety standards, inspecting labels, maintaining furniture, and making informed choices when purchasing or handling pieces, particularly heirlooms.

Replacement, repair or upgrading should be led by your fire risk assessment, if there are any concerns that your furniture does not meet the required standards.

Need to know more, get in touch


Popular posts from this blog

EICR’s & Electrical Installation Certificates for Short Term Lets

What is an EICR? Electrical Installation Condition Report is an electrical safety certificate to show that all the fixed electrical equipment that is supplied through the electricity meter has been tested.  It’s basically the hard wired system through your property. Consumer board This is different from Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) which covers portable equipment and appliances such as washing machines, hairdryers, kettles and tv’s, and will be covered in a different blog post. Do Short Term Lets need an EICR? In short yes, Scotland is the only part of the UK where an EICR is mandatory for any short term let property.  Why do we need a certificate? Faulty electrical installations can cause electric shocks and fires by generating high temperatures. The risk of fire and shock can be reduced by ensuring the electrical installations and appliances are safe. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service figures for 2022 – 2023 show that 12% of accidental house fires and 6% of deaths are a resul

Fire Doors - The basics

  A closed door can play a major role in preventing the spread of fire, smoke and hot gasses, but doors are not all equal with some made of flimsy egg box constructions, or single panel wood, others with standard glass.   What is a fire door? Purpose made certified Fire doors are designed to resist fire and prevent the passage of smoke and hot gasses for a designated period of time.   Delaying the spread of fire can enable people to escape a building safely and compartmentalise a higher risk area. Doors can be made of steel, wood or glass, providing they are made to the appropriate standard. These are different from final fire exit doors and are found internally in a building. How do I know if it’s a fire door? Every fire door will have a label, often on the top edge of the door or along the hinge side.   The label will state the fire resistance rating, usually FD30 (30 minutes), FD60 (60 minutes), or even FD 90 & 120. Other features include, intumescent strips and cold smo