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After close to three years of work by the Chair Standards Subcommittee of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA), we would like to announce that the next revision of their industry standard for office chairs is now available. Published through ANSI, this new version, ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 – 2017, contains several substantial test load and procedural changes. In particular, the standard was updated to have the loading based off of a 95th percentile male user now weighing 275 lbs. These changes within this standard will affect future manufacturing & sales of office chairs in both the retail and hospitality industries.
The BIFMA organization first completed work on this office chair standard back in May of 1974, and have since made several revisions to the standard. This latest revision comes after years of work by the subcommittee group to process updates to the standard in response to the fact that the weight of the U.S. population has continued to increase. When the 2002 version of the standard was published, the tests & loading were based on a 95th percentile male user weighing 225 lbs. The next revision in 2011 saw an increase in this male user weight to 253 lbs. Now, for this latest revision, the current anthropometric data has shown that this 95th percentile male user now weighs close to 275 lbs. Therefore, 275 lbs. is being used as the basis for some of the changes within this revision of the standard.
Summary of Key Changes
Many of the significant changes within this revision are a result of increasing the user weight. Some of the substantial changes are the following:
• Section 8, Swivel Test – seat load increased from 250 lbs to 270 lbs
• Section 9, Tilt Mechanism Test – Cyclic – seat load increased from 225 lbs to 240 lbs
• Section 10, Seating Durability – test load increased from 165 lbs to 200 lbs, increased the drop height from 1.2” to 1.4”, and specified the orientation of the casters during the drop testing
• Section 14, Backrest Durability – seat load increased from 225 lbs to 240 lbs.
• Section 16, Caster/Chair Base Durability Test – Cyclic – seat load increased from 250 lbs to 270 lbs
• Section 23, Tablet Arm Chair Load Ease Test – Cyclic – Load applied to tablet arm surface was changed from 77 lbs centered on the surface to 55 lbs located 1 inch from the edge
• Section 24, Structural Durability Test – Cyclic – New test added
These are just some of the more significant changes made to the ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 standard. In addition to the above, other sections that were also affected are the following:
• Sections 5 & 6, Backrest Strength
• Base Test – No longer required by the standard
• Section 7, Drop Test
• Section 11, Stability Tests
• Section 12, Arm Strength Test – Vertical
• Section 13, Arm Strength Test – Horizontal
How Bureau Veritas Can Help
Bureau Veritas has been actively participating on the technical subcommittee within BIFMA responsible for this standard, and has helped throughout the revision process. Bureau Veritas has several labs throughout the world that have been capable of testing to this chair standard and have experience evaluating office chairs to these requirements. We are currently in the process of taking the appropriate measures to gear up for these new changes and to ensure these labs remain capable. Learn more about our office chair testing capabilities.
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