Appendix A - Guidance notes
Clasification Society 2024 - Version 9.40
Statutory Documents - IMO Publications and Documents - Resolutions - Assembly - IMO Resolution A.652(16) Recommendation of Fire Test Procedures for Upholstered Furniture (Adopted on 19 October 1989) - Annex - Recommendation of Fire Test Procedures for Upholstered Furniture - (Methods of test for the ignitability by smokers' materials of upholstered composites for seating) - Appendix A - Guidance notes

Appendix A - Guidance notes

  A.1 This test procedure prescribes methods for examining the ignitability, in defined circumstances, of an assembly of upholstery materials. These materials are combined together in a way intended to be generally representative of their end use in upholstered seating, and the ignition sources are a smouldering cigarette and a flame representing a burning match.

 Thus, the potential ignitability of a particular cover, filling and interliner in combination can be assessed and this will allow the development of specifications concerned with ignition by smokers' materials. However, there are two important limitations, as follows:

  • (a) The tests are concerned only with ignitability, and any controls of fire hazard have to consider, in addition, other aspects of fire performance such as rate of fire development, heat output, rate and quantity of smoke production and toxic gas evolution. Ideally, any attempts to reduce ignitability ought not to affect these other properties adversely.

  • (b) The tests only measure the ignitability of a combination of materials used in upholstered seating and not of a particular finished item of furniture incorporating these materials. They give an indication of, but cannot guarantee, the ignition behaviour of the finished item of furniture. This limitation occurs because design features of the furniture can greatly affect its fire properties; any ignitability tests of a piece of furniture would therefore need to be carried out on the actual item and not on component materials or mock-ups. However, limited information on ignitability more specifically related to an intended design may be obtained, as indicated in A.2 and A.3.

  A.2 This test procedure prescribes laboratory tests for an assembly of materials which will give general guidance on the ignitability of finished furniture, but where more specific information is required, or in critical areas of end use, the principles may be applied to complete items or components of furniture or to suitably modified test assemblies, some examples of which are given below. In such cases the sources of ignition described in 5.2 and 5.3 may be applied at positions which, as a general rule, correspond to those where the hazard of ignition occurs in use.

  Example 1:

  • If a chair were to have a gap between the seat and back cushions, the placement of ignition sources in the angle of the test apparatus would be inappropriate. Instead, face ignition, where the sources are placed at the centre of the horizontal and vertical surfaces, would be more meaningful.

  Example 2:

  • The test apparatus may be used to model the junction of any vertical and horizontal surfaces so that both arm and back constructions, if different, may be tested separately in conjunction with the seat.

  Example 3:

  • The use of different materials in a back and seat of a chair may be reproduced in the test, two different cover fabrics being joined by sewing or staples behind the hinge bar.

  Example 4:

  • If, in the final design, a loose cushion is to be placed on an upholstered seat platform, additional cigarette traps are produced between the loose cushion and the surrounding upholstery. This may be examined by constructing a loose cushion of the appropriate materials measuring 500 5 mm x 75 2 mm to be placed on top of the horizontal surface of the normally assembled test arrangement.

  A.3 Another way in which this test principle might be used is to give information about individual materials to be used in a combination. For example, the ability of a cover material to provide protection against ignition can be indicated by testing it in combination with a substrate of known flammability; standard non-flame-retardant flexible polyether foam with a density of about 22 kg/m3 has been found to be suitable. Such information about the individual materials does not eliminate the need to test the actual combination, but it can help in the short-listing of material combinations and so reduce the overall amount of testing required.


Copyright 2022 Clasifications Register Group Limited, International Maritime Organization, International Labour Organization or Maritime and Coastguard Agency. All rights reserved. Clasifications Register Group Limited, its affiliates and subsidiaries and their respective officers, employees or agents are, individually and collectively, referred to in this clause as 'Clasifications Register'. Clasifications Register assumes no responsibility and shall not be liable to any person for any loss, damage or expense caused by reliance on the information or advice in this document or howsoever provided, unless that person has signed a contract with the relevant Clasifications Register entity for the provision of this information or advice and in that case any responsibility or liability is exclusively on the terms and conditions set out in that contract.