Codes and technical standards exist for the health, safety, and welfare of individual users. Many have been developed for specific types of furniture, especially chairs. Dental chairs are specified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 6875. Beanbag chairs are specified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard ASTM F1912-98. ASTM is the American Society for Testing and Materials. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) establishes standards for flame spread and smoke development ratings for furniture finishes and fabrics. Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) have been specified by ISO 9241-5:1988. ISO 7174 specifies stability of rocking and tilting chairs. ASTM F1858-98 specifies lawn chairs.
In public and common use areas, seating space must be provided for wheelchairs. Restaurants must provide wheelchair access to tables. Fixed-seat assemblies must allow for wheelchair placement at various seating locations. These regulations are enforced by the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).
The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) establishes guidelines for testing commercial-grade chairs. Performance specifications include:
■ Chair back strength of 150 lb
■ Chair stability if weight is transferred completely to the front or back legs
■ Leg strength of 75 lb applied 1 inch (2.54 cm) from the bottom of the leg
■ Seat strength of 225 lb dropped from 6 inches (15.2 cm) above the seat
■ Seat cycle strength of 100,000 repetitions of 125 lb dropped from 2 inches (5 cm) above the seat
Technical specifications define "proof" loads for chairs, which determine that under higher loads a chair may be damaged, but it must not fail. Institutions will often reference
these standards or add their own specifications when purchasing furniture. Companies depend on standards for quality assurance (Figure 6.33).