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Upholstered Furniture

Updated May 2018

The University is required to comply with the furniture fire code standards of the local city government (by campus) and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code  (527 CMR 1). Upholstered furnishings constructed of one-half inch (1/2″) or more thickness of padding are subject to these requirements.

The “minimum fire resistance rating” for a particular building or area is based upon the Occupancy Type (what the building or area is used for) and other life safety factors related to the hazards commonly associated with the occupancy or use.

The minimum  fire resistance rating for upholstered furniture  located within all student housing owned, operated by, or subject to Tufts University control (including fraternities and sororities),  shall be labeled with certification of compliance with  California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 (CAL TB 117-2013) standards in compliance with the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code (527 CMR 1), local ordinances, and Tufts University policies.

Furnishings purchased with Tufts University funds:

  • It is the preference of Tufts University that any furnishing  requiring CAL TB 117-2013 and purchased using university funds include labeling the indicates the item “contains NO chemical flame retardants” whenever such option is available for that purchase.

Furnishings purchased with private funding, or non – University funds:

  • It is the encouraged by Tufts University that any furnishing  requiring CAL TB 117-2013 and (privately funded or supplied) by faculty, staff, or students for use on Tufts University property include labeling the indicates the item “contains NO chemical flame retardants” whenever such option is available for that purchase.

Please do not bring any upholstered furnishings to the campus unless the item is properly tagged with a CAL TB 117-2013 or higher certification label.

Any non-compliant furniture observed within student residential spaces will be cited with a Fire Safety Notice of Non-Compliance. Per university policy, the furniture owner must remove unauthorized furnishings from campus within 48 hours of notice. The owner will be informed by email of the non-compliant furniture and advised of resources that may be available to comply with the standard.

Tufts University Mattress Standard

Updated: May 2018

All on-campus student housing operated by Tufts University, and all residential settings approved by the university as satisfying the on-campus housing requirement for undergraduate students, shall, in the entire dwelling, use only mattresses with an original manufacturer’s label affixed indicating that the mattress meets the fire safety standards of California Technical Bulletin 129 (CAL129 or TB129) or Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 1633 (16 CFR 1633).

This requirement is a minimum fire safety standard and should not be construed to set a lower standard where more stringent code, ordinance, or other regulation also applies. Other university departments with appropriate authority may set other, non-fire safety related standards for mattresses in addition to this fire safety standard, provided such standards do not conflict with the fire safety standard.

The university’s Fire Marshal shall have the authority to grant written waiver of this standard in reasonable circumstances when a medical or other practical necessity requires the use of specialized bedding which may not be labeled with the required fire safety testing standard.

Occupancy Use of the Building Furniture Fire Safety – Certification Tag Requirement
Student Residential 1
Dormitories, Fraternities, Sororities, etc…Includes ALL CAMPUSES
Minimum rating: CAL TB 117-2013 or higher rating is REQUIRED for student residential spaces on all campuses.
Assembly Spaces 2
Minimum rating:

CAL TB 117-2013

All Occupancy Uses /  All locations 5 must comply with  527 CMR 1


  1. All campuses. Includes all student residential housing owned, operated by, or subject to Tufts University control.
  2. Assembly spaces {as defined by applicable MA fire codes} are rooms that have an occupant load of 50 or more persons — i.e. lecture halls, dining halls, etc… All Assembly Spaces at all campuses require a minimum fire safety rating of                    CAL TB 117-2013 for upholstered furniture
  3.  Educational occupancies (above the 12th grade), Classrooms (under 50 persons), Offices, etc…, are “Business occupancies” as defined in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Prevention Code (527 CMR 1).
  4. Effective 1/1/2015, for furnishings in business, office, or classroom occupancies that are purchased or reimbursed using university funds.
  5. All furnishings, regardless of funding source, that are located within Tufts University properties, must comply with university policies, and with the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Prevention Code (527 CMR 1) as applicable to the occupancy and use.