Are FR Ratings Necessary?
Our expert, Randall Whitehead, IALD, gives readers the real deal on FR-rated custom lighting.
We get varied requests from hospitality and contract designers for materials in custom fabrications to be FR (fire retardant) rated. We comply and find materials that meet FR criteria, but it is usually more costly. I have never gotten a clear answer from anyone as to why they need it. The fixtures meet UL requirements (which don’t require FR rating on the shade diffuser materials) and as far as I know the National Building Code defers to UL for construction of decorative lighting fixtures. I don’t think the NFPA covers decorative fixtures either, specifically. I don’t think decorative lighting fixtures are covered the same way draperies or furniture are in this area. I understand a designer’s inclination to cover all bases and request it, but I have yet to have anyone be able to point to a specific code requirement calling for any kind of rating. Plus, there are different rating systems for different purposes. There is NFPA 701 for fabric and UL 94 for plastics. They test for different things, too: flame spread, smoke spread, self-extinguishing. Do you have any thoughts on this? We can build them that way, but sometimes it is unnecessarily costly for our clients.
Okay, you win the award for the lengthiest query in the history of this column. I needed a meal break halfway through the questions. It seems to me that if UL passes a fixture, the chance of fire is not an issue. This is what they test for, among other things. I have tried to research your concern and have come up empty as far as a specific code. Here’s what I recommend: State that your fixtures meet all UL requirements, including flammability. My guess is that the designers are covering all of their bases and are used to specifying FR fabrics for wallcoverings, floorcoverings and upholstery. Does anyone else out there have a more definitive answer?
Randall Whitehead, IALD
Lastest from ask randall
I am rather partial to LEDs, but in this scenario I am going suggest another direction. If you were staying in this home, then investing in color-... read full story
Your electrician is definitely on the right track. What I believe it comes down to is having a recessed adjustable fixture that is cost-effective,... read full story
You are so needy! Fading occurs when art and fabrics are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light and heat. Fluorescent lamps produce very little UV light,... read full story
Free CEU Webinar: LED Lighting 202 - LED and Solid-State Lighting Design Update for Residential Applications
Sponsored by Emerson, Ferguson and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting. Wednesday, April 8, 2-3 p.m. EDT Register for this free CEU webinar by clicking here. Webinar Overview:... read full story
Sponsored by Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting and Spotlite-USA. This live webinar has already taken place, but you can still view the presentation on demand by clicking... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, Engineered Lighting Products, Langlais Group Inc., LTF and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting. This webinar has already taken place, but you can... read full story