Cabinet Maker magazine, the longest serving UK trade news magazine for the furniture professional, recently commissioned the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) – the UK’s largest furniture association - to conduct ‘blind’ fire safety and component assessments on a sample of 42 single mattresses to assess whether they met the current regulations, as well as BS 7177:2008 Speciﬁcation for Resistance
September of this year saw the Government re-start its consultation into a potential revision of the 1988 Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations (FFRs). The changes detailed in the proposal were the result of a stakeholder request that regulations reflect changing consumer expectations and modern furniture manufacturing practices, focusing in particular on the testing methods. The consultation period for the document closes on Friday 11 November. Cabinet Maker conducted the research in light of this consultation, and as part of the publication’s duty to report candidly on all aspects of the industry on behalf of its reader. The mattresses were purchased from a range of independent, online, multiple and high street retailers and were each priced at between £100 and £400.
Key findings include:
- One in four sample mattresses failed fire safety tests, mostly in the spring free and open coil segments.
- Mattresses supplied by some of the notable retailers and some web-based independents failed ﬁre safety standards tests.
- 33% (13 of 42) of mattresses tested were sold by members of the National Bed Federation, but 40% (four of 10) of mattresses that failed fire safety tests were delivered by NBF members.
- A further two mattresses that failed standards tests were delivered by retailers that are not members, but display a “supporting the NBF” logo on their website; these mattresses were manufactured by NBF members. In total, 70% (seven of 10) mattresses that failed fire safety tests were supplied and/or manufactured by NBF members.
- Evidence of strong compliance amongst some high street retailers and independents.
- Evidence that component comparisons are difficult for consumers due to confusing jargon.
- For customer service, the best performing retailers were found to be web-based independents, with high street retailers largely lagging behind, particularly in delivery times.
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