What is Crib 5?

29 March 2022
Crib 5 Header
Crib 5 Header

What does Crib 5 stand for?

Nothing! Crib means crib, referring to a wooden testing tool for checking whether different materials can withstand the heat from the test without igniting. In other words, how flame retardant the material is.

The 5 is a reference to “ignition source 5”, which is the level of the test. Knowing these terms is essential for understanding British standards for safety when it comes to contract furniture. 

What is an ignition source?

To better understand what Crib 5 means, let’s understand ignition sources ratings.

Items that could cause a fire are called ignition sources. They are rated from 0 to 7, eight levels in total. They are described qualitatively by the type of flame that would cause that level of ignition risk. 0 is equivalent to a smouldering cigarette. 1 is equivalent to a lit match, and so on up the scale.

The further you go up the scale the more intense the heat and the greater the risk of a fire. 

How are ignition sources tested?

To confirm that a fabric or item or furniture is resistant to an ignition source it is tested. The test for ignition source 0 is sometimes called the “cigarette test”. For ignition source 1, there is the “match test”. The material is exposed to the equivalent of a smouldering cigarette or a lit match. 

If this exposure does not cause the material to light, the test is recorded as no ignition, and the material is considered to have passed the test.

What is ignition source 5?

Ignition source 5 is tested with a wooden crib containing lint. The crib is set alight while touching the test material. Because of the method of testing using a wooden crib, testing for ignition source 5 is also referred to as testing for Crib 5. 

What is the highest rating, ignition source 7?

Ignition source 7 is also tested with a wooden crib, but it is larger than for levels 5 or 6, and it is set alight with the help of alcohol to increase the intensity of the heat. This creates a high chance of ignition for most materials. 

Hospitality industry businesses would not have to meet this level of fire protection, but in other facilities, such as prisons or hospitals, some furniture may need to be crib 7 certified. 

What does crib 5 mean for contract furniture?

Contract furniture is specially treated to pass the Crib 5 test. That is because contract chairs, contract tables and contract beds are used in areas with higher risks of fires (kitchens nearby, lots of furniture, wide-open areas etc) and with a large number of people who would be in danger if a fire were to occur. 

Contract furniture meeting crib 5 requirements is written into UK law according to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (BS 5852): 


What are the legal consequences if the fire regulations are not complied with?

If a hospitality venue fails to adhere to crib 5 requirements, your local fire authority may issue official notices that inform you of what action is required. These might be in the form of an alternations notice, an enforcement notice, or a prohibition notice, with increasing levels of severity. A prohibition notice will require the closure of property at high risk of fire. 

As well as these notices, penalties in the form of fines (up to £5000 for minor offences but unlimited for major offences) can be issued, and for non-compliance and major cases of neglect there is the possibility of prison time up to 2 years.  

How do I know if my furniture meets crib 5 requirements? 

Certification for crib 5 is awarded by FIRA – the Furniture Industry Research Association – to the manufacturer of the furniture. 

In order to pass UK fire regulations, contract furniture is required to meet crib 5. The supplier of your furniture will be able to confirm and prove the crib 5 certification if needed. 

The Seren fabric used by Tabilo is certified Crib 5, adhering to BS 5852: Part 1 Ignition Source 0 & 1 and Part 2 Ignition Source 5 (Crib 5).

For restaurant furniture, hotel furniture and other hospitality furniture that meets all necessary UK regulations, shop with Tabilo today. 

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