If you’re looking for safe, durable furniture, check for products listed in the new BIFMA Compliant database

by Brianna Crandall — July 19, 2019 — The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) recently announced that it will officially launch BIFMA Compliant, a branded conformance program, in October 2020. The voluntary program will create a documented rule set for a clear definition of conformance and provide a registry to allow for ease in identifying commercial furniture products entering the market that comply with specific BIFMA standards.

For over 45 years, BIFMA has represented the interests of commercial furniture brands by developing safety and performance standards intended to protect the public. With the launch of LEVEL in 2009, BIFMA’s sustainability certification program, the organization broadened its scope and gained recognition from the architecture and design community for providing access to information to help make more informed choices about the sustainability of commercial furniture products. The new BIFMA Compliant program, once launched, will further establish BIFMA as the authoritative voice for the commercial furniture industry, says the group.

BIFMA Executive Director Tom Reardon explained:

This conformance program has been developed to respond to a market need for more clarity. As we spoke to members of the design community, and others who participate in the specification of commercial furniture, we heard loud and clear the need for greater ease in identifying products they can trust.

Don Van Winkle, president and chief operating officer (COO) of Kimball International and BIFMA Board president, stated:

Technological and societal shifts have had a profound impact on our industry. Products are entering the market from more sources than ever before, and decision-makers need better access to information. This program is an important step toward providing that information and delivering needed differentiation.

The BIFMA Compliant program will be open to BIFMA members and non-members alike. Furniture manufacturers who elect to participate will upload product information into a searchable online database. Access to the database will be free to anyone interested in finding products that meet industry safety and performance standards.

The program will cover nine mechanical standards that focus on safety and durability:

  1. ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 Office Seating
  2. ANSI/BIFMA X5.11 Large Occupant Office Seating
  3. ANSI/BIFMA X6.1 Educational Seating
  4. ANSI/BIFMA X5.4 Lounge and Public Seating
  5. BIFMA X6.4 Occasional-Use Seating
  6. ANSI/BIFMA X5.5 Desk / Table Products
  7. ANSI/SOHO S6.5 Small Office/Home Office
  8. ANSI/BIFMA X5.6 Panel Systems
  9. ANSI/BIFMA X5.9 Storage Units

As an example, the ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 Office Seating standard includes:  Scope, Definitions, General Sections and Tests for evaluating the safety, durability, and structural adequacy of general-purpose office chairs for the following components: back pull, unit base, seat drop, swivel cycling, tilt mechanism, seating impact, stability, arm strength, back durability, caster durability, caster swivel, caster rolling, and foot-ring durability.

For more information, visit the BIFMA Compliant program page. Additional details about the program, including pricing and contractual requirements, will be announced later in 2019.