Planning to import, manufacture, or sell furniture in the European Union? In this guide, we explain what you must know about fire safety standards and regulations across the EU – including EN standards and national regulations in Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
- Upholstered chairs
- Upholstered stools
- Upholstered bed bases
Furniture Fire Safety EN Standards
Here’s an overview of EN standards covering various aspects of furniture fire safety:
EN 1021-1: Upholstered furniture – Ignition source smouldering cigarette
EN 1021-1 is a European standard that specifies the testing methods to determine the ignitability of material used in upholstered seating, such as fabric covers and cotton fillings for chairs, stools, and other similar products when ignited by open fire like cigarettes. This standard is only applicable to the materials instead of the finished upholster seating product.
EN 1021-2: Upholstered furniture – Ignition source match flame equivalent
EN 1012-2 is a European standard that established the testing methods to evaluate the ignitability of materials used in upholstered seating furniture, under the circumstances of encountering match flame or equivalent ignition source. This standard is only applicable to the materials instead of the finished upholster seating product.
EN 597-1: Mattresses and upholstered bed bases – Ignition source smouldering cigarette
The EN 597-1 standard lays down a testing method to determine the ignitability of mattresses or upholstered bed bases and similar products when encountering smoldering ignition from cigarettes.
Note that air and water mattresses are not under the scope of this standard.
EN 597-2: Mattresses and upholstered bed bases – Ignition source match flame equivalent
The EN 597-2 standard also focuses on mattresses or upholstered bed bases and similar products. However, in this case, the source of ignition is a gas flame.
As for EN 597-1, air and water mattresses are excluded.
Furniture Fire Safety Lab Testing
In order to facilitate the process of furniture and home products entering the EU market, it is important to conduct a product lab test beforehand. Reputable lab testing companies for furniture products include SATRA, SGS, Intertek, TÜV SÜD, and Underwriter Laboratory.
Notice that most lab tests correspond with the EN standards listed above.
Some of the most common flammability tests for furniture includes:
- Cigarette burn test
- Match burn test
- Gas flame ignition test
- Ignition resistance test
- Smoldering screening test
- Small flame test
- Reaction to heat test
- Radiance plate test
Furniture Fire Safety National Standards
DIN 4102 B1: Germany
DIN 4102-1 is a German standard that defines fire behavior classes for building materials and lays down the specified requirements and testing methods for each category of these materials.
This standard is applicable to a wide range of materials, including composite materials, coverings, and decorative materials, which are very often used in furniture products.
UNI 9175 (Classe Uno): Italy
UNI 9175 is an Italian standard that determines and classifies the flammability performance of the components of upholstered furniture and products, such as chairs, sofas, mattresses, bed bases, bean bags, and similar types of furniture.
All the components and parts of such kind of furniture are considered by this standard, including the splats, backs, and armrests.
UNI 9175 combines an ignitability test with a surface spread of flame test. The result of the test is classified into 3 kinds, from Class 1.IM to Class 3.IM. The higher the number of the rate, the greater the performance of the furniture is in terms of flame resistance.
NFP 92 501-507: France
NFP 92-501-507 is a battery of French standards that sets testing methods for decoration materials, composite materials, fillings, fabric coverings, and other components used in furniture. It includes reaction to fire, electrical burner, speed of a flame, and other testing methods
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations set the levels of flame resistance of upholstered furniture, furnishings, and all products that contain upholstery material, as well as the labeling requirement of upholstered furniture products in the UK market.
The regulation sets requirements for the fireproofing ability of each component, including specific ignition requirements, and resistance to smoldering cigarettes and match flame.
BS 5852 is a British standard that determines the ignitability of the components used in the upholstered furniture by smoldering and flaming ignition sources and the testing methods for such products.
Requirements by the standard are applicable to fabric and leather covers, interlinings, fillings, and upholstery composites.
BS 6807 is a British standard that establishes test methods upholstered divans, bed bases, and mattresses, when subjected to two flame sources, one of which has a higher intensity than the other.
BS 7176 is a British standard that assesses the inability of non-domestic (contract) upholstered furniture and classified them into four categories based on the hazard level furniture could pose to humans, therefore suggesting a suitable application environment.
According to the evaluation, the hazard categories are classified into ‘low hazard’, ‘medium hazard’, ‘high hazard’, and ‘very high hazard’.
For example, low hazard upholstered furniture is commonly used in offices and schools, the medium hazard furniture is commonly used in restaurants, hospitals and hostels, high hazard in off-shore installations, and very high hazards in prisons.
You can find more information in this article.
BS 7177 is a British standard that classified the level of flame resistance of mattresses, mattress pads, divans and bed bases and established the testing methods in accordance with BS EN 597-1, BS EN 597-2 and BS 6807.
Furniture Flammability Lab Testing
As already said for EN standards, we recommend importers and manufacturers to have their furniture lab-tested in reputable lab testing agencies, like SATRA SGS, Intertek, TÜV SÜD, and Underwriter Laboratory.
General Product Safety Directive (GPSD)
The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) is a European directive that requires all products sold in the EU must be safe for consumers to use.
The directive provides general product safety guidelines for manufacturers and importers who intend to place their products in the EU market.
In this context, importers and manufacturers shall consider all possible design flaws or risks to the consumer, including flammability risks.
We recommend importers to create a risk assessment file in order to keep track of the potential safety hazards contained in their products. As said, especially for upholstered furniture, the risk of flammability should be considered and evaluated.
GPSD testing often is not mandatory. However, importers should still refer to GPSD for general safety guidelines before importing to the EU.
GPSD doesn’t require CE marking, which is only required if your product is covered by one of the 25 CE marking directives.
Furniture covers, foam, and other materials manufactured outside the EU are not by default compliant with European fire safety standards. In fact, there are plenty of furniture manufactured in China, Vietnam, and other countries – made either for other export markets or domestic use – that don’t comply with EU fire safety rules.
We recommend that you follow these steps when importing furniture products to the EU:
- Confirm all applicable EN standards and national rules
- Inform your supplier of all relevant EN standards and national rules
- Book lab testing before mass production to verify fire safety compliance