Micom offers BIFMA X5.1 testing as part of its Office Furniture Testing services.  ANSI/ BIFMA X5.1 General Purpose Office Chairs – tests – was released in February 2017 and replaces the 2011 standard edition.

BIFMA X 5.1 now has 20 tests and covers office chairs offering different features. Not all tests need to be done on all chairs. There are three chair categories referred in the standard as chair “types”.   These types are as follows:

  • Type I: Tilting chair
  • Type II: Fixed seat angle, tilting backrest
  • Type III: Fixed seat angle, fixed backrest

BIFMA X5.1 Swivel Cycle Test

The table below shows which tests need to be done on which chair type as long as the feature tested is available and the test applicable:



Test Type






5 Backrest Strength Test X X
6 Backrest Strength Test X
7 Drop Test X X X
8 Swivel Test X X X
9 Tilt Mechanism Test X X
10 Seating Durability Test X X X
11 Stability Test X X X
12 Arm Strength Test – Vertical X X X
13 Arm Strength Test – Horizontal X X X
14 Backrest Durability Test X
15 Backrest Durability Test X X
16 Caster/Chair Base Durability Test X X X
17 Leg Strength Test – Front and Side Application X X X
18 Footrest Static Load Test – Vertical X X X
19 Footrest Durability Test – Vertical – Cyclic X X X
20 Arm Durability Test – Cyclic X X X
21 Out Stop Test for Chairs with Manually  Adjustable Seat Depth X X X
22 Tablet Arm Chair Static Load Test X X X
23 Tablet Arm Chair Load Ease Test – Cyclic Test X X X
24 Structural Durability Test – Cyclic X X X

When elaborating test plans, it is recommended to use a “worst-case scenario” approach which minimizes both test and product costs; not all tests need to be done on all chairs. Our experts will be happy to do this analysis FREE OF CHARGE for you; click here to contact us.

Revisions and Related Standards

The original version of this standard was written in 1974.  This standard covers office chairs whether the chair swivels and has a mechanism or is a side chair (e.g.: sled base).  BIFMA X5.1 is for chairs designed for individuals with a corporal mass of up to 275 lbs which represents the 95th percentile male.  BIFMA has another seating standard for “heavy users”; BIFMA X5.11.  This standard is for individuals having a corporal mass greater than 253 lbs and up to 400 lbs which equates to the 99,5th percentile male in the US.

BIFMA is also about to release its BIFMA X5.11 standard – General Purpose Large Occupant Office Chairs. Whereas BIFMA X 5.1 covers a weight range up to 253 lbs, BIFMA X 5.11 will cover a weight range from greater to 253 lbs up to 400 lbs.

For healthcare institutions, a new guideline for cleanability, was released in fall 2014 (HCF 8.1) and there is a healthcare chair standard (253 to 600 lbs) in the works.