Code of Practice

Sleep Safe. Sleep Sound

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Welcome to a new era of consumer reassurance.

Introducing the NBF Code of Practice and Mark of Approval.

The time has come to be more proactive in protecting the interests of reputable traders, to raise awareness of the problem and, by introducing the new Code for members and giving it teeth through independent auditing, provide a solution – buy from an NBF member!

Jessica Alexander, NBF Executive Director

Playing fair and playing safe just aren’t negotiable standards for our members. It doesn’t just risk giving our industry a bad name, it isn’t just about unfair competition, it puts the public’s health and safety at risk too and it deceives them.

Stuart Hibbert, NBF President

With the introduction of the National Bed Federation’s new Code of Practice, retailers and consumers can now buy from NBF Approved members with confidence, safe in the knowledge that what they buy is safe, clean and honest.

Membership of the NBF is now dependent on compliance with the Code, and to achieve that compliance every NBF manufacturer member has agreed to an independent audit against the Code’s strict criteria, conducted by BM TRADA, a major provider of independent certification, testing, inspection and technical services, which incorporates furniture specialists FIRA International Ltd.

Want to report suspect traders?

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Code of Practice Handbook

For full details about the Code of Practice and the audit process that underpins it, please download the Handbook here.

Download Handbook…

NBF Approved Members

NBF Approved Member

View a full list of NBF Approved Members and verify their certification.

View Approved Members…

Are the products you’re buying what they say they are?

The NBF Code of Practice sets out criteria for ensuring processes and procedures are in place for supply chain scrutiny and compliance with regulatory requirements. It covers three key areas of business – flammability, health and hygiene and trade descriptions – in short, are the products safe, clean and honest.

Burning Mattress

In controlled tests, it took just 7.5 minutes for a non-compliant divan bed to burn out.

Mattress Poor Practice

Unacceptable practice – an old mattress dressed up as a new one.

The mark of approval the public will be looking for

NBF Approved

All NBF members manufacturing beds, headboards and other ‘finished’ products, having been audited and approved, will be using the new ‘NBF Approved Member’ membership logo.

The logo will soon become a familiar sight on their products and marketing materials. It will send a clear message of reassurance to consumers that they can buy from an NBF member with confidence, safe in the knowledge that what they buy is safe, clean and honest.

NB The new NBF Code is not a quality mark. The audits specifically look at best practice and processes within each company, rather than checking out every product every company makes – which would be an impossible task!

Want to know more? If you still have questions, contact us

Code of Practice Q A

Click on the questions below to reveal the answers.

What exactly are the Code’s criteria?

The auditors will look for the evidence that assures them that processes and procedures are in place for supply chain scrutiny and compliance with regulatory requirements, covering:-


Full conformity to the requirements of the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended) and to BS 7177:2008 Specification for Resistance to ignition of mattresses, divans and divan bases, toppers and mattress pads (or an equivalent specification which equally satisfies the requirement of delivering safe products to the market, under the General Product Safety Regulations.)

Health & Hygiene

Full conformity with BS1425: Part 1: 1991 Cleanliness of fillings and stuffings for bedding, upholstery and other domestic articles. Specification for fillings and stuffings other than feather and/or down; or EN12936:2001 Feather & Down, hygiene and cleanliness requirements. Plus evidence of procedures for traceability of new, used or recycled materials.

Trade Descriptions

All products are actually as described in their specification and description.

What’s the point? Aren’t the NBF just wasting their time, putting all this effort into checking if companies are complying with the law, when that’s what they should be doing anyway?

Most companies make every effort to do things properly. But it isn’t always all that straightforward. The flammability regulations in particular are both complex and in parts quite confusing. The independent audits aren’t just designed to catch companies out – they are there to help them get it right, too.

We’re not saying that only NBF members are reputable, of course. But we’ve got to start somewhere and that means putting our own house in order first. Our members want this. They want to say loud and clear to their customers, “we do it how it should be done.”

Basically, we want the trade and the public to know that, if they buy a product from an NBF member they can buy with confidence, knowing that safety standards are being met and that they are buying what it says it is!

What does it mean to retailers?

Essentially, we’re taking the hard work out of responsible sourcing for retailers. Honest trading has become a hot issue and the media is constantly highlighting transgressions (the horsemeat scandal being the most high profile). As a result, third party auditing is becoming more and more commonplace, particularly by larger retailers, who are more on the front line when it comes to media attention and consumer awareness. Smaller retailers don’t have those resources and have to take what they’re told by companies on trust. Sadly, that trust is not always respected.

Retailers should also remember that they are equally responsible for ensuring the products they source comply with the required laws. Ignorance isn’t an excuse and it is YOUR business, along with the supplier’s, which could face court action and financial penalties (or worse) and the consequential loss of face and long term business damage.

How vigorous are the auditing checks?

Judging from the feedback from our members– they are pretty vigorous! We are working with one of the leading independent certification and auditing bodies in the UK – BM TRADA, itself accredited by UKAS since 1981 – so while the NBF has set the parameters of the audit, BM TRADA determine if those parameters are being met to a satisfactory level and set appropriate methods and timescales for coming up to scratch if need be. Some companies may need to make minor adjustments or corrections; others might need to take more drastic remedial action to meet the criteria. We’re not out to catch members out and punish them; we’ve put the system in to encourage best practice and help members achieve acceptable standards. But if a member is unable or unwilling to meet the required standards within a reasonable time frame, then they will no longer be able to remain an NBF member.

How often will the audits be repeated to ensure members remain compliant?

The frequency of auditing is in part determined by the auditors – some companies will be visited more often if it is felt they need more support to fully meet the criteria on an ongoing basis. Ultimately we aim to be auditing members at least every three years.

What happens if an NBF Member fails an audit?

Approval will not be given until the auditors are satisfied everything is up to scratch. As with all compliance schemes, there is a certain amount of time given to allow companies the opportunity to put right any shortcomings in the requirements of the Code. However, if, after this time, the company fails to satisfy the auditors they are able or willing to comply, they will no longer be able to remain in NBF membership.

Will new members have to be audited before they can join?

Yes – all companies wishing to join the NBF will need to be audited and meet the code’s criteria before their application will be considered.

How will the scheme be publicised?

The key is to get the new logo out there and recognised. NBF members will be able to use their new Approved Member logos on product labels, and a wide range of marketing materials. The NBF will also be using both PR and advertising to raise awareness of the Mark and what it stands for.

Will the Code’s introduction actually clamp down on less scrupulous traders?

We hope so! The NBF plans to work proactively with trading standards to identify and put a stop to those in our trade who deliberately flout product regulations which are there to protect the consumer. So, if you come across some dodgy practices or have your doubts about whether a product meets UK requirements for fire resistance, cleanliness or trade descriptions, contact us!

Sleep Safe. Sleep Sound

Furniture Makers