Fretwork | UK FFR and the soak test
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UK FFR and the soak test

UK FFR and the soak test

UK FFR and the soak test

The development of the FCOGP ( Code of Good Practice) has made us evaluate many aspects of how we operate the FFR with a ‘new eyes’ approach. The role played by the soak test is just one example.

When the FFR was first drafted there was concern that cheap and simple water soluble FRs would be used to obtain performance. This was clearly undesirable and the answer found was to require textile samples to be subjected to soaking, then drying, prior to the testing procedures. Unfortunately this has led to the definition of a compliant textile being only defined as one that was subjected to a water soak before testing.

This is a problem because upholstery is not subjected to a water soak before use. The source of the problem is definitely within the FFR and not the relevant British Standards. We are testing something other than what is sold. The FFR is responsible for the production of upholstery that may not perform as expected according to the testing results.


The more technically and commercially correct solution to this problem is to apply a requirement of ‘fit for purpose ‘ to the testing requirements. Upholstery may well be subjected to a topical, surface treatment to remove soiling and accidental damage. It would be realistic to expect a prime requirement such as Ignition Resistance to survive and continue its effectivity after such a treatment: So why not add it as a requirement to be specified when treatment of the textile is required? Textile testing recognises this as a DURABILITY testing requirement

This would place it into the contract for the Textile Processor to Produce, Test and and Prove Conformance. It would be the treatment and not the textile that is assessed so it does not define the Final Product. The requirement would be well defined by the BSI standard applied and easily included into the commissioning of the finishing process for the textile.

This is in direct contrast to the existing FFR requirements that make the soak test as part of the definition of Conformance.

Outdoor Furniture would, under the same approach, require the treatment to be durable to e.g. the leaching procedure as used in the performance specification for heavy tentage and marquees where outdoor exposure in rain is an expected condition.


Peter Wragg
Peter Wragg
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