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Fighting Fire With Furniture Standards: What is TB133 Compliant?

Author: Tyler R | Posted:

Where there’s smoke, there’s something that wasn’t very good at being flame resistant. Fortunately, this is why we have things like flammability standards, which give us all better fire safety and cut down on the use of flame retardant chemicals in all kinds of products, including furniture. In California, we’ve seen things like Technical Bulletin 133 and Technical Bulletin 117-2013 or TB 133 and TB 117-2013 for short. Well, sort of. There really isn’t a great way to shorten a long number sequence, but hey, at least we don’t have to say “technical bulletin” for the next few paragraphs.

There is a saying that, “as California goes, so goes the nation,” and we do get questions from time to time regarding whether or not some of our chairs comply with TB 133 and TB 117. The answer varies from product to product, but what are these regulations that we’re talking about?

To put it simply, they both mandate that things have to be difficult to set on fire. TB 133 mostly has to do with furniture in public places and businesses. It basically mandates that chairs, sofas, etc. have to be treated with some form of flame retardant. TB 117 does the same thing, but more for home furniture, child products, and residential items. It basically serves as a minimum standard for all things not covered by TB 133. Sadly, some testing was done on a few of the more common flame retardants, and it turns out that some have some toxic properties. Luckily, California came through again with TB 117-2013, which is basically an update to TB 117. This little addendum says that while products have to be fire resistant, companies do not have to use flame retardant chemicals to achieve this.

This is great for everyone buying upholstered furniture, as that new sofa of yours no longer has to be loaded with flame retardants from the inside out. TB117-2013 also replaces the old open flame test standard with the new “smolder test,” which makes more sense. After all, the odds of your couch having to resist a full on blaze are incredibly small when compared to the odds of dropping a lit cigarette on the upholstery. This test makes sure that common things like the aforementioned cigarettes won’t set your furniture ablaze.

For those of you wondering, we do carry California TB 133 and TB 117-2013 compliant seating options ranging from Officemaster, to ergoCentric, to our very own UPLIFT Motion Stool. All you need to do is ask, and we have a fine staff of helpful reps that are here just for you!