The Furniture Industry Research Association have released its 2021 Annual Review, summarising the association's activities over the last 12 months, with output that continued to reflect the impact of the pandemic on the sector. The review also signifies strong growth for the Research Association, with 28 new members joining its ranks.

The Annual Review opens with Brian Ahern, Chair of the Furniture Industry Research Association, talking about his first full year in the role, followed by details of all the new knowledge and resources delivered by the Furniture Industry Research Association in 2021, which included:

  • Horizon Scanning - New Hardline and Softline Materials. Examining what could be on the horizon for the furniture sector in terms of alternative materials
  • Guide to Alternative Packaging and Sustainability. Exploring current and alternative packaging materials
  • Flammability Guidance for Contract Seating: Fire Safety of Office Work Chairs in Domestic Environments. Developed in collaboration with Trading Standards
  • REACH matrixes for upholstery, mattresses and children’s furniture. Detailing what regulations apply to certain productsBusiness Support Templates: Carbon Footprint Calculator (Scope 1&2); Environmental Policy Template; GB Biocidal Products Regulation (GB BPR) Labelling for Treated Articles Template; Modern Slavery Policy Template; Product Safety Incident Plan - Template based on PAS 7100 requirements; REACH, POPs and BIOCIDES Chemical Compliance Templates; UKCA Label Template for Marking of Products and Declaration of Conformity (GB Type post Brexit) Template. All to support members with compliance across various regulations
  • Home Office Buyers Guide. Helping individuals and companies select fit-for-purpose furniture and accessories

In addition, the Research Association directed resources to update existing knowledge available to members to reflect continuing changes in guidance and Regulations, most notably via Brexit and the extension granted to the UKCA Mark.

Speaking on the Review’s publication, Brian said, “Seeing such exponential growth in members throughout 2021, which was a challenging year for many of us across the furniture sector, was very pleasing to see. As a not-for-profit Research Association we very much exist to support all our members, and they rely on us to deliver knowledge and resources they need and can depend on.

All FIRA members also benefit from access to the experts at our service provider, FIRA International. We worked very closely with our colleagues to deliver projects on topics that varied from sustainability through to the issues of contract chairs in the working from home environment, in this example we called on the expertise of Trading Standards to further ensure compliance for the membership.

“Throughout 2021 we also collated feedback from members on various calls for evidence and standards proposals, representing a strong united voice. With 28 new members this voice continues to get louder. We aim to continue this momentum throughout 2022. These are uncertain times for many industry sectors, consequently the Furniture Industry Research Association intends to maintain our position working on relevant projects and keeping our very strong presence on the various committees and standards group who are looking to shape our sector’s future.”

The Furniture Industry Research Association’s 2021 Annual Review is available here