U.S. – BIFMA releases Large Occupant Office Chair Standard

Vol. 813 | January 27, 2015

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Business + Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) recently released a new voluntary standard for “large occupant” office seating: ANSI/BIFMA X5.11-2015, General-Purpose Large Occupant Office Chairs. This test standard was developed for manufacturers, specifiers and users to evaluate the safety, durability and structural performance of office chairs for large occupants. The standard is based on a 400-pound user and the amount of force the user would exert on the furniture. 

Large occupant office chairs are normally used in an office environment and may include, but are not limited to, seating styles typically referred to as: executive/management, task/secretarial, side/guest chairs and stacking chairs. This standard describes the means of evaluating large occupant office chairs, independent of construction materials, manufacturing processes, mechanical designs or aesthetic designs. This standard does not address lounge seating, stools, flammability, surface material durability, cushioning materials or product emissions.

About the Standard:

  • Based on a 400-pound user
  • Standard was developed based on an estimated single shift, 10-year life usage and can be altered based on variables such as maintenance and environment of use
  • Chairs designed for this standard must have a seat width of 22 inches or greater
  • Types of tests employed in this standard: static loads, dynamic loads, and durability/life cycle
  • A test unique to this standard is test number 23 the structural durability test, which evaluates the ability of the unit to withstand fatigue stresses and wear caused by side to side forces on the structural frame. This test method was utilized in the previous revision of BIFMA X5.4-2005 lounge seating but was removed during the latest revision that was released in 2012. The test does not apply to pedestal base chairs or chairs with casters.

The original work on a seating standard was completed in May 1974 by the BIFMA Engineering Committee on Chair Standards for General-Purpose Office Chairs with subsequent revisions in 1985, 1993, 2002, and 2011. The original work on this General-Purpose Large Occupant Chair standard was completed in 2014 by the BIFMA Engineering Committee and, particularly by its Subcommittee on Chair Standards. From 2011 to 2014, the Subcommittee on Chair Standards conducted reviews of the draft standard to ensure that the tests accurately describe the proper means of evaluating the safety, durability and structural adequacy of general-purpose large occupant office chairs. The drafts were submitted to the membership of BIFMA for approval in 2013 and 2014.

For more information regarding this standard you can visit www.bifma.org or contact:

Mr. Brian Kneibel
Intertek - National Sales Lead
Tel: 616-656-7401
Email: brian.kneibel@Intertek.com


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