The decision came after a vote of its members.
NPFA 277 was designed as a standard set of methods to evaluate fire and ignition resistance of residential upholstered furniture. It specified a flaming ignition source.
An unsurmountable lack of consensus on how to test and evaluate the furniture stopped the project.
The draft test was based on California Technical Bulletin 133, and had been in development since 2014. It measured total and peak heat release after ignition, with pass/fail criteria to reduce flashover.
However, several comments on the draft expressed concerns. These included doubts about fundamental aspects of the test method, such as duplication of existing tests, and health & safety issues.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, for instance, claimed the test was not appropriate for residential fires. California TB133 was developed to evaluate peak heat release for furniture in high-risk public spaces.
The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, BIFMA, stated that the proposed standard would hamper the furniture industry’s drive to eliminate fire retardant chemicals. ‘We believe the risks associated with the use of these chemicals is greater than the hazard associated with the fire risk from furniture without fire retardants,’ BIFMA said.
This was echoed by the Furniture Coalition. ‘Without the addition of FR chemicals, reducing heat release, high-performance ignition resistant barrier materials [will be needed],’ it said.
‘Burning upholstered furniture presents a significant fire issue. It demands a solution to protect both citizens and first responders,’ said Christian Dubay, vice president of NFPA’s engineering division. ‘Unfortunately, creating a test method to assist in addressing this part of the fire problem has proved quite challenging.’
NFPA believes that the best way to reduce fatalities and damage from domestic fires would be to install sprinklers in new homes.
‘They also provide enormous health and safety benefits to firefighters by extinguishing fires or keeping them small,’ the association stated.