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.

Please click here for a brief overview of each of BIFMA's standards.

Please click here to see the current standards in development

BIFMA Product Safety and Performance Standards and Guidelines

  • BIFMA PC-2018 - BIFMA Product Conformance Requirements
  • ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 Office Seating
  • ANSI/BIFMA X5.4 Lounge and Public Seating
  • ANSI/BIFMA X6.4 Occasional-Use Seating
  • ANSI/BIFMA X5.5 Desk Products
  • ANSI/BIFMA X5.6 Panel Systems
  • ANSI/BIFMA X5.9 Storage
  • ANSI/BIFMA X5.11 Large Occupant Office Seating
  • ANSI/BIFMA X6.1 Educational Seating
  • ANSI/SOHO S6.5 Small Office/Home Office
  • ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 Standard Test Method for Determining VOC Emissions
  • ANSI/BIFMA X7.1 Standard for Formaldehyde and TVOC Emissions
  • ANSI/BIFMA e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard
  • BIFMA HCF 8.1 - Healthcare Furniture Design - Guidelines for Cleanability
  • BIFMA G1 - 2013 Ergonomics Guideline for Furniture
  • BIFMA Color - 2005 Color Measurement
  • BIFMA PCR for Office Furniture Workspace Products: UNCPC3814
  • BIFMA PCR for Seating: UNCPC 3811
  • BIFMA PCR for Storage: UNCPC 3812
  • BIFMA PD-1-2011 Mechanical Test Standards-Compiled Definitions
  • BIFMA Sustainability Guidelines for Office Furniture - 2005
  • BIFMA Tex4.1 - 2005 Woven Textile Characteristics

Accessing Standards

BIFMA may provide standards free of charge to government and higher education institution employees for reference and review purposes. Please contact email@bifma.org to request a copy.

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

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

BIFMA members gave a presentation at the Healthcare Design conference in November 2017, on the topic of Healthcare Seating.  You may view the presentation here

BIFMA and Mississippi State University partnered to study large occupants and the forces they create on commercial seating products.  The title of the publication is, “Measuring Humans for Heavy Duty Chair Testing and Design.” You may view the publication here.

Chair Measurement Device

Click here to learn more about ISO chair measurement device (CMD)