Fire Resistant Fabrics 5 Things All Restaurant Owners Must Know

Why have Fire-resistant fabrics?

Fire-resistant fabrics are vital for the safety of your customers, your staff and your premises. The fire safety of upholstered furniture supplied into the non-domestic market is complex. Restaurant owners must meet certain obligations for fire resistant and flame retardant fabrics under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 (RRFSO).


1. RRSFO (2005)
This legislation requires that all public premises have:
– A Responsible Person.
This is either the employer, occupier or owner of the building who must carry out a fire risk assessment, provide adequate ‘general fire precautions’, consider the safety of all relevant persons, record both the significant findings and the control measures taken and provide adequate training for staff.
– A Competent Person.
This person must have “Sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to properly assist in undertaking the prevention and protection measures.” This person will assist the Responsible Person to fulfil his / her duties (the Responsible Person may also be the Competent Person). If there are not any suitable candidates for the role of Competent Person, then third party assistance is advised.
– A Fire Risk Assessment

2. Flame Retardant vs Fire Resistant

Flame Retardant fabrics are chemically treated to be slow burning or self-extinguishing when exposed to an open flame. These fabrics can be made from any material, but they must be treated with special chemicals to qualify as flame retardant.

Fire Resistant fabrics are made from materials that are inherently non-flammable. This means the chemical structure of the materials is naturally fire resistant. Fabrics made with these types of materials are designed to prevent the spread of fire. They will not melt or drip when in close proximity to a flame. Fire resistant fabrics will burn very slowly and may self-extinguish because they are not usually made from 100% flame resistant materials.

do you know the difference


3. British Standard BS7176

BS7176 is a UK-only testing standard which is used to test the ignition-resistance of seats in hospitality premises. There are three different types of test procedure:

  • Smouldering cigarette test (BS EN 1021-1:2006)
  • Match flame test (BS EN 1021-2: 2006)
  • Smouldering and flaming ignition sources test (BS 5852: 2006), also known as a Crib 5 or Crib 7 test.

The hospitality industry requires upholstery on furniture to pass the Crib 5 test.

4. Crib 5 Test

The Crib 5 test is the British Standard test for the non-domestic market for medium risk environments such as restaurants, pubs, hotels etc.

This test uses a dry wooden crib weighing 17g, stacked in a lattice formation. The crib is placed on the furniture and ignited. The furniture passes the test if no flaming or smouldering is observed on the cover and internal material. Crib 7 testing is usually reserved for high risk environments such as oil rigs, prisons and mental health hospitals.

All GBN Primo restaurant furniture complies with the Crib 5 test.

5. Care of flame retardant fabrics

Over time the chemicals used to create flame retardant fabrics can degrade, especially through cleaning. It is essential to clean your furniture with appropriate cleaning agents. Water is not suitable for many flame retardant fabrics and you should consult a specialist upholstery cleaning company for advice. Mop up/blot any spills as soon as possible to prevent staining.

6. Healthcare Fabric

Healthcare fabrics are designed for challenging environments that demand the best and most durable. Their properties include fire retardant, water resistant, antimicrobial and stain resistant. These high-performance fabric ranges are not only warm and inviting, but can be textured, in rich colours or chic neutrals.

We are proud of our passion for good design, attention to detail and excellent customer service. Unlike many of our competitors, we hold the ISO9001 accreditation for Quality Assurance, and ISO14001 for Environmental Management. We are audited annually and maintained our certification for many years.

We are experts in upholstered restaurant furniture and can help you meet your fire safety obligations, so if you have any questions, please get in contact with us at GBN Primo as soon as possible on 01992 709420 or email on and we will get back to you very soon.