Standards Descriptions

BIFMA Standards Descriptions   - - - September 2019

BIFMA offers several standards for furniture products.  In order to assist manufacturers, specifiers, and users of the BIFMA standards, the following information is intended to aid in clarification between the standards.  Note – the manufacturer determines which standard is most appropriate.



ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 Office Chairs is typically used to provide safety and performance requirements for chairs that are primarily designed for use in an office environment. Examples include but are not limited to seating styles typically referred to as: executive/management, task/secretarial, side/guest chairs, nesting and/or folding chairs.  These chairs are for single occupants and the tests are based on the 95th percentile male body weight (currently 275 lbs.). Chairs may include features such as: stacking, stool, tablet arm.


ANSI/BIFMA X5.11 Large Occupant Office Chairs is very similar to X5.1 except the tests are based on the 99.5th percentile male body weight (currently 400 lbs.) and the minimum seat width shall be 22 inches.


ANSI/BIFMA X6.1 Educational Seating offers many tests based on X5.1 but is typically used for seating products that are primarily designed for use in schools (K-12) and colleges/universities. It includes chair-desks, tablet-arm products, convertible bench/tables; in addition to many of the types of chairs and features described in X5.1.  This standard provides guidance for three sizes of chairs based on seat height. The small and medium size chairs may be more suitable for K-6 environments catering to smaller users. The large size is based on the 95th percentile male body weight.

ANSI/BIFMA X5.4 Lounge & Public Seating provides safety and performance requirements for seating that is primarily designed for use in indoor common or shared spaces such as: waiting, reception, patient rooms, restaurant/dining/cafeteria settings, and other gathering areas.  Public seating includes products with single or multiple seat units, arena folding chairs, and standard folding chairs. Public and lounge seating may be ganged or otherwise connected. Seating units that must be attached to the building structure for support or stability purposes are not specifically addressed in this standard (though aspects of this standard may nonetheless be useful).  The tests are based on the 95th percentile male body weight.


BIFMA X6.4 Occasional-Use Seating is similar to X5.4 except the durability test cycles are reduced for products that may experience less frequent use or a reduced life expectation.


BIFMA SC Stack Chair Tests is a whitepaper to help manufacturers of stackable seating determine how many chairs may be reasonably stacked. 


Test Considerations for Sit-Stand Seating and Motion Seating Products describes tests for ‘perching’ or ‘leaning’ type seating products. 


BIFMA Position Paper on Chair Weight Loads / Ratings discusses weight thresholds described in seating standards and cautions against improper use of static load claims, such as “rated for 600 lbs.” 




ANSI/BIFMA X5.5 Desk/Table Products covers commercial desks and tables.  It also offers several tests for Monitor Arms.


ANSI/SOHO S6.5 Small Office/Home Office Furniture covers desk-type furniture primarily designed for use in small office, home office, and residential environments.  These products may be completely assembled, partially assembled, or totally unassembled (i.e. Ready-to-Assemble (RTA)).


ANSI/BIFMA X5.6 Panel Systems covers the performance requirements for panel systems, screens, panel supported systems, and various hang-on components. 


ANSI/BIFMA X5.9 Storage provides test methods for freestanding, mobile, and wall-mounted storage units.


ANSI/BIFMA X7.1 Standard for Formaldehyde and TVOC Emissions provides industry approved emissions requirements for low-emitting seating and office furniture products.


ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 Standard Test Method for Determining VOC Emissions provides chamber test methodology for the emissions of seating, office furniture systems, and components.


ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability provides measurable market-based definitions and establishes performance criteria for increasingly sustainable furniture. 


BIFMA G1 Ergonomics Guideline for Furniture gives dimensional recommendations for seating and other workstation task-oriented furniture products that are primarily designed for use with a computer.


BIFMA HCF 8.1 Healthcare Furniture Design – Guidelines for Cleanability.  The purpose of this Guideline is to provide guidance to furniture manufacturers and healthcare professionals in understanding typical cleaners, disinfectants, cleaning methods, and performance of furniture when exposed to these cleaners and disinfectants.


BIFMA PD-1 Mechanical Test Standards – Compiled Definitions.  This publication provides a list of common definitions and terms that can be used by consumers, designers, specifiers, and test laboratories when describing or evaluating industry products.