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PWGSC’s Enlarged GOFAC Teleconference Meeting

Last Friday PWGSC held and enlarged GOFAC teleconference meeting on Office furniture.  The main topics were:

  • Various levels of technical requirements (Product description, CGSB, BIFMA…)
  • Government specific requirements
  • Office seating Supply Arrangement (SA)
  • Panel systems SA

PWGSC also had the following specific issues they wanted to discuss:

  • Do any of the specifications used by the Government of Canada create impediments for bidding? If so, which specification documents are they, what are the impediments they create, and do you have proposed solutions?
  • Can the specifications be more generic? If so, how?
  • Can the specifications be written differently from the prescriptive style currently used, and if so, which specification documents can be revised, and how can they be written?
  • If using a less prescriptive style, what are the technical risks for Canada?
  • How can the specifications be written, and/or what style or approach can be used by PWGSC to make the requirement definition and procurement process for office seating and panels easier for our clients. (i.e.: How can the specifications be written to permit ranges, and allow clients to select an option within the range?)

The group discussed the cumbersomeness of having various levels of technical requirements. We recommended that when there is a national standard the government should not add technical requirements in their Product Descriptions documents. PWGSC commented that it was duly noted.

The CGSB Qualified Product Listing (QPL) relevancy was discussed and CGSB received support from some manufacturer and us.  It was pointed out to PWGSC that using the QPL would make their life much easier as they would not have to perform a technical review for each manufacturer. We believe PWGSC will still be accepting direct filing as well as the QPL use for establishing compliance.


The incoming PSA for chairs was discussed including the timing for issuing the Request for Supply Arrangements (RFSA).  The draft version of the chair specification that will be part of the next SA will be posted on Merx in two weeks for comments.  The RFSA should hit the streets by mid-June with a 45 days closing date.  PWGSC will still call up the CGSB 44.232 standard and the BIFMA standard.  PWGSC will also be requiring more green requirements but they were not specific as to what exactly they will be looking for.  There will be two SA put in place.  The first one will be with a fixed closing date and one month later a second one will be put in place that will be an open ended i.e. any manufacturer can come in when they want or add products to its offering.


We were informed there will be a SA put in place next fall for panel systems.  PWGSC did not specify when the RFSA will come out but for the SA to be in place for next fall, September would seem to be a reasonable guess.   PWGSC will call up the CGSB 44.229 standard and the BIFMA standard.  PWGSC will look in the possibility of relaxing their requirements for Flammability testing (tunnel).  PWGSC will also be requiring more green requirements but they were not specific as to what exactly they will be looking for.

PWGSC has recently published its Fit-up standard.

This standard will impact workstation dimensions and features and should therefore impact to some extent the purchase description and the basket of goods.

We trust this information was of interest to you.  Should you have any additional questions about furniture testing or packaging testing we invite you to contact us today. It will be our pleasure to answer your questions.

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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