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Your Position: Home - Textiles & Leather Products - Why is it necessary to use fire retardant fabrics within commercial projects?

Why is it necessary to use fire retardant fabrics within commercial projects?

We all know that when furnishing tenanted and residential accommodation the right type of furniture in terms of style, durability, price and quality are important. However, when considering the specifics of the furniture it’s vitally important to consider the fire retardancy of your communal furniture in case of a fire .

Why is fire retardant furniture important?

British standards have strict regulations that all contract and commercial interiors are required to adhere to. As a landlord or accommodation provider you have a legal and moral obligation to ensure the health and safety of those living in or staying in your accommodation. This is especially important where those residents are the most vulnerable. By ensuring furniture and furnishings utilise fire retardant fabrics, you are maximising health and safety and minimising risk that fire may pose.

What is it important to think about?

One of the most important features of contract and commercial interiors fire regulations revolves around the use of fabrics used in both upholstery and soft furnishings and drapery. Contract Furniture providers such as FRC Living and Buckingham Interiors use only inherently fire-retardant fabrics to Crib 5 standards in all of their furniture and furnishings.

What is the impact of not choosing fire retardant furniture?

The difference between fire resistant and non-fire-resistant furniture is extremely significant. Using fire- or flame-retardant fabrics helps in two ways: They burn slowly / self-extinguish and so limit the spread of fire. They help reduce the heat build-up and so prevent rapid fire development. Flame retardants provide residents with a critical layer of fire protection and can be vital to reducing the risks associated with fire.

What standards are there for fire retardancy?

Bs5852- this is the cigarette and match test, this is the minimum standard fire Retardant for the UK and is law.

A smouldering cigarette and a lit match are put along the crevice of the test rig and allowed to burn over its entire length. If no flaming or progressive smouldering is observed on both cover and interior material, the test is recorded as no ignition and the material passes the test. This test or standard is also known as Bs7176- Low Hazard Test, this is equal to Bs5852 Cigarette and Match Test.

Crib 5 – this is required by Insurance Companies for all Public Places

Bs5852 Crib 5- this is the contract standard and is not law. But if you are a business you may need to have this standard to ensure you are acting with due diligence. A crib is composed of wooden planks, glued together. Lint is attached to the bottom. After adding propane, the crib is placed on the test rig and ignited with a match. If no flaming or progressive smouldering is observed on both cover and interior material, the test is recorded as no ignition and the material passes the test. This test or standard is also known as Bs7176- Medium Hazard Test, this is equal to Bs5852 Crib 5 Test and the Cigarette and Match Test.

All of Buckingham Interiors and FRC Living contract standard products meet these fire retardancy standards.

Suggested reading:
Heat Resistant and Flame Resistant Fabrics 101

What about the cost?

Many insurance policies will become null and void should fire retardancy not have been a consideration in furnishing an accommodation, as this is part of your obligation to minimise risk as the owner or manager of a residential property. This means not purchasing contract furniture and furnishings which are fire retardant can be an expensive and risky choice, as no insurance means you can end up footing the bill as well as potentially facing court summons for negligence. To be sure what the fire-retardant requirements are for your premises, you need to check with the insurance company that insures the property. The question about cost here is, can you responsibly afford not to purchase fire retardant furniture to the right standard?

How can I be sure I have fire safe furniture and furnishings?

Finding a supplier who provides stylish, long-lasting, fit for purpose, and safe furniture and furnishings, such as FRC Living or Buckingham Interiors, will minimise the risk of fire, and fulfil your obligations to ensuing the safety of your tenants and residents.


Contact us if you’d like to know more or check out our examples of sample furniture online and build your very own wishlist!

Business owners of hospitality, healthcare and other organisations have a duty of care to ensure everything in their power is done to reduce the risk of fire and improve the safety of their guests, staff and residents alike. Fire safety in non-domestic buildings, which includes care homes and hotels, is controlled by the Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order 2005. In short, the order imposes a duty on the operator of the building to take responsibility for fire safety – this includes ensuring soft furnishings and fabrics meet British Standards.

The UK standard for flame retardancy is BS5867, Part 2B means that an item can be washed 12 times and still passes the fire-retardant test, while Part 2C relates to inherently flame retardant fabrics; these can be washed up to 50 times and continue to be fire resistant.

Unawareness or avoidance of the flame-retardant furnishing regulations can have devastating consequences. A shocking and sombre reminder of the devastation hazardous fire can have on inadequate materials is the tragedy of Grenfell Tower. The speed in which the fire engulfed the building, the little chance of escape for the more susceptible being confused or less agile. This is a stark reminder to choose the right fabrics.

A simple change to flame retardant British Standard certified fabrics will reduce fire risk in any environment. All Bespoke by Evans flame retardant fabrics are designed and digitally printed within the UK and can be used for bedding, curtains and chair.

Why is it necessary to use fire retardant fabrics within commercial projects?

The Importance of Inherently Fire Retardant Fabrics





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