CAN/CGSB 44.232 Chair Testing

CGSB has been reviewing its CAN/CGSB 44.232 – Canadian General Standards Board – Task Chairs for Office Environments.  The ballot officially closed November 11th.  Did you cast your vote or were you too busy digesting the “other” vote that came out a few days prior? Micom did vote NO to this proposed standard. I spoke to a few influential committee members; they were going to cast a “no vote” as well.  In my post on the previous version of this draft standard I was wondering why there was so many comments on a standard that has been there for quite some time.  After all seating is seating is…  Unfortunately I could not attend the meeting when these comments were discussed.  If you review, below, the test-by-test comparison I prepared, you will see that as a result of these comments many changes were brought to the standard.  I hate to be a “nay sayer” however, I have to confess I disagree with quite a few of these changes and I also question if consideration was given to the impacts on the industry as well as the impacts on the current product offering.

For example; side chairs, historically, were never part of this standard.  The specification manufacturers had to meet to sell to PWGSC (Public Works and Government Services Canada) was GPD-6.  Side chairs are now in the 44.232 proposed draft; so far no problem.  However the foam performance requirements from GPD-6 have been drastically changed if you compare them to the current standard.  And by the way; ask three experts questions on foam used for chairs; you will get three answers that are altogether completely different… foam is a sticky topic and changes should be done very carefully.   Furthermore; in GPD-6 side chairs only had to meet three dimensional criteria and only a measuring tape was required for the measurements.  Now we have to use the BIFMA Chair Measuring Device and a side chair would have to meet 12 new dimensional criteria that they obviously never designed to meet to start with.  From a technical standpoint all of this is possible; is this practical?  With all due respect; I am not sure the question was asked and this needs to be considered.

For task chairs, many changes were made to the standard as well.  The most staggering one for me is the fixed seat depth requirement of 415 mm.  In the 2008 version of the standard a chair with such a seat depth would have qualified as a shallow seat depth.  Should this new standard be voted in as it is; it would become the norm.  Are our kids growing shorter that we are?  Funny, I was under the impression it was the opposite… Personally, I would not want to sit in a “shallow” seat.

On the good side, the proposed standard now allows for self-counter balancing mechanisms that cannot qualify to the current standard’s version.  From a mechanical testing standpoint CAN/CGSB 44.232 still calls up BIFMA X 5.1 whereas for measurements it still calls up BIFMA cmd-1.

Please find below our comments about CAN/CGSB 44.232.  We trust this will help you better understand what the issues are and perhaps, if you sit on the working group, give you some food for thoughts.

For more information about this revised standard and our  services, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Micom is a third party industrial laboratory accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, CGSB, ISTA and many other organizations.

COMPARAISON BETWEEN
CGSB-44.232-XXX AND CGSB-44.232.2008

SECTION

SUBSECTION

MODIFICATION – TASK CHAIR

Re-test required? (Y/N)

MODIFICATION – SIDE CHAIR (vs GPD-6)

1. Scope

All

Measurements based on CAESAR  instead of NATICK in previous version.

_

This standard now also includes side chairs. Historically side chairs did not have to be measured using a CMD. As it stands this requirement forces complete re-tests for all side-chairs

2. Normative References

All

None

_

None

3. Terms and definitions

All

None

_

None

4. General

4.4 Cushioning Material

Same for task chairs

N

Different

 

4.9 Controls for manually-adjustable features

Requirement modified to allow for counterbalancing mechanisms

N

NA

 

4.11  Seat Waterfall

New: This parameter does not have specific dimensional requirements to comply with
whereas there used to be one.

N

Same as before

 

4.12 Casters

Same             

N

Same             

 

4.13 Preparation for delivery

Same

N

Same

 

4.14 Environmental considerations

Optional offgassing requirements inserted in standard.

Only optional

Optional offgassing requirements inserted in standard.

5. Dimensions and adjustment ranges for chair features

 

Many modifications; please see sub-sections below. Needs to be used in conjunction
with table A1

_

Many modifications; please see sub-sections below. Needs to be used in conjunction
with table A1

 

5.1 Chair measuring technique

Introduction of ISO/TR2449 as equivalent to CMD-1.
CMD-1 is still in force; therefore this does not cause any immediate change

N

Introduction of ISO/TR2449 as equivalent to CMD-1.
CMD-1 is still in force; therefore this does not cause any immediate change

 

5.2 Seat width

Same as before

N

Same as before

 

5.3.1 Fixed seat depths

Previously medium seat range was 420-460 mm. Previously a 415 mm seat would have been
deemed a shallow seat .

Compliance reassessment based on new criteria

New requirement. 

 

5.3.2 Adjustable seat depths

Used to be 50 mm including 420-460 mm. Now it must include 415 mm

Compliance reassessment based on new criteria

NA

 

5.4.1 Fixed seat height

New requirement; this was not an option before

Y

There was no seat height requirement for side chairs.

 

5.4.2 Adjustable seat height

a) Low seat height: 380 to 450 mm same as before
b) Standard seat height: Used to be 419-510 mm; now 417- 512 mm

Compliance reassessment based on new criteria

NA

 

5.5 Seat pan angle 5.5.1

New requirement

Y

New requirement

 

5.5.2 Adjustable angle

Used to be 3 forward and 4 rearward – “lockable” range was different

Compliance reassessment based on new criteria

NA

 

5.6 Backrest width

Used to be 350 mm; now: “shall not be less than 360 mm”

Compliance reassessment based on new criteria

Used to be 350 mm; now: “shall not be less than 360 mm”

 

5.7 Backrest height

Same as before

N

Now: 354 mm for side chairs.  There was no such requirement before.

 

5.8.1 Fixed lumbar support height

Same as before

N

New for side chairs

 

5.8.2 Adjustable lumbar support height

Same as before

N

 

 

5.9 Backrest-to-seat angle

New criteria for fixed backrest chairs. For adjustable back used to be 93 to 103;
now: 90 to 103 degrees

Compliance reassessment based on new criteria

New requirement for side chair

 

5.10.1 Fixed backrest angle

New for task chairs

Y if fixed backrest

New for side chairs

 

5.10.2 Adjustable backrest angle

Used to be 10° between 93-113°; now 15 deg. within 90-120 deg.

Compliance reassessment based on new criteria

NA

 

5.11.1.1 Fixed height

Same as before for task chairs

N

New requirement for side chairs

 

5.11.1.2 Adjustable height

Used to be 50 mm within a range of 176-274 mm Same as before for the armrest with adjustment increments

Compliance reassessment based on new criteria / N
for incremental arms

NA

 

5.11.2 Armrest length

Same as before for task chairs

N

New requirement for side chairs

 

5.11.3.1 Armrests – Fixed clearance

Same as before for task chairs

N

New requirement for side chairs

 

5.11.3.2 Lateral adjustment of armrest

Used to be 50 mm – now 75 mm of adjustment and must cover range between 443-493 mm.

Compliance reassessment based on new criteria

NA

 

5.11.4 Armrest width

Same for task chairs

N

New requirement for side chairs

 

5.11.5 Horizontally swivelling adjustable armrest caps

Same as before for task chairs

N

NA

 

5.12 Tilt mechanisms

Allows for counterbalancing mechanism

N

NA

 

5.14 Column clearance

Same as before

N

NA