The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) intends to propose changes to the match and cigarette tests of the FFRs, reports FIRA.
Subject to approval by Government Ministers, these proposals will be put out to full public consultation this Spring. In advance, BIS is circulating the following notes to interested stakeholders regarding the changes:
• New match test for cover fabrics to be undertaken over combustion-modified foam, not non-fire retardant polyurethane foam as with the current test
• Removal of the need to perform the cigarette test on fabrics which pass the match test, and for invisible linings.
The main benefits would likely be:
• A possible reduction in flame retardant chemical usage for the match test by 30-50%
• UK furniture as fire-safe as now, moreso in some cases
• Savings to the furniture manufacturing industry of around £30-50m (rough estimate only) per year (mostly from FR reduction – some from removal of cigarette test)
• Greener UK furniture
• Small amount of additional testing for some products, but these costs will be greatly outweighed by the savings
Subject to Ministerial clearance and public consultation, BIS proposes to implement these changes in April 2015. Work is also proceeding on amendments to the FFRs in general - clarifying and simplifying the requirements - and BIS intends to implement these (again subject to Ministerial clearance and public consultation) in 2016.
The new match test/cigarette test will include suitable lead-in times to allow the industry to develop new compliant products, and to sell off existing stock (compliant with the current tests). The final lead-in period will be determined by the feedback BIS receives during the consultation period, but this may be around 12-18 months from the implementation date.
Visit the FIRA website for more details.