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Why do blind fabrics have different fire retardancy ratings and what do they mean?
Category: All,Regulations,Technical
By: John James

Fire Retardant Blinds

Fire retardancy is an important factor to consider when choosing window blind or curtain fabrics. Recent tragedies such as Grenfell Tower are a reminder of the importance of installing fire retardant materials in buildings. Unfortunately, there is no single universally accepted flammability standard so this blog explains what the different standards mean and what you as a specifier, contractor or facilities manager need to be aware of when choosing blinds.

To start with, any window furnishing fabric installed into a commercial or public building (education, healthcare, hotel etc) MUST be fire retardant.

The British Standard for this is BS 5867: Part 2: 2008: Type B or Type C. Type B will meet most requirements with Type C being required in specialist healthcare environments such as mental health wards.

A large number of fabrics used in the UK are manufactured in Europe, and many of these fabrics may have been tested according to European standards rather than British standards.

Fabrics with M1 rating have been tested according to French standard NFP92 503-505 M1, and those with ‘B1’ or ‘B2’ have been tested to the German standard DIN 4102 B1/B2.

M1 and B1/B2 fire retardant fabrics are used widely in the UK and generally accepted as equivalent to British Standards.

We regularly get asked by specifiers if our fabrics comply with Building Regulations BS 476 class 0. BS476 regulations only apply to wall surfaces/panels or any surface bonded to the structure of the building, which clearly blinds and curtains are not. Having said that any fabric made of fibreglass yarns is inherently fire retardant and meets BS476 part 6 Class 0.

All of Waverley’s ShadeTech range of fabrics are fire retardant to BS 5867, M1 and /or B1 and are safe to use in any environment. Click here to view the ShadeTech range.

About the author

John James Marketing Director