Code of Practice FAQs
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.
All products are actually as described in their specification and description.
Textile Products (Labelling and Composition)
Label to include information on the main fibres used and their percentages – for example 80% wool, 20% cotton.
Awareness of EU Timber Regulations 2013
In particular whether the organisation have assessed their duties as an operator or trader.
Awareness of REACH Regulations
Organisations should show an awareness of the REACH regulations and how different products are managed through that process using documented obligations.
Awareness of the EU Biocides Regulation 2012
Organisations should show an awareness of the EU Biocide regulations and whether they have assessed their manufacturing processes for the presence of biocidal products or treated articles.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!