Contract Furniture or Domestic Furniture

pub seating

Contract Furniture VS Domestic Furniture

Contract furniture explained

Commercial, (or contract) furniture is made specifically for commercial establishments.  This can be anything from chairs and tables in a restaurant, to sofas and mattresses in a hotel.
The term ‘Contract Furniture’ comes from the fact that in the ‘olde’ days, a formal contract was published stating that the furniture being supplied to a commercial establishment was made to a very high standard and was robust enough to withstand extended use in high traffic, commercial locations.
Today, the same sentiment about robust furniture is true, but more importantly, contract furniture is manufactured using materials that will pass three stringent fire safety tests, including Crib 5.
This also means that businesses won’t be having to spend money on replacing furniture unnecessarily, and they won’t be risking having to face stiff penalties for having furniture that doesn’t meet the UK fire safety standards.

Domestic furniture

Retail, or domestic furniture, is manufactured with lower amounts of usage in mind so it’s usually nowhere near as robust as contract furniture.  What’s more, it generally has only two fire safety regulations to pass (BS EN 597-1 – Smouldering cigarette test and BS EN 597-2 – Match test).

There’s a big difference between domestic and contract quality

In simple terms, contract furniture is stronger, more durable and less likely to catch fire than domestic furniture.  So, contract furniture can be used in a domestic home, but it is illegal to use domestic furniture in a commercial setting.
Of course, you’d expect all this extra durability and added fire safety to come with a bigger price tag on contract furniture than on everyday household furniture, but because Mayfair Furniture often buys in bulk directly from the manufacturers, prices are surprisingly affordable.


Contract Furniture And Crib5

All furniture that’s to be used in commercial establishments, has to meet exacting UK fire prevention regulation.  So if your business falls into one of the following categories, you need to be especially careful about the furniture you buy:

  • Bed & Breakfasts
  • Boarding schools
  • Care homes
  • Guest houses
  • Halls of residence
  • Holiday lettings
  • Holiday parks
  • Hostels
  • Hotels
  • Private landlords
  • Residential homes
  • Student accommodation

Three test to pass

All furniture – for domestic and commercial, must pass the following British Standard (BS):

  • BS EN 597-1 – Smouldering cigarette test
  • BS EN 597-2 – Match test

On top of that, furniture for use in commercial establishments must also pass:

  • BS 7177 – Flame retardant test, sometimes known as ‘Crib 5’, or the ‘Source 5’ test.

This last test is specifically concerned with upholstery and furniture coverings and is designed to check that upholstered furniture won’t easily catch fire – with normal usage.  It’s important to remember that furniture that meets the Crib 5 regulations isn’t fireproof, but it’s designed to significantly cut the risk of a fire being started, which could save lives.

The Crib 5 test is usually undertaken by the manufacturer of the product before it’s stocked by a retailer.
Failing to comply could work out very expensive….

Failing to comply with the Crib 5 regulations is a criminal offence.  If you were to be convicted, you could face a fine of £5,000 per item that doesn’t comply, plus six months in jail and you could even be charged with manslaughter if there’s deaths involved…. it doesn’t bear thinking about.
What’s more, there’s a risk that your insurance company will regard your policy null and void in the event of a fire.

Finally, relax

All the furniture featured at meets the Crib 5 regulations.

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About Oliver Mizen 333 Articles
Oliver is web editor, social media poster, search engine optimiser.