Like every country, the USA has its own special requirements for furniture. Among these requirements are for example Furniture Comfort, Safety, Sustainability, Durability etc. The US market has its specific requirements for office furniture defined in the so-called BIFMA Standards.
BIFMA is the not‐for-profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers. Since 1973, BIFMA has been the voice of the commercial furniture industry.
Their industry’s service to customers – providing healthy, comfortable, and productive spaces – rests on an infrastructure of engineering and materials 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.
BIFMA sponsors the development and refinement of standards, educates on their importance and application, and translates their necessary complexity into more easily understood and implemented formats. BIFMA promote sustainability throughout the life cycle of furniture. BIFMA offer statistical and educational resources to their members and the public and reach out to regulators, consumers, and international partners to foster value and innovation.
BIFMA works with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Coordination Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on the importance of adherence to ANSI standards for safety and performance of products in federal offices. That is important for fiscally sound purchasing purposes (longer lasting products with less failures) but also for risk mitigation from injuries in the workplace.
In addition, BIFMA works with related industry trade groups to promote shared concerns; interacts with customer groups such as the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and International Facilities Management Association (IFMA); and offers education on the importance of standards compliance. The association confers with and sends delegations to international trade groups such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the European office furniture association Fédération Européenne du Mobilier de Bureau (FEMB).
If you want to import furniture to the US market, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the individual requirements for your product, then have it tested in an accredited testing laboratory and then introduce it to the US market.
A list of individual standards, including a short description and the possibility of purchase is available here: https://www.techstreet.com/bifma
From March 2023, a member of the Cluster of Czech Furniture Manufacturers, specifically TZÚ, will become a full member of the BIFMA organization. The Technology Centre for Furniture Testing of the Cluster of Czech Furniture Manufacturers will therefore offer furniture testing according to BIFMA Standards through its member.
As part of the FGOI project, we are also focusing on this third country where we want to develop our joint activities, so do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about BIFMA Standards (Vítězslav Gaja, firstname.lastname@example.org).