GRAND RAPIDS, MI  - As American waistlines and backsides are growing thicker, BIFMA, the trade association for office furniture manufacturers, has developed a new standard for a "General Purpose Large Office Chair" that can support occupants weighing up to 400 pounds.

The X5.11-2015 standard, approved by the American National Standards Institute, is the first BIFMA standard to include dimensional requirements. BIFMA has been working on achieving such a standard for its product since 2011.  Chairs designed to this standard must have seat widths of 22 in. or greater. Chairs with seat widths at or wider than this could be used by smaller individuals, but may not be ergonomically correct or comfortable for those users. The standard 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. 

In 2013 BIFMA partnered with Mississippi State University to conduct a study of individuals with weights ranging from 298 to 413 lbs. The result of the study was used in determining the parameters for the X5.11-2015 standard for office chairs. 

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