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US BIFMA Releases Update of New Office Chair ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 – 2011

Photo: Office chair
Photo: Office chair

BIFMA has released the ANSI approved update of ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 (General-Purpose Office Chairs Tests). The 2017 edition contains increased test loads and modifications to test procedures.

On 14 February 2017, BIFMA released an update [1] of ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 – 2011 (General-Purpose Office Chairs Tests). The updated edition now designated ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 – 2017, aids furniture manufacturers in addressing the continued rise in American’s weight by increasing the test loads to reflect the current 95th percentile male weight of 275 lbs. The 2011 edition of the standard was based on a 253 pound 95th percentile male weight. Other updates include renumbered section designations, an alternative front stability test method, and the addition of a new “chair durability” test.

Please see below for a summary of changes:

2017 Test SectionSummary of Change
Backrest Strength Test – Static
Section 5 and 6
Type l and ll chairs, angle now 70 degrees
Type l, ll, and lll chairs, force loads now 150 lbf functional, 225 lbf proof
Test platform can be placed at angle to aid in facilitating testing
Base TestRemoved from normative testing, now Annex C
Drop Test – Dynamic
Section 7
Center column cannot touch test surface/floor during functional drop
Swivel Test – Cyclic
Section 8
Seat load now 270 lbs

Tilt Mechanism – Cyclic
Section 9

Seat load now 240 lbs
Seating Durability – Cyclic (Impact)
Section 10.3
Seat drop height now 1.4 inches
Updates in procedure
Seating Durability – Cyclic (Front Load Ease)
Section 10.4
Load now 200 lbs
Stability Tests
Section 11
Update in disc loading positioning
Alternative test method for front stability now an option
Arm Strength Test – Vertical – Static
Section 12
Proof load duration now 15 seconds
Arm Strength Test – Horizontal – Static
Section 13
Proof load duration now 15 seconds
Backrest Durability – Cyclic
Section 14 and 15
Seat load now 240 lbs
Caster/Chair Base Durability Test – Cyclic
Section 16
Seat load now 270 lbs
Updates in procedure
Footrest Static Load Test – Vertical
Section 18
Applicable to chairs with seat heights ≥ 24 inches
Footrest Durability Test - Vertical – Cyclic
Section 19
Applicable to chairs with seat heights ≥ 24 inches
Tablet Arm Load Ease Test – Cyclic
Section 23
Load now 55 lbs
Structural Durability
Section 24
New test

ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 defines specific tests, the laboratory equipment that may be used, the conditions of tests, and the minimum acceptance levels to be used in evaluating general-purpose office chairs.

SGS is committed to providing information about the development of regulations for consumer products as complimentary services. Throughout the SGS 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@sgs.com for enquiry or visit www.sgsgroup.com/hk.


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