June 2014
ACT Voluntary Performance Guidelines

Flammability Update

California TB 117-2013


Beginning January 1, 2014, the State of California put into effect the updated California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 as their flammability standard for upholstered furniture. Manufacturers are now complying and have the remaining months of this calendar year to complete their transition. Full compliance will become mandatory on January 1, 2015.


Because it is ACT's policy to adopt the most current version of a test method, we have followed suit and updated the flammability section of the ACT Voluntary Performance Guidelines to reflect this revision in California law.


California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 switches methodology from an open-flame test to a smoldering ignition test similar to UFAC, NFPA 260 and ASTM E1353. While the standard is written in whole for furniture, Section 1: Cover Fabric Test is the part that applies to our products. Following is a brief description of the test method:


Cal TB 117-2013 Section 1 is a test method of the California Bureau of Home Furnishing and Thermal Insulation. The test uses small cushions, which are miniatures of the seat and back, to measure the smolder resistance of the materials used in upholstered furniture.


Section 1: Cover Fabric Test

Upholstery cover materials submitted for this section are placed over standard polyurethane foam and tested in triplicate. A lighted cigarette is placed in the crevice formed by the vertical back and horizontal seat cushions. Smoldering resistance is measured by the following criteria:


1. Smoldering cannot exceed 45 minutes of test duration.

2. Vertical char length cannot exceed 1.8 inches (45 mm).

3. Mock-up specimen cannot transition into open flame.


All three mock-up specimens must meet all three criteria in order for the cover fabric to pass the Section 1 test.


For complete technical details about Cal TB 117-2013: http://www.bearhfti.ca.gov/about_us/tb117_2013.pdf 



How This Impacts Usage of the ACT Flammability Icon


1. All new products must pass Cal TB 117-2013 to meet the ACT Voluntary Performance Guideline for Flammability and display the ACT Flammability Icon.


2. Products that have been or will be introduced to the market before January 1, 2015, and have previously passed UFAC, NFPA 260 or ASTM E1353 do not need to be retested. A grandfather clause in Cal TB 117-2013 allows historical data and test results as a substitute. Therefore, such products may continue to display the ACT Flammability Icon.


3. Existing products that are already in the market and have not passed UFAC, NFPA 260, ASTM E1353 or Cal TB 117-2013 are not allowed to display the ACT Flammability Icon. Fabrics that do not pass the Section 1: Cover Fabric Test can be used with a barrier that passes the Section 2: Barrier Materials Test to satisfy the requirements of California TB 117-2013.



FAQ Document Available


The State of California has written is a helpful document to give you an understanding of the new standard. We call your attention to question 38, which is especially relevant to contract textiles.


Q: Do existing fabrics need to be re-tested for compliance with TB117-2013?


A: No. All existing fabrics that have been tested under a similar test method (ASTM, UFAC, or NFPA 260) and have passed those tests can be used in upholstered furniture, and are not subject to additional testing. Manufacturers can demonstrate this by using the results from historical data and comparable testing.


All new fabrics that are produced on or after January 1, 2015 must comply with the new TB117-2013 test requirements. For non-compliant cover fabrics a barrier must be used.


On or after January 1, 2015 new fabrics that are marketed as compliant with TB117-2013 must have been tested per TB117-2013 standard.


For complete FAQ Document: http://www.bearhfti.ca.gov/about_us/tb117_faqs.pdf