Non-domestic furniture is less directly regulated than furniture supplied to domestic consumers. Furniture used within a non-domestic setting is however subject to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), meaning that the fire resistance levels and general suitability of the furniture must be considered by, and is the responsibility of, the 'responsible person'. The term 'responsible person' in the context of the RRFSO generally applies to the business owner.
As part of their responsibilities, the responsible person must ensure that there is a valid fire risk assessment in place. Fire risk assessments consider all aspects of a properties fire safety and as such should appraise the suitability of any furniture and furnishings within the building.
Upholstered seating to be used in a non-domestic setting must conform to a specific British Standard: BS 7176: 2007 + A1: 2011. This standard specifies the test procedures used to establish fire resistance performance and also the levels of fire resistance that must be achieved. It is the responsibility of manufacturers to ensure products offered into the market conform to this standard. Conformity is achieved by the careful selection of certified fillings and fabrics, as well ongoing testing of the finished product.
Retailers of non-domestic upholstered furniture must ensure that each piece of furniture they sell carries a label showing that the item complies with BS 7176:2007 where appropriate. It is also required to publish this information in any catalogues or brochures produced.
Ultimately, the 'responsible person' is liable for the selection of furniture in a non-domestic setting, and ensuring it is fit for purpose from a fire safety perspective. However, manufacturers must ensure that the information is available so that an informed purchasing decision can be made.
Reviewed: 06/05/2020 (doc:110 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.