Are you planning to import and sell wooden furniture in the European Union? In this article, we cover the EUTR, REACH, GPSD, EN standards and other requirements applicable to wooden furniture.
- Wooden chairs
- Wooden tables
- Wooden bed frames
- Wooden cabinets
EU Furniture Fire Safety Standards
There are two types of fire safety standards in the European Union, that are harmonized and national standards. Note that these fire safety standards generally apply to furniture fabrics and filling materials that may be included with some wooden furniture. Further, harmonized standards apply to all EU countries while national standards only apply to individial EU countries.
In general, fire safety standards depend on:
- Type of furniture (e.g. upholstered, non-upholstered)
- Material (e.g. fabric cover, leather cover, polyurethane foam, and other filling materials)
- Area of usage (e.g. residential, commercial or public usage)
Harmonized standards are developed by recognized organisationS such as CEN, CENELEC, or ETSL.
Here are some harmonized standards that apply to wooden furniture:
- EN 1021-1: Ignition source smoldering cigarette
- EN 1021-2: Ignition source match flame equivalent
- EN 12520: furniture strength, durability, and safety
National standards are developed by national standardization bodies (NSBs) in each EU country. Here are some examples of national standards for wooden furniture:
- DIN B1: Germany
- NFP 92 – 503: France
- BS 5852:1990: United Kingdom
- CSR RF 1/75 A: Italy
Note: National standards may apply additionally to the harmonized EU standards. We suggest that you should confirm all applicable harmonized and national standards via local authorities or compliance companies.
Furniture Flammability Lab Testing
Importers don’t need to keep track of those applicable fire safety standards. Instead, testing companies can provide EU furniture flammability testing for your product. We recommend that you book a lab testing before importation.
Materials used in furniture production outside Europe is not necessarily made to comply with EU fire safety standards. It’s therefore important to communicate all relevant fire safety standards to your manufacturer before entering production, and follow-up with fire safety testing before shipment.
European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR)
EUTR regulations cover a wide range of timber products placed on the European Union market, which includes plywood, paper, flooring, and wooden furniture. Under the EUTR regulations, importers need to undertake risk management exercises to minimize the risk of illegally harvesting.
Importers must obtain all supply chain documentation including purchase records and certification for EUTR compliance. Here is some required information when importing wooden furniture to the European Union:
1. Overview of subcontractors (e.g. Sawmills and loggers)
2. Location of subcontractors
3. Invoices and other support documents
4. Risk assessment
2. Recycled wooden furniture is exempted from EUTR.
More Exempted Products
- Medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture
- Clothing hangers
- Smoking pipes
- Printed materials
- Bamboo furniture
You can find more exempted products on this page.
It’s often difficult for importers to provide subcontractors information as some factories may not be able to provide such information. Further, some inexperienced factories may fail to establish a verifiable traceability system as required under EUTR.
As already said, establishing a traceability system could be challenging for importers. Meanwhile, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) provides responsible management of the world’s forests including the traceability system. Importers can refer to the FSC system to establish its own traceability system.
1. Trade-in plants & plant products from non-EU countries (Link)
2. Requirements of timber products in the European market (Link)
REACH regulation applies to all consumer products including wooden furniture sold in the European market. REACH set limits to the certain substance contained in the products, such as pollutants, additives, coating, and heavy metal.
Note that your wooden furniture, such as bed frames or tables, shall not contain an excessive amount of restricted substances, otherwise, it is illegal to sell in the European Union.
Here are a few examples of regulated substances:
Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC)
The EU provides Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on its website. The candidate list will be updated on an irregular basis, hence, it is important to be aware of those restricted substances for REACH compliance.
However, importers don’t necessarily need to keep track of the candidate list. There are many third-party testing companies that can provide REACH compliance services, and they will help with the most updated REACH requirements.
REACH compliance requires professional equipment and specialists. A third-party lab testing is the only effective way to verify your wooden furniture whether it is compliant or not.
Some reputable testing companies such as SGS, QIMA and Bureau Veritas, provide full REACH compliance service including conformity assessment and certifications.
We suggest that you should instruct your supplier with the REACH compliance, and book a lab testing before importing wooden furniture to the European market.
Here are some companies offering REACH compliance testing:
- Bureau Veritas
- C&K Testing
You can find more details of those testing companies in this guide.
The average REACH lab test costs between $300 to $600 based on two to three materials and color. It can be possibly increased depends on the number of materials and colors.
Click here to learn more about the REACH lab testing.
Wood, and other natural materials, should not contain restricted chemicals and heavy metals. That said, wood coatings, paints and treatment chemicals may contain excessive amounts of restricted substances, which is why lab testing is still necessary. Further, some wooden furniture manufacturers outside the EU are simply unaware of whether the paints and coatings used during production are REACH compliant.
General Product Safety Directive (GPSD)
The GPSD ensures that only safe products can be sold on the EU market, and it applies to all consumer products including wooden furniture. Even if no specific regulations or requirements for your product are provided, you must still comply with the GPSD in order to reduce risks to consumers.
Importers need to assess product safety and risks of the wooden furniture and ensure that the furniture would not pose any threat and harm to potential consumers. Note that this assessment shall be self-issued and it shall not be limited to adults but also children and infants.
The risk assessment document shall include all potential safety hazards, and corresponding protections for customers.
GPSD might not require mandatory lab testing for wooden furniture. However, lab testing can help you to better assess the general product safety.
GPSD is a separate directive from the CE marking directives. With that said, you don’t need to carry a CE marking for wooden furniture unless certain features of your product are covered by one of 25 CE marking directives such as LVD, and RED.
EN standards are not mandatory for wooden furniture unless required by other directives or regulations. Instead, they serve as a reference to design your product in a way that ensures product safety.
EN standards set out requirements for materials, components, systems, testing methods, and procedures to ensure product safety and maintain high product quality. Again, it’s in your interest to follow those applicable EN standards.
Examples of wooden furniture EN standards
- EN 747-1:1993 Furniture, bunk beds for domestic use
- EN 1130- 1: 1996 – Furniture – Cribs and cradles for domestic use
- EN 12520:2015 – Furniture. Strength, durability, and safety.
You can search for additional EN standards for wooden furniture on shop.bsigroup.com.
Leading testing companies such as SGS, QIMA, and Intertek, provide EN standards service for wooden furniture. They can help you to determine all applicable EN standards and certify compliance under EN standards.
Directive 94/62/EC: Packaging Regulations
When you are importing wooden furniture to the European Union, you must also comply with the packaging regulations for product safety.
Here we provide a brief summary of packaging requirements in the European Union:
Heavy Metals Restrictions
The EU Directive 94/62/EC sets substance limit on packaging and packaging waste that apply to all consumer product including wooden furniture. For example, the concentration levels of lead present in the packaging shall not exceed 100 ppm by weight.
Note: Intertek, SGS, CMA Testing, and other product testing companies can offer packaging materials testing services.
Additional Packaging Information
1. Packaging design shall be beneficial for collection, reuse, and material recycling.
2. Labeling requirements (e.g. CE mark or WEEE mark shall be also included in the packaging).