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PWGSC letter of interest – Section-by-section comments

PWGSC published its letter of interest for office seating.  This is not a request for bids.  However, Manufacturers should pay attention to this document as a lot of the requirements present in this document might well be used in the RFSA official document.  For your convenience, we prepared a section by section technical review so that you can see how the requirements might impact your products:

PWGSC letter of interest

Section-by section comments


PD-8 Section # Comment

2.2 + 8.1.1

Wrong edition date of BIFMA X 5.1,  the current version is 2011


What about chairs with s self counterbalancing mechanism?  PWGSC should focus on performance.


This seems to be a rare option; why should this be part of the requirements


There does not seem to be a category for synchro tilt


What about height adjustable T-arms?  Not to have this option will increase product costs with no real benefits


The CAN/CGSB 44.232  committee has removed this requirement from the current standard’s version as it does not provide any ergonomic benefits.  Having this additional measurement criterion will force manufacturers to re-measure their chairs.


Having a sustainable product also implies making sure the purchased product gets delivered unbroken.  Package performance should be evaluated by requiring packaging to meet at least ISTA 1A (International Safe Transit Association)


This requirement seems all brand new and companies might not have time to adjust before the RFSA is released and will penalize the smaller enterprises



“…two environmental improvements that the manufacturer deems important…” This is very subjective; who will decide whether it is “important” or not?

PD-8 Section #




This implies manufacturers do not have to do their testing before they bid.  This goes against what PWGSC has historically been doing.  PWGSC does not have the internal resources, nor will they have them in the foreseeable future given current government policies, to ensure manufacturers compliance once contracts are awarded.  This will likely yield a decrease in product quality. Might also force retendering of specific orders as a result of a manufacturer failing to demonstrate its compliance once he gets the order.  This will delay deliveries and cause additional administrative procurements costs.  We believe manufacturers should be required to have their product listed on the CGSB QPL.  This will insure consistent and up to date monitoring of product compliance all on a cost recovery basis, not at PWGSC’s expense.

If the manufacturers are serious and disciplined it is our opinion that the listing fees are negligible versus the potential sales they can get with PWGSC and other bodies in Canada that also require CGSB listing (Government of Qc, Ontario, Manitoba, city of Halifax, Calgary.





Why specify an Excel version that is outdated?  All of our test reports are in PDF format.  All of our customers are happy with this.  Acrobat also allows for digital signatures.  Requiring paper test reports is not “green”.  This is not something we have been doing for at least 3 years.


Proper reference should be “X 5.1-2011, paragraph 2.27”
GPD-6 Section #


2.2 + 8.1.1

Wrong edition date of BIFMA X 5.1,  the current version is 2011


This section requires all chairs to have arms.  Shouldn’t this be an option? PWGSC never buys side chairs without arms?


Environmental Improvements and Initiatives: same comment as above.


Editorial error: this section repeats itself twice


Proper reference should be “X 5.1-2011, paragraph 2.27”




All of the information and opinions contained in this blog are made with the information, and the understanding that we have reviewed at the time of publishing.  However, despite our efforts, we do not offer any guarantee of their accuracy, thoroughness of our investigation or validity. The author of this blog is not liable for any inaccuracies or any losses or damages that may result from the use of the information or data contained herein.  This blog has not been reviewed or verified for its accuracy by any peer group associates prior to publication.


Michel Comtois

Michel Comtois

Michel Comtois is an accomplished founder and CEO of Micom Laboratories Inc., an ISO/IEC 17025 (2017) A2LA-accredited independent laboratory specializing in product and material testing services. Before establishing Micom Laboratories in 1999, Michel, who also holds a Master’s degree in Physical Chemistry, gained extensive experience over a 14-year tenure managing departments spanning physical chemistry, physics, mechanical and material testing in research and contract laboratories. This exposure granted him a profound understanding of the intricacies of development and material testing processes.

In addition to his practical experience, Michel has played influential roles on various voluntary technical committees. He notably, served as the chairperson for CAN/CGSB 44.227 and the Head of the Canadian Delegation for ISO TC 136. He also contributed to the following technical committees: CAN/CGSB 44.229, CAN/CGSB 44.232, ANSI/BIFMA X5.1, ANSI/BIFMA X5.5, ANSI/BIFMA X5.6, ANSI/BIFMA X 5.9 ANSI/BIFMA X5.11, ISTA Certification Council.

Leveraging his unique expertise, he has led Micom Laboratories to become a renowned name in its niche, now operating out of a 16,000-square-foot test facility in Montreal, Canada, and serving a diverse customer base with an array of material and product testing services. Follow Michel on LinkedIn

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