Who and what is BIFMA?

BIFMA: Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers 

BIFMA is a not-for-profit trade association that establishes and maintains high engineering and materials standards. They ensure healthy, comfortable, and productive workspaces, calling themselves the “The Office Furniture Industry Voice for Workplace Solutions.” And they’ve been the voice of the industry since 1973. 

“As a user, you may take the comfort, safety, and durability of the furniture for granted in your places of work, learning, and healing. In large part, this confidence is because of the voluntary standards that have been adopted by the commercial furniture industry. Chairs that support securely, casters that roll smoothly year after year, drawers that retain their shape even when jam-packed–these are the expectations of safe and functional business and institutional environments. BIFMA sponsors the development and ongoing maintenance of the standards that form the basis of this user confidence.”-BIFMA STANDARDS OVERVIEW

BIFMA’s standards are the highest and hardest to meet.

Their game is safety, ergonomics, and sustainability in the interest of the consumer. The key thing to know about BIFMA is that furniture manufacturers aren’t required to meet their standards — participation is purely voluntary. To get ANSI/BIFMA tested, a team must go the extra mile. They must submit their products to an independent laboratory and pay to have each one tested. Any team that takes it upon themselves to test their standing desks to ANSI/BIFMA standards is confident in their products’ structural integrity. So confident that they pay to measure it against leading standards.

“These standards, founded on centuries of craft and enhanced by ever-advancing science, embody the best of our knowledge on safety, ergonomics, and sustainability.”-The Office Furniture Industry Voice for Workplace Solutions, BIFMA

And… who or what is ANSI?

BIFMA works within the auspices of ANSI — the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI is a private, not-for-profit that develops and strengthens U.S. voluntary standards. Their mission, “To enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity.” In simpler terms, ANSI’s ratings inform consumers whether the standing desk in consideration cuts the mustard. 

Together, ANSI and BIFMA ensure every product in the market passes the necessary safety, functionality, and sustainability tests. They define different standards for different furniture categories. And each standard is complete with a unique series of tests the product must pass to be ANSI/BIFMA approved. The only furniture “approved by ANSI/BIFMA” has passed each test developed and maintained by ANSI/BIFMA for that furniture’s specific category. Only then can a manufacturer claim their standing desk is “tested to meet ANSI/BIFMA standards,” or tested to meet a specific ANSI/BIFMA standard like BIFMA X5.5.

How does a standing desk get ANSI/BIFMA’s stamp of approval?

To earn ANSI/BIFMA ratings for their product, a manufacturer must submit their standing desk to an independent laboratory and pay to have it tested using professional lab equipment. Think robot machines running each desk through all kinds of tipping stability, weight distribution, and strength tests.

“”First-party” standards conformance claims, along with supporting conformance verification test results, generally offer adequate proof of compliance with the ANSI/BIFMA mechanical safety and performance standards.”-BIFMA TEST LAB RESEARCH

What is BIFMA X5.5? 

It’s the standard every standing or sit stand desk in the market should pass.

BIFMA X5.5 is ANSI/BIFMA’s standard for the safety, durability, and structural performance of desk/table products intended for use in commercial offices and similar spaces like academic environments. When a desk is tested to BIFMA X5.5 standards, the desk meets the industry’s leading safety, durability, and structural performance standards. In layman’s terms, this means your standing desk will last. 

When tested to the BIFMA X5.5 standard, a standing desk will be run through a rigorous series of various performance tests (by those robot machines in an independent laboratory). What kinds of performance tests? Top Loading, Load Ease, Lock Mechanism, Extendible Element or Roll-Out Shelf Cycle, Out Stop, Rebound, Racking, Leg Strength, Horizontal and Vertical Adjustment, Stability, Cycle Testing for Receding Doors, Interlock, Drop Test for Receding Door, and Unit Drop.

So WHY should your height adjustable desk pass BIFMA X5.5?

Because ANSI/BIFMA standards are for commercial spaces — and contract/commercial furniture lasts

Furniture that’s tested to commercial use standards is sure to last — because commercial use means lots of use over years and years. When you buy a standing desk that’s ANSI/BIFMA approved, you are getting assurance of durability. You’re getting the best adjustable standing desk. 

>>> Our Ändern and Lüften have 30+ year lifespans, and are two of the best, most durable pneumatic standing desks in the market. They’re both tested to ANSI/BIFMA standards

Why don’t I see other sit stand desk manufacturers talking about BIFMA X5.5?

Our best bet is that they didn’t come from the contract furniture world like we did. ANSI/BIFMA testing is the protocol we’ve proudly maintained for 50+ years. A manufacturer that doesn’t test its products to ANSI/BIFMA standards isn’t prioritizing structural integrity worth testing. Maybe they’re using lower-quality source materials (like steel shipped directly from Asia rather than Swiss steel) or assembling their desks in a manufacturing plant with sub-par standards. Either way, their desks aren’t designed or built for durability, hence they aren’t tested against leading standards. We’re one of the few b2c eCommerce teams selling height adjustable desks tested to BIFMA X5.5.

To be blunt, if a manufacturer isn’t testing their height adjustable desks to BIFMA X5.5, they don’t expect them to meet the highest, hardest standard for safety, durability, and structural performance. And the desks probably won’t last long.

>>> The Standing Desk team is a subsidiary of Kessebohmer Ergonomics, a 50+ year trusted provider of height-adjustable solutions for office, industrial, school, and health care applications. In 2017, our small, Michigan-based team set out to bring our American-made pneumatic standing desks directly to people like you. With a full range of products in the pipeline, our goal is to bring ergonomics to people who prioritize durability and minimal design

How do I know who is and isn’t ANSI/BIFMA compliant?

Just skim the product’s page or type “ANSI” or “BIFMA” into your Find on Page feature. If no ANSI/BIFMA ratings or test results pop up, it’s safe to say the product isn’t tested to ANSI/BIFMA standards. It’s hard work to pass ANSI/BIFMA standards. And manufacturers aren’t required to do it, they do it voluntarily. A team that’s invested the necessary time, effort, and money will highlight their ANSI/BIFMA ratings and test results loud and proud on the first fold.

Look out for “ANSI/BIFMA compliant” posers 

“Built to ANSI/BIFMA standards” or “made to ANSI/BIFMA standards” or “tested to ANSI/BIFMA standards” — ANSI/BIFMA compliant? Conforming? Approved? The language can be confusing.

The three nuggets to look for are “tested in an independent laboratory,” a download of the desk’s test results, and the BIFMA logo. If all three are found, you can be sure your standing desk was legitimately performance-tested by third-party professionals — professionals who specialize in ANSI/BIFMA testing (meeting the credentials, scope of accreditation, and qualifications needed for adequate testing purposes).

To be sure your prospective sit stand desk is ANSI/BIFMA compliant, look for three things:

1: “Tested in an independent laboratory.”

2:  A download of the test results

3:  BIFMA logo

Ändern and Lüften are both tested to the ANSI/BIFMA X5.5 standard in an independent laboratory 

Because we got our start in contract furniture (selling to commercial spaces), ANSI/BIFMA compliance is just how we do it. Always has been. Always will be. We wanted to offer our people the same assurance of product integrity that we offer big teams. Every pneumatic standing desk we offer is tested to meet ANSI/BIFMA standards in an independent laboratory. 

Our Ändern and Lüften were tested in Performance Testing Services in Allendale, MI to validate their structural integrity to the applicable test sections of ANSI/BIFMA X5.5-2014 Desk/Table Products – Tests. Performance Testing Services is an A2LA-accredited lab with over 50+ years of experience in test engineering and testing.

Watch Tyler from our team demonstrate 4 of the 12 tests Ändern and Lüften had to pass to meet BIFMA X5.5

Making them two of the best standing desks for the home office. 

Our small team of Desk Makers builds and assembles each and every pneumatic standing desk right here in Grand Rapids, MI 

Funny enough, BIFMA is actually headquartered in our hometown of Grand Rapids — we’re practically neighbors.

The Ändern and Lüften sit stand desks

  • Designed in Germany by furniture masters Mastery over generations makes supreme designs. Our Ändern and Lüften pneumatic sit stand desks are beautifully minimal and well-designed by craftsmen.
  • Made using Commercial-grade materials like Swiss steel Most pneumatic height-adjustable desks on Amazon, Wayfair, and other big-name eCommerce sites are made with lower quality steel shipped directly from Asia
  • 30+ Year Product Lifecycles A product built to thrive in commercial spaces is a product built to last. 
  • Michigan-manufactured, Made in the USA Our manufacturing plant meets leading standards. Countries like Asia lack comparable build quality standards yet. The steel plating factory that manufactures the legs for our Lüften and Ändern also achieve ISO 14000 standards — a high level of air pollution regulations.

>>>Have questions we didn’t answer? Contact us or drop us a line via our contact form: https://www.thestandingdesk.com/contact/ — we want to connect with you!

About Rebecca Woodul

Rebecca Woodul is a copywriter and content marketer making ergonomics simple and concrete. She reviews, compares, and offers insight into ergonomic tools and equipment — desks, chairs, footstools, mats, and computer accessories. Connect with her on Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/rebecca-woodul

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