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PWGSC RFSA – Furniture Testing Requirements Review

Request for Supply Arrangement testing and design requirements

Per our previous post, PWGSC has published its RFSA for workstations furniture last February. Since then they have published 9 amendments that include the numerous questions asked by the bidders and also the numerous changes PWGSC made to its RFSA document.  Being a furniture testing lab we did not focus on the procurement aspects of the RFSA document.  However, we reviewed on your behalf the technical aspects of this RFSA document to see how it fares with the BIFMA testing and CGSB testing requirements. We were surprised to see that many requirements are much more specific than what you fill find in the national standards and that in some cases they are different from what the standards are calling for.  As an example, BIFMA X5.5’s default value for monitor arms loading capacity is 20 Kg; PWGSC’s requirement is 9,07 Kg.  I would agree that a 20 Kg monitor makes for a very big monitor but if the furniture industry has aligned itself with a different requirement; why dilute your own requirement? Many of the RFSA’s dimensional requirements are either different or much more specific than the National standards CAN/CGSB 44.227  and CAN/CGSB 44.229.

For a section-by-section comparison between the RFSA requirements and the National Standards please follow this link:

Test-by-test Comparison

Worst case scenario testing vs RFSA:

For those of you that need some testing done; please bear in mind that you don’t have to test your furniture at the specific sizes called out in the RFSA documents and that you should focus on testing your worst case scenarios.  This will save you time and money; once your worst case scenarios comply you don’t have to concern yourselves with specific sizes and keep re-testing.  This may sound trivial but I can’t tell you how many times I had to repeat this over the last months.  Actually when it comes down to furniture testing this should be a mantra; “Thou shalt only test worst case scenario configurations”.

Closing date:

The RFSA closing date was postponed to May 28th as a result of the many questions raised  and the many changes brought to the RFSA.  I believe there will be at least one more extension given the last amendment’s date vs the closing date

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Micom is a material testing laboratory accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, CGSB and ISTA for furniture testing and other services.


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 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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