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BIFMA Standards Overview

Furniture Comfort, Safety, Sustainability, and Durability Standards
Americans can take the comfort, safety, and durability of their workplace furniture for granted in large part because of the voluntary standards adopted by the business and institutional furniture industry. Chairs that support us securely day after day, casters that roll smoothly year after year, drawers that retain their shape even when jam-packed — these are some of the foundation stones of a safe and civilized workplace. BIFMA sponsors the development and maintenance of the standards behind these quiet achievements.

BIFMA Product Safety and Performance Standards and Guidelines

Accessing Standards
BIFMA provides standards available free of charge to government employees for reference and review purposes. Please contact to request a copy for your agency.

ANSI Accredited
BIFMA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Our standards development protocol conforms to ANSI Essential Requirements, and therefore includes:·       

  • consensus … by … materially affected and interested parties;    
  • broad-based public review and comment on draft standards;       
  • consideration of and response to comments submitted by … members of the relevant consensus body and … public; 
  • incorporation of approved changes into a draft standard; and     
  • right to appeal by any participant that believes that due process principles were not sufficiently respected…. ("Standards Activities Overview." American National Standards Institute, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.)

The BIFMA Engineering Committee organizes the development of our standards, shepherding the process from the formation of working groups and canvass lists, through the drafting and revision of standards, to the publication and regular review of accepted standards. The standards are intended to provide manufacturers, specifiers, and users with a common basis for evaluating safety, durability, and the structural adequacy of the specified furniture, independent of construction materials. The standards define specific tests, laboratory equipment and test conditions, and minimum acceptance levels to be used in evaluating products.

The specific procedures that BIFMA follows in developing standards are outlined here. BIFMA’s Scope of Accreditation is detailed here.

United States Furniture Compliance Requirements

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have put together "A Guide to United States Furniture Compliance Requirements."  This Guide includes a broad range of mandatory and voluntary requirements for selling furniture in the United States.  (Note - BIFMA references listed on pages 20-22 and 25).

International Furniture Standards
BIFMA is also accredited by ANSI to be the administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee TC-136 Furniture. This has been very useful for BIFMA in its involvement with International Standards for office furniture. However, ISO TC-136 covers ALL furniture, not just office furniture. Those interested in International Standards for furniture other than office furniture should contact BIFMA.

Healthcare Furniture Cleaning Guideline
An overview of the BIFMA Healthcare Furniture Cleaning Guide hosted by the University of Michigan, January 2015.
Video Link 

Chair Measurement Device

BIFMA members are evaluating a new Chair Measurement Device (CMD) that is now recognized by the International Standards Organization (ISO). Measurements with the new ISO CMD are per ISO Technical Report 24496:2012 Office furniture - Office work chairs - Methods for the determination of dimensions. A round robin study of this device and method has been completed at Advanced Furniture Testing in Holland, Michigan. If you are interested in information from this study, please contact Dave Panning at BIFMA. 


Independent consultant Tom Rademaker hosted eight training videos on how to use the ISO CMD per ISO TR 24496:2012 which you may view below.



Placing the CMD in the Chair

Lumbar Measurement


Angle Measurement: Part I


Angle Measurement: Part II


Minimum/Maximum Discussion


Dimensions with CMD in the Chair


Dimensions with CMD Removed from the Chair

Visit our Test Labs listing for information on conformance verification test facilities.

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