Fire & safety regulations

This guide explains the latest fabric fire and safety regulations as well as our fire retardancy ratings.

For upholstery fabrics

Fabric used to make the following products is not required to meet any fire standards and does not need to have any fire rating:

  • Curtains
  • Blinds
  • Bed clothes (duvets/pillowcases)
  • Cushions (for domestic use)

Important: If you are buying fabric for upholstery use, please read the following safety note. There are laws in the UK about the safe use of fabrics for upholstery. For upholstery that was originally made after 1950, you must abide by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations when re-covering upholstered furniture, including nursery furniture and headboards. Outside the UK, you should check your national regulations. Except for certain contract applications, curtains, blinds, bedcovers and cushions are not covered by the regulations.

Our Fire Retardancy ratings

We have given our fabrics a Fire Retardancy rating as follows:

Not Rated

The fabric has not been tested for its ability to withstand fire. Fabrics that are not rated can only be used for upholstery if they are first chemically treated with a fire retardant treatment. Chemical treatment consists of either soaking the fabric in a fire retardant chemical or back-coating it with fire retardant. These treatments are quite straightforward but are not suitable for every fabric (particularly very fine fabrics, voiles, polyesters, acetates and some velvets).

Requires Schedule 3 Barrier Cloth

Cigarette tested fabrics (a laboratory test simulating a smouldering cigarette) that are made of at least 75% natural fibres (cotton, linen, viscose, modal, silk, wool) will comply with the regulations if the upholstery item is first covered with a barrier cloth (schedule 3 interliner).

Match Tested

The fabric can withstand a naked flame test. Match tested fabrics meet the regulations for normal domestic upholstery.

Crib 5

A more stringent laboratory test that certifies the fabric’s fire retardant properties as suitable for all upholstery and particularly in areas of risk such as public buildings.

Further advice

Upholsterers are obliged to abide by the regulations and will be able to advise you further. For hotels, nursing homes, public buildings and similar vulnerable interiors, you are advised to contact your county fire officer. Requirements will depend upon the exact circumstances, may include other items, such as curtains and can be complex and stringent. Fire Officers are usually very helpful when consulted. You can find a detailed guide at www.bis.gov.uk or contact our customer service team for further advice.

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