Designers Guide—Fire Codes

June 2, 2016

Please check with your local fire marshall if needed, for your specific fire code needs

Fabric Fire Codes

UFAC Upholstered Furniture Action Council
This test is often referred to as the Cigarette Test because the purpose is to classify the fabric on it’s propensity to resist cigarette ignition when tested in combination with a standard foam cushion material. The candidate fabric is used to cover small pieces of a standard foam cushioning material. The test pieces (fabric over the foam) are placed on a small test rig, simulating a chair back and seat. A lighted cigarette is placed in the crevice where the back and the seat of the chair meet. To intensify the heat, the cigarette is covered by a piece of cotton sheeting fabric. This test records the extent of the vertical burning (char length) on the back section of the seat assembly and whether or not ignition occurred.

Call 117 California Technical Bulletin 117 Section E (CS191-53)
The California Technical Bulletin 117, Section E requires testing in accordance with the same procedure as CS 191-53. Using this method, a 2″ X 6″ specimen is placed into the tester situated at a 45 degree angle. The surface of the test specimen is touched by a 5/8″ long pencil-thin flame for a period of 1 second. The rating criteria is either “Pass” (did not ignite) or “Fail” (ignites).

NFPA 260
Standard Methods of Tests and Classification System for Cigarette Ignition Resistance of Components of Upholstered Furniture

NFPA 701 Small Scale Standard For Flame Tests Of Textiles
Draperies, blankets, bedspreads, quilts, mattress ticking, sheets, upholstery fabrics, wall hangings, outside coverings. This recently revised test places the fabric specimen in a vertical position while a test flame is held to the lower edge for 12 seconds before the flame is removed. The test requires that any after-flame must be extinguished within 2 seconds of the removal of the test flame, that no flaming drippings touch the test chamber floor, and that the char length be limited according to the weight of the fabric.

NFPA 701 Vertical Burn
12 second ignition, sample size 3 1/2″ X 10″, maximum flame time 2 seconds, maximum burn length specified, no drop to floor.

Foam Fire Codes

CAL 117 California Technical Bulletin 117, Section E (CS 191-53)
This test is conducted under specific laboratory conditions. The result cannot be used as a demonstration of the performance of furnishings containing California 117 foam in flammability tests nor in actual fire conditions. Foam is tested without any contaminates, including adhesives. It is important to note that all flexible polyurethane foams will burn if exposed to a sufficiently intense heat source. Some of the combustion characteristics of flexible polyurethane foams can be altered by varying formulations and including flame retardants and other additives in production. However, all flexible polyurethane foams, whether they contain flame retardants or not should be considered and handled accordingly

Miscellaneous Fire Codes

FAR 25.853 (b)
Aircraft: floor covering, draperies, seat cushions, upholstery, padding, decorative, and non-decorative coated fabrics, etc

MVSS #302 Motor Vehicle Standard
This protocol currently is in use by the automotive industry for fabrics used in vehicles. The fabric is placed in a  horizontal position and allows the test flame to burn at one end. As the fabric burns away from the test flame it is gradually relieved of the heat and combustion front until within a distance of 1 1/2″ from the flame. The test measures flame spread from a point 1 1/2″ from the flame to 11 1/2″ from the flame. Any flame spread that is 4″ per minute or less is acceptable.

MVSS #302 Horizontal Burn
Sample size 4″ X 14″, maximum 4″ per minute burn rate.