Should the foam rubber (polyurethane foam) be fire retardant in furniture for hotels?

Written by: Eduardo Macías.

A few days ago I received by email a suggestion to comment on regulations or mandatory use of fabrics or fire retardant (flame retardant) hotels foams.
For this I share some of the international standards in this regard that most affect Mexico they are Cal 117, NFPA 260, BS 7176, BS 7176, BS 7177.

california-technical-bulletin California Technical Bulletin 117 (Cal 117, TB 117), issued by the DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS BUREAU OF HOME FURNISHINGS AND THERMAL INSULATION California (BEARHFTI) This is a reference for many American chains like Hilton, Starwood, Marriot that bring their FF & E (Furniture, fixtures and equipment, FF & E or FFE) to Mexico are interpreted literally and often are mentioned as part of the initial specifications in contests. It should be said that the RAF Polyurethane Foam (fire retardant) costs about 5.5% more than a foam without this feature, this is one of the reasons so many projects this material ends up buying without RAF.

A major upgrade is that recently the BEARHFTI has removed compulsory RAF since after studies determined that the chemicals used to RAF could be harmful factors for health, now have focused their batteries to increase surveillance RAF in textiles they are the first contact with fire.

nfpa  NFPA 260: Standard Methods of Tests and Classification System for Cigarette Ignition Resistance of Components of Upholstered Furniture, is the standard of the National Fire Protection Association and is in the United States the main reference for the RAF regulation that affects Mexico in the same way that Cal 117 through the chains that adopt it.

ufac2  UFAC CLASS 1, Upholstered Furniture Action Council was created in 1978 on the initiative of all furniture manufacturers High Point, NC and generates a standard and evaluation method for fire retardancy, this classification is also referenced in several projects in Mexico..

department-of-business Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, issued Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations (FFRS) This institution is the one that regulates the RAF in the UK and is commonly found in some hotel projects in Mexico to sneak the FF & E string as the English Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) with brands including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton, Hualuxe, Crowne Plaza, Indigo, Even, Holiday Inn, Staybridge, Candlewood.

With this background it is easier to understand why these rules appear in the Contract UK projects, remember that IHG is in third place in the ranking of the world.

However it is important to understand the real situation in Mexico and for that we review the regulations applicable in 4 major Hotel centers in Mexico: Cancun-Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta- Nvo. Vallarta, Los Cabos and Mexico City.

The government area that regulates commercial establishments are the municipalities and the City Government, Civil Protection Regulations of these places do not refer stricter rules for the application of fire retardant in fabrics used in furniture.

In practice, all these government areas are overwhelmed by the volume of establishments so to prioritize their efforts in fun night centers or mass entertainment, hotels are left in second place.

Government inspection visits promote the “culture” of the use of fire retardant materials, but not in a mandatory way.
In short, the use of fire retardant textiles RAF is ultimately left to the discretion of the sponsor of the project, but it is the obligation of the Contract Companies to always recommend their use.

References:
California Technical Bulletin www.bearhfti.ca.gov
National Fire Protection Association www.NFPA.org
RRFSO Regulation Reform Fires Safety Order www.legislation.gov.uk
Upholstered Furniture Action Council www.ufac.org
Intercontinental Hotel Group www.ihg.com