GRAND RAPIDS, MI  - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved the newly developed safety and performance standard for “large occupant” office seating: ANSI/BIFMA X5.11-2015, General-Purpose Large Occupant Office Chairs.  The requirements in this standard use the 99th percentile male at 400 lbs. as the basis for the tests.

This is the first BIFMA standard to include dimensional requirements. 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. Manufacturers and specifiers are discouraged from applying this standard to all office chairs, which are covered by the ANSI/BIFMA X5.1-2011 standard for general-purpose office chairs and uses the 95th percentile male at 253 lbs. as the basis for the tests.

The BIFMA Chair Standard Subcommittee has been working diligently since 2011 to create this new seating standard.  BIFMA partnered with Mississippi State University to conduct seating analysis testing with large occupants. The study was conducted on 20 subjects (10 male and 10 female) with weights ranging from 298 to 413 lbs. The study was completed in 2013, and the resulting report, "Measuring Humans for Heavy Duty Chair Testing and Design," was used to assist BIFMA in determining the test parameters for this standard. 

The standard was finalized and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on January 5, 2015.  The X5.11-2015 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. 

Copies of the new standard are now available on the BIFMA website. This and other standards may be ordered online at


BIFMA is the not-for-profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers. Since 1973, BIFMA has sponsored the development and refining of current and future furniture standards, educate on their importance and application, and translate their necessary complexity in to more easily understood formats. BIFMA also monitors the state of the industry, serves as a forum for member cooperation and collaboration, interacts with international counterparts, and advocates for the regulatory conditions that foster value and innovation.

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