What Are Crib 5 Fire Regulations?
Crib 5 (also known as Ignition Source 5) is a very common term within the hospitality industry and it’s essential that all furniture and furnishings housed within these commercial buildings adhere to the strict UK Fire Regulations Act 1988.
These tests are carried out to ensure any furniture or furnishing used on the premises have been treated to dramatically reduce the risk of ignition which could potentially save lives.
This test doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of fire spreading, but its rigorous testing does greatly reduce the risk.
Crib 5 Fire Retardant Tests Explained
For furniture and furnishings to meet the UK Fire Regulations, they must successfully pass three separate tests to be deemed legally compliant.
Test One: The Smouldering Cigarette Test
Despite the fall in numbers of smokers in the UK in recent years, smoking still continues to be one of the top causes of fatal fires in the home. Between 2014-2018, more than a quarter of fire-related deaths were due to fires caused by smoking.
The first of the top three tips from the London Fire Brigade is to avoid smoking in bed or on sofas and armchairs. Despite the warnings, many people don’t follow this advice and it’s for this reason contract furniture must pass a smouldering cigarette test (BS EN 5971).
This test comprises of placing a lit cigarette in a crevice of a test rig constructed using the same materials of a typical contract bed frame. The cigarette will be observed throughout its full burn duration to detect if any flames or smouldering appeared.
The material will pass the test should neither a flame or smouldering be seen and will be deemed safe to use.
Test Two: The Match Test
Test two is conducted in a similar fashion to the first. A lit match will be held alongside a crevice of a test rig, which uses the materials in question, for 20 seconds. Should no flames arise or any smouldering, the test will be successful and be recorded as “no ignition”.
Test Three: Crib 5
This flame retardant test is carried out in relation to upholstery and furniture coverings and must be completed for any contract based furniture.
The test consists of placing a crib-like wooden structure at the base of the test subject. Each crib structure is made of wood, glued together and will sit 5 tiers high (hence the name Crib 5).
Lint will then be placed at the bottom of the grid along with a non-flammable liquid. The cribs will then be lit and observed for 10 minutes or until they extinguish themselves.
For the test to be successful, each crib must extinguish themselves within 10 minutes and not burn the end of the material or through the padding behind it.
Different fabrics will burn at different rates and results may vary, but it’s the 10-minute window that is important.
A tougher test is used for high-risk environments such as prison cells and must pass the “Crib 7” test.
This is the minimum standard of fire resistance for contract furniture and covers the United Kingdom, Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.
Often, flame retardant fabrics and textiles are treated and/or manufactured differently to make them naturally more resistant to fire.
The video below shows a demonstration of a Crib 5 Fire Retardant Test.