Cal 133 vs. Cal 117: All You Need to Know
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Cal 133 vs. Cal 117: All You Need to Know

AutonomousAutonomous | Jun 12, 2022
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Cal 133 is a State of California Technical Bulletin 133. If you’ve found this article, then you are aware that your furniture needs to be compliant with Cal 133. Since it has been widely adopted all over the country, we’ve decided to assess Cal 133 vs. Cal 117.

You need to review your local, state, and licensing codes before purchasing furniture intended for any residence, office, or living facility. You need to go through all the fine print when making those purchases. This is because there are several variations when it comes to compliance, and a difference when it comes to all of the certified components requirements.

What is Cal 117 Rating?

What is Cal 117 Rating?

Cal 117, or California Technical Bulletin 117, is a regulation used in the furniture industry that establishes flammability standards for upholstered furniture. Despite only being legally binding in California, the regulation has become a nationwide standard since the state represents such an enormous market. Residential furniture materials must pass an open flame test and a smolder test to be compliant with Cal 117.

This is what is Cal 117. This rule initially protected consumers in 1975 by prohibiting the sale of flammable products that would be easily ignited. Since most fires do not start from the inside, the first set of standards focused more on the filling materials. During the revision process in 2015, the focus shifted to how fillings interact with materials. The following requirements have been added to Cal 117 standards:

  • Fabrics, fillings, and other materials to cover upholstery must meet certain smolder resistance requirements.
  • Components that do not meet flammability standards must be protected with a barrier material.
  • Furniture can be treated with flame retardant chemicals if they meet specific requirements.
  • If manufacturers do not comply with flammability or labeling regulations, they will be subject to fines, and further compliance testing will cost them money.

Cal 133 Meaning

Cal 133 Meaning

During the mid-1970s, California, concerned about fires that were being started in public buildings and discarded cigarettes, Asked chemists how the risk of fire could be reduced.

For furniture, bedding, and fixtures, these chemists established certain standards based on the flammability characteristics of these items. This test procedure is called Cal 133, and it measures the flammability level Of various items we use in our daily lives. The Cal 133 procedure only specifies a testing procedure to determine compliance. It doesn’t identify any compliant components. In contrast, Cal 133 requires flammability to be considered only when the item or furniture piece as a whole is completed and assembled.

Cal 117 and ASTM 1537 can be met by fabric and form that meet such standards. Despite the less intensive nature of these methods, they still effectively prevent and control fires. In most cases, sprinkler systems must be approved for Cal 133 to be applied.

Cal 117 and ASTM 1537

Each chair, seat, and sofa can be constructed using virtually any combination of foams, frames, and fabrics mathematically possible. As a designer or facility manager, you may be ego to experiment with different kinds of colors, fabrics, textiles, and other materials. That could be possible, as long as you meet Cal 133 requirements, you would be required to construct and burn test a piece for every fabric and frame combination.

Always review fire regulations for your furniture project when planning the project. You need to understand all requirements to pass any inspections, which are usually very confusing as they are detailed. Each time you buy furniture, check to see that you’re making your purchase from a reputable dealer that can guarantee the furniture meets the project's standards. 

Difference Between Cal 117 And Cal 133 Rating

Difference Between Cal 117 And Cal 133 Rating

Business owners and office managers responsible for furnishing their buildings with the right furniture must be familiar with these regulations if they want the right furniture to meet their practical needs and look good. Ensure that the products you select meet your local fire agency's requirements and any local ordinances you may be bound by.

If you are ordering furniture especially, you will likely be required to pay for the cost of a sample piece of furniture and a burn test, which typically costs $400 to $600. These additional costs may be enough to persuade some buildings to purchase pre-engineered chairs for waiting rooms and offices already put through the required testing process.

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