one of the questions we get asked is what do the certifications mean. We have a brief description of the three main ones used below.
The Australasian Furnishing Research and Development Institute is an independent not-for-profit technical organisation providing standards, testing, product certification and research for buyers and sellers of furniture.
These standards cover strength, durability, stability, flammability and safety. Ergonomic assessment is available for AS/NZS 4438 only. The suppliers of the chairs have formally agreed to maintain quality and to submit their products to regular auditing.
AS/NZS 4438 (levels 4, 5 and 6)
Most certified office swivel chairs in Australia and NZ are tested to the requirements of AS/NZS 4438:1997–Height adjustable swivel chairs. This standard is regarded as appropriate for people up to about 110 kg.
An AFRDI Level 6 certified office chair will meet most commercial needs. Level 6 chairs are be able to withstand extremely severe conditions of use, such as police stations, military installations, control rooms and use in heavy industry.
For more information please go to www.furntec.org.au
The GREENGUARD Certification Program gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits, which contribute to the creation of healthier interiors.
Achieving GREENGUARD Certification gives credence to manufacturers’ sustainability claims, backing them with empirical scientific data from an unbiased, third-party organization. Products certified under this program bear the GREENGUARD Certification mark.
GREENGUARD Certification Standards for Low-Emitting Products
GREENGUARD Certification standards have established performance-based standards to define products and processes with low chemical and particle emissions for use indoors. The standards are primarily for building materials, finishes, interior furnishings, furniture, cleaning, products and electronic equipment. The standards establish certification procedures including test methods, allowable emission levels, product sample collection and handling, testing type and frequency as well as program application processes, toxicity limits and acceptance.
Allowable Emission Levels
All products are tested in dynamic environmental chambers following appropriate test methods. The primary test method for most building materials, furniture and finishes is the, “Standard Method for Measuring and Evaluating Chemical Emissions from Building Materials, Finishes and Furnishings Using Dynamic Environmental Chambers.” Other specific GREENGUARD test methods are available for electronic equipment and cleaning products. These methods, and others utilized by the GREENGUARD Certification programs, follow guidance of ASTM Standards D-5116 and D-6670, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) testing protocol for furniture, the state of Washington’s protocol for interior furnishings and construction materials, Germany’s Blue Angel Program, California’s Department of Public Health Services (CDPH) Standard Practice for Specification Section 01350 and the ISO 16000 environmental testing series. Products are measured for chemical and particle emissions, as they are tested to simulate actual product use. Most building materials and furnishings are required to meet allowable emission levels within 7 to 14 days of installation. Other products and processes, including operating electronics and cleaning systems, must meet allowable levels during actual use or the application process.
For more information please go to www.greenguard.org
BIFMA is an American based not‐for-profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers. Since 1973, BIFMA has been the voice of the commercial furniture industry.
BIFMA provides engineering and material standards for healthy, comfortable, and productive workspaces. These standards, founded on centuries of craft and enhanced by ever-advancing science, embody the best of our knowledge on safety, ergonomics, and sustainability.
BIFMA sponsors the development and refining of standards, educates on their importance and application, and translates their necessary complexity into more easily understood and implemented formats. We promote sustainability throughout the life cycle of commercial furniture. We offer statistical and educational resources to our members and the public and reach out to regulators, consumers, and international partners to foster value and innovation.
BIFMA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). BIFMA 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 in Scope of Accreditation.
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.
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.
For more information please go to www.bifma.org
Information supplied by one of our major partners GOP.