Safety and protection in your family home are of paramount importance, and understanding how these parameters are measured is vital information. For example, before furniture or other materials even enter your home, specialists will put them through rigorous testing to ensure their durability and safety. However, do you know the system that flammable materials go through before they even get to your front door? This system, and the mystical class 0 fire rating that it includes, is what keeps your family safe from potential house fires and even worse situations. Well, here’s all you need to know about the fire ratings in the UK and the exact definition of the class 0 fire rating.
In the UK, our fire ratings system used to determine how long a fire protection solution can withstand fire. Providing a correct fire rating of materials used within and around buildings, mainly wood, is a part of the UK fire safety section of the country’s building regulations. Although there are several variations of this rating system internationally, they all tend to follow the same time over temperature.
The European standards for fire ratings, known as the Euroclass system, is the only recognised fire safety standard across Europe. The Euroclass system defines the reaction to fire, or how different materials behave when exposed to heat or direct fire. Also, it evaluates multiple aspects of this, such as heat release, smoke production, flame spread and the tendency to produce flaming particles. Based on these results, the Euroclass system ranks material into seven categories: the UK fire rating classifications.
Now you know how we measure the fire safety of materials in the UK and the rest of Europe, you’ll need to know the results! The Euroclass system will rank all materials in one of the following ways:
As well as final fire ratings, the Euroclass system also provides a classification for these materials regarding other aspects. These include smoke development (s1, s2 and s3) and the production of flaming particles (d0, d1, d2). In both cases, the lowest of these classifications (s1 or d0) means that the material produces little or no smoke or flaming particles. However, the highest of these classifications (s3 or d2) means they have a high smoke or burning particle production.
The government introduced the curious class 0 fire rating in the 1991 revision of the UK Building Regulations on fire safety. This class 0 fire rating indicates the surface spread of the flames, rather than testing the combustibility of a material. So, for example, combustible materials can still achieve a class 0 fire rating, even if they will quickly set alight. Although the class 0 fire rating doesn’t use the Euroclass system, we still use it to test the spread of flames.
However, the class 0 fire rating is an old national product classification. So, you shouldn’t use it solely to determine the fire safety of materials. In addition, as it doesn’t test the combustibility of materials in a fire, it will not guarantee that they are flame resistant.
Although we need to test our furniture for fire, it isn’t tested with the same rating as the Euroclass system. This is because the fire rating classifications of the UK show the fire resistance of the surface material only, so it would not be practical to test furniture in this way. However, according to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, all materials used in furniture must meet the specified ignition resistance levels. Plus, developers must suitably label them to represent this. So, for example, here at Sloane & Sons, all of our furniture pieces meet fire safety standards so that you can cuddle up by the fire in our chairs without worry.
Now you know all about the class 0 fire rating! Plus, we hope you now have some knowledge the fire rating classifications in the UK and their relation (or lack thereof) to domestic furniture. But, of course, our upholstered chairs and sofas must be fire-resistant and safe to use in our homes. Still, they require a different system to confirm their durability than other materials, explicitly building materials.
Do you have any thoughts on the class 0 fire rating? Or the fire rating classifications as a whole in the UK? Start a conversation with us in the comments!
Office and marketing manager for Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs, who sell a range of high-quality tub chairs, accent chairs and more.
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