Large Occupant Public And Lounge Seating Standard Approved

The new standard has two performance levels, for 400-pound users and 600-pound users, and applies to lounge and public seating.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved the new safety and performance standard: ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021, Large Occupant Public and Lounge Seating.

Over a decade ago, stakeholders in the furniture community began discussing the need for a seating standard to accommodate large occupants. In response, the BIFMA Engineering Committee worked diligently for the past nine years to introduce this ANSI standard specifically for these users. Discussions ensued with healthcare providers and other stakeholders to provide a seating standard for large occupants. The BIFMA Seating Subcommittee used ANSI/BIFMA X5.4 Public and Lounge Seating and ANSI/BIFMA X5.11 Large Occupant GeneralPurpose Office Chairs as the basis for implementing the new ANSI/BIFMA X5.41 standard.

public seating
(Credit: Getty Images/peshkov)

Lounge and public seating is normally used in indoor public spaces such as waiting, reception, or gathering areas. Lounge and public seating includes products with single seat units, units with multiple seating positions within one unit or ganged seating units. Lounge and public seating may be restrained from moving by attaching to the building structure or freestanding. These products are not generally adjustable for personal use. This standard does not address general-purpose or task-oriented office chairs, or seating used for stadiums, auditoriums, lecture rooms, airports/train stations and similar high-use public seating areas.

The ANSI/BIFMA X5.41-2021 Large Occupant Public and Lounge Seating standard has two performance levels. The 400-pound user is the basis for one series of tests and the 600-pound user is the basis for the second series of tests. Manufacturers and specifiers must be clear on the performance levels for ANSI/BIFMA X5.41. The 99% and higher male is used as the weight basis for determining these two performance levels.

The ANSI/BIFMA X5.41 Large Occupant Public and Lounge Seating standard also has two seat width requirements: The minimum seat width for the 400-pound basis is 22 inches, whereas the minimum seat width for the 600-pound basis is 26 inches.

In addition to the normative strength, stability, and durability tests, there are several informative appendices that cover: recliner pinch points, recliner stability, guidance for seating units with privacy screens or tables, seating flammability, and a convertible bed durability test.

The national consensus standard was finalized and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on May 24, 2021. Copies of the new standard are available from BIFMA. This and other standards may be ordered online.

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