The Facts on BIFMA Certification

Key Takeaways:
  • BIFMA is the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association.
  • BIFMA develops safety and performance standards for commercial furniture.
  • BIFMA tests address a product’s durability, safety, sustainability and more.

What is BIFMA, anyway?

Founded in 1973, BIFMA is the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association, a non-profit organization responsible for developing and maintaining stringent safety and performance standards for commercial furniture. These requirements verify the safety, durability and sustainability of the commercial furniture we use in schools, offices and institutions every day through a series of rigorous product testing. However, BIFMA standards are voluntary, and therefore not every manufacturer abides by them.
In addition to publishing product safety guidelines, BIFMA educates consumers on the importance of such standards and advocates for furniture safety legislation.

What standards do BIFMA tests address?

Facilities that conduct BIFMA testing look at a product’s:
  • Safety
  • Durability and strength
  • Recyclability and recycled content
  • Sustainability
  • Chemical content and emissions
  • Flammability
  • Electrical components
  • Material
  • Design
  • ….and much more

Office desks and chairs, educational seating, lounge seating, storage units and panel systems are just a few examples of product types that can be BIFMA tested.

Examples of BIFMA tests

BIFMA tests vary by product type and are quite intense. There are numerous types of tests, including:
  • Horizontal Stability Test for Desk & Tables with Casters
  • Leg Strength Test
  • Top Load Ease Cycle Test
  • Force Stability Test for Tall Desk & Table Products
  • Desk/Table Unit Drop Test
  • Work Surface Vertical Adjustment Test
  • Seat Drop and Base Stability Test for Office Chairs
  • Tilt Mechanism Test for Office Chairs
  • Pull Force Test
  • ….and much more

To achieve BIFMA certification, a product must meet or exceed all applicable testing benchmarks – and remain up to date on all testing procedures and policies, which BIFMA updates regularly.

It’s not uncommon to see products tout the label “meets BIFMA requirements”. While these products are still technically safe, this is not the same as BIFMA Certified. Only products that have been legitimately tested and achieved BIFMA certification can be marketed as “BIFMA Certified”.

The benefits of BIFMA Certified furniture

Products that are BIFMA Certified contribute to a safe and functional work environment, thereby decreasing work-related injuries and even increasing productivity. BIFMA Certified furniture is durable, long-lasting and often backed by a warranty of five years or longer. It will undoubtedly withstand the rigors of 8-hour workdays, year after year.

Have questions, or need help finding BIFMA Certified furniture for your workspace? Contact our product experts at 1-800-260-2776 or sales@schooloutfitters.com. We're ready to assist you.

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