Chair and Seating Testing

Why test chairs and seating?

Chairs and seating should be stable and not easily topple over or have gaps that can trap fingers and cause injury, especially in chairs with moving parts such as office chairs, stadium seating and garden chairs.

FIRA’s furniture and product tests simulate real-life use and misuse, providing a valuable insight into how a chair or seating system will perform and allow you to identify any issues before your customers do.

Domestic furniture - The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPS Regulations) legally require chairs and seating for the home (domestic market) to be safe and fit for purpose.

Contract furniture - If you are supplying chairs and seating to the contract sector, which is anywhere that is not classed as a domestic/home environment, the specification will usually state that a product is required to meet the relevant Standard(s) for its intended use. It is also now the case that many office and contract specifiers will not accept a product unless it has been tested by an independent, third party.

Furniture flammability - It is a legal and mandatory requirement that all upholstered furniture intended for domestic use MUST comply with the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations. The UK’s flammability regulations are different from Europe, so it is essential for your ‘due diligence’ that you have a valid test certificate to show a product is legal to sell – read more about flammability testing.

Contract furniture is covered by voluntary fire safety standards, often specified in contracts or tenders.

Complying with Standards and regulations for chairs and seating

Testing is an easy way to ensure compliance and FIRA’s experts are knowledgeable and experienced in the practical requirements for meeting Standards and legislation.

There are British and European Standards applicable to the structural testing of tables and desks for both the domestic and contract markets.

Each Standard contains a series of tests which address strength, durability, stability and safety. The test methods and performance requirements vary depending upon the end use of the item concerned, whether for domestic, outdoor, office, contract or educational use.

Key areas for assessing chairs and seating:

  • Safety - areas such as sharp edges and entrapment points in folding mechanisms
  • Stability – making sure a chair won’t topple if you lean back or sideways in it
  • Strength – ability to withstand normal use loads, as well as foreseeable misuse, such as standing on a chair
  • Durability – assessing the performance of the chair over its lifetime
  • Flammability – read more about flammability testing
  • Durability and performance of fabrics – read more about fabric/textile testing
  • Durability and performance of foams – read more about foam testing

Speak to a FIRA expert to find out the different tests required for your product. Contact us or request a quote.

Importing chairs and seating

With the exception of flammability performance, for products made in the EU, it is the manufacturer who is responsible for ensuring a product is safe, fit for, however if you are importing chairs and seating from overseas into the EU, you are responsible.

For flammability performance it is the first importer into the UK who is responsible for ensuring compliance of the product.

Performance levels for testing chairs and seating

The test methods and performance requirements vary depending upon the end use of the item concerned:

  • Domestic chairs and seating
  • Office chairs and seating
  • Non-Domestic/Contract chairs and seating – general/severe
  • Ranked stadium/theatre seating
  • Educational chairs and seating
  • General Leisure chairs and seating
  • Camping chairs and seating