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BIFMA Releases Seating Standard for Large Occupants

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) has released ANSI/BIFMA X5.11-2015, General-Purpose Large Occupant Office Chairs, a new safety and performance standard for seating of large occupants.

The new standard is in response to the continually increasing average weights of Americans over the past 50 years. The current average male and female weights are 195.5 and 166 lbs respectively[1]. In 1960 average weights for males and females were 166.3 and 140.2 respectively[2]. X5.11 addresses increasing weights by adopting use of the 99th percentile male at 400 lbs. as the foundation load for the performance and safety tests[3]. The current normal seating standard, ANSI/BIFMA X5.1-2011 Standard for General-Purpose Office Chairs, uses the 95th percentile male at 253 lbs.

The new standard is intended for seating specifically designed for large occupants only. As stated by BFIMA, X5.11 “defines the specific tests, laboratory equipment, conditions of test, and recommended minimum levels to be used in the testing and evaluation of the safety, durability, and structural adequacy of general-purpose large occupant office chairs”. Large occupant seating designed to meet X5.11 must be 22 inches or greater in seat width. BIFMA is discouraging use of the X5.11 for average seating which is covered by the X5.1 standard.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved the standard on January 5, 2015, and is available on the BIFMA website www.bifma.org.

SGS is committed to providing information about developments in the regulations for consumer products as a complimentary service. Throughout our global network of laboratories, we are able to provide a wide range of services including physical/mechanical testing, analytical testing and consultancy work for technical and non-technical parameters applicable to a comprehensive range of consumer products. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Email SGS Hong Kong Ltd. at mktg.hk@sgs.com for enquiries or visit http://www.sgsgroup.com.hk/.


[1] CDC- Body Measurements

[2] CDC- advance data


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