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Product Safety - Upholstered Furniture  

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993)

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989 & 1993 require that upholstered furniture, upholstery and products containing upholstery supplied in the course of a business must meet fire resistance requirements.  Supply includes in the course of providing furnished accommodation or holiday lets and to letting agents as well as landlords or holiday let owners. 

What items need to comply?

The Regulations apply to any upholstered furniture manufactured after 1st January 1950 intended for use in a dwelling including:

All types of upholstered seating including chairs, settees, padded stools and ottomans. Children's furniture, foot stools, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, bean bags and floor cushions nursery furniture and upholstered items designed to contain a baby or small child. Domestic upholstered furniture that is supplied in kit form for self-assembly. Second hand furniture Upholstered head-boards, footboards and side rails of beds.

Furniture for use in the open air (garden and outdoor furniture) which is suitable for use in a dwelling (homes or caravans) such as conservatory furniture

Upholstery in caravans (although not vehicles or boats) and Cane furniture which includes upholstery.

Divans, bed-bases, mattresses, pillows, and mattress pads (toppers) scatter cushions and seat pads (FILLING MATERIAL ONLY)

Permanent covers for furniture (textiles, coated textiles, leather etc) Loose and stretch covers for furniture.  Covers for non-visible parts of furniture

Foam and non-foam filling material for furniture

 What items are not covered?

Upholstered furniture manufactured before 1st January 1950

Materials used solely to recover pre -1950 furniture

Sleeping Bags

Bed Clothes or Duvets

Loose Mattress Covers

Pillow Cases



What do I need to do?

Since 1993, all new furniture is manufactured using combustion-modified foam and the covering materials are resistant to ignition.  It should bear one of the following labels:

A N Other Ltd AB1 2XY
AB 1234
1 March 1990
This article contains CM foam Which passes the specified test Upholstery is cigarette resistant
All cover fabric is cotton and is Match resistant
This article does not include a Schedule 3 interliner

Batch/ID No DF 1234
To comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations: This article does not include a Schedule 3 interliner
All foams, fillings and composites have been Tested to ensure compliance with the relevant ignitability test. All covers and fillings have Been tested to ensure that they are match Resistant
Further details are available
from your retailer

Check all items of upholstery and keep a note in an inventory that you have checked it.

Labels can usually be found either under the main seat cushion or on the base of the furniture. It is good practice to leave labels attached as this is the best way to show compliance.

What happens if it has no labels?

Serious doubts will exist that it will comply and our advice would be to remove it and replace it with an item that does meet the fire resistance requirements.

Do these labels appear on beds and mattresses?

Unfortunately they do not.  However BS 7177:1991 requires that beds are labeled with a warning.  The warning takes the form of a cigarette symbol and flame and the words ‘compliance with BS 7177:1991 for domestic use (low hazard)’.

What happens if I do nothing because it is costly to replace furniture?

The worst scenario would be that, as a result of a failure to replace non-complying furniture, someone renting your property was seriously injured or indeed died as a result of fire involving the furniture. This is something everyone would wish to avoid. In addition, the penalties for non-compliance are severe.

Who else is affected by the Regulations:

The Regulations apply to all persons in the business supply chain - from the supply of materials for use in furniture through to the supply of the finished article as well as re-upholstery and re-covering. They affect:

Persons who supply furniture, furnishings or re upholstery services including Manufacturers, Retailers and Importers

Persons who supply filling materials and fabrics to the furniture industry or direct to consumers

Persons who supply re-upholstery and re-covering services

Persons who supply second-hand furniture in the course of business or trade (e.g. auctioneers, charities)

Additional Reading

Bunk Beds
General Product Liability
Glass in Furntiure

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