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Domestic Fire Regulations
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What is this all about?
How can I tell if my chair is legal?
Who can test for compliance?
Why can’t I buy my favourite brand in the UK?
How can I tell if my supplier will stay in business?
How can I tell if my chair is a genuine Sterling?
Domestic Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations
What is this all about?

After several deaths resulting from furniture being accidentally set alight the government introduced The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 to deal with all aspects of the flammability and fire safety of domestic furniture and furnishings. (For commercial use see - Contract Fire Safety Regulations )

The regulations deal with the cover fabric or upholstery and filling material such as foam used in furniture and set down specific tests that must be undertaken in order to comply with the legislation. The Regulations also define the labels that must be attached to all domestic furniture. The outcome of regulations was to make it a criminal offence for anyone to sell furniture in the UK that does not comply fully with the regulations.

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How can I tell if my chair is legal?

All massage chairs, sold for domestic use in the UK must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988.

Massage Chairs must also comply with many other regulations including CE which concerns electrical safety and radiation, RoHS which concerns materials used in manufacture such as Lead etc. and WEEE which concerns the disposal of goods at the end of their useful life.

Any fabric which is used as upholstery on a massage chair sold for domestic use in the UK must pass the cigarette test (BS5852:Part 1:1979:Source 0), there are no exceptions.

It must also pass the appropriate match test; the one used depends on whether the material is visible, such as the upholstery or non-visible, the material used on the back of cushions or underneath the chair etc. Again there are no exceptions. Certain upholstery can be classified as "exempt" from the match test providing the furniture contains a special fire-resistant interliner foam and other padding must also be tested.

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Who can test for compliance?

Testing for compliance should be undertaken in the UK by a reputable test house as foreign test certificates are notoriously unreliable and often forged.

Sterling work very hard to ensure that their chairs comply fully with all the relevant legislation and regularly test materials in the UK to ensure continued compliance. All Sterling massage chairs are upholstered in top quality leather and although we are regularly offered PU material accompanied by an appropriate certificate, UK testing has always shown the certificate to be worthless.

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Why can’t I buy my favourite brand in the UK?

Many top brand massage chairs such as Panasonic, Sanyo and Family Inada are not available in the UK because of the cost of making them compliant to UK standards is prohibitive.

Non compliant chairs can be purchased very cheaply in Aisa and imported into the UK, often in ignorance of the regulations. Eventually, when they become aware of the seller, Trading Standards pay a visit. The company then goes out of business leaving the unfortunate purchasers with nowhere to go when the chair becomes faulty.

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How can I tell if my supplier will stay in business?

Every chair that complies with the UK regulations will be clearly marked with a ‘Permanent’ label confirming that they comply with the regulations and giving the date of manufacture or import, a batch number and the full name and UK address of the importer. It is a criminal offence to sell any massage chair that does not have such a permanent label.

Check that the chairs your supplier is offering have the necessary permanent label.

Fire Safety LabelFire Safety Tag

If they haven’t, it’s simple – don’t buy, report the dealer to your local Trading Standards office.

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How can I tell if my chair is a genuine Sterling?

All Sterling chairs carry two Sterling logos, one on each side.

Sterling Logo

They come in a box that is clearly marked Sterling

Sterling Logo on Box

You may see identical looking chairs on the internet and elsewhere.

Some of these massage chairs may actually be made in the same factory. If they are made in the same factory but they don’t carry the Sterling brand they are not designed or built for the UK market, they probably don’t have the SuperWave massage system in them and it is certainly a criminal offence to sell them in the UK. Many ignorant but otherwise reputable companies have even been caught out.

You may also see identical looking copies made in China, usually being sold into the UK from Europe or elsewhere thereby successfully avoiding the regulations in both countries. They will probably be equally good at avoiding your complaint when things go wrong.

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