Furniture Standards & Certifications

The University of San Francisco Leadership Team created and adopted Furniture Standards in May 2004.

The mission of the standards is ensure that all products and installations meet quality, safety, sustainability and best value for the university.  Standards strive to provide: (1) consistency across departments and learning environments; (2) re-usability and flexibility (as space and user needs constantly change); (3) parity for departments that have limited operating budgets; and a set criterion for high quality commercial products offering longevity, value, safety, and professional appearance.

As per the Procurement Policy set by the Division of Business & Finance, all furniture and equipment purchases must be procured on a University issued Purchase Order.  

If there is an item that is specific to a department/school's function or cannot be found in the list of contract furniture manufacturers, it must meet the following 3 attributes AT MINIMUM: (1) Rated for Commercial Quality (not Residential); (2) ANSI/BIFMA certified; and (3) Greengard/SCS Indoor Air Quality rated. This information can be found on a Specification Sheet that accompanies commercial furniture via website or contact the manufacturer directly.  If the requested furniture meets these attributes, please submit a Furniture Exception Request form which will be reviewed by Purchasing Services, Human Resources & Risk Management.

Below is information on some of the governing bodies that dictate industry standards.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute)

ANSI oversees the national consensus standards developed by the standards developing organizations (SDOs). An accreditation by ANSI means that the standards body, such as BIFMA, has met “the Institute’s essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus and due process.” It is emphasized that the approval process of standards is consensus-based because the organization’s objective is to “quicken the market acceptance of products while making clear how to improve the safety of those products for the protection of consumers.” Conformity assessment is one of the many ways ANSI keeps tracks of the manufacturer and SDOs’ participation in upholding standards. ANSI standards include, but not limited to, products, processes, services, systems or personnel.

BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association)

BIFMA is an association that “develops standards for the North American office and institutional furniture industry.” BIFMA primarily caters to institutions that deal with design, development, marketing of office furniture products. A concrete example is BIFMA’s sustainability standard, called Level. Level is a certification program that communicates the “environmental and social impacts of furniture products in the built environment.” This includes assessing the chemical components that affects not only the users, but also the ecosystem.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Standards for Accessible Design

A document specifying the scope and technical requirements “for accessibility to buildings and facilities by individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990” and that “are to be applied during the design, construction, and alteration of buildings and facilities covered by titles II and III of the ADA to the extend required by regulations issued by Federal agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation, under the ADA.”

Greenguard Indoor Air Quality

A certification obtained by furniture manufacturers that assures end users “that products designed for use in office environments and other indoor spaces meet strict chemical emission limits, which contribute to the creation of healthier interiors.”

SCS (Scientific Certification Systems) Indoor Air Quality

A certification obtained by furniture manufacturers “based on the emission criteria established in the BIFMA standard for Low-Emitting Office Furniture Systems and Seating  (ANSI/BIFMA X7.1) and the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design criteria EQ4.5 (furniture and seating).”

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

LEED is an international green certification USF is working towards to in line with its Green Initiatives to promote a sustainable commercial environment. LEED certifies that a building or any commercial establishment is designed to improve performance in energy savings, water efficiency, CO2  emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impact. Some furniture manufacturers can contribute to the LEED certification in one or more credits for the commercial interiors category.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

An agency of the US Department of Labor, OSHA works with employers to help prevent workplace injuries and illnesses and protect the health of America’s workers. A good example would how employers or building owners are expected to respond quickly and effectively to indoor air quality problems, which may be indirectly associated to a furniture’s chemical component.

BHFTI (Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation)

BHFTI, operating under the California Department of Consumer Affairs, enforces the Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation Act. This government policy aims to protect consumers of upholstered furniture, bedding, and thermal insulation, by means of licensing and inspecting businesses that manufacture and sell these upholstered items. One of the ways the Bureau enforces safety standards is through flammability testing. CAL TB 133 is a concrete standard furniture flammability required by the BHFTI. It is a full scale fire test for furniture manufactured for use in public buildings.

Please note that in public areas, abrasion test of fabric selected must meet 100,000 double rub, at minimum. All upholstered furniture should meet TB 133 flammability requirements (1) if the location does not have a sprinkler system or (2) if they are to be used in public spaces. Please see a contact a Purchasing agent for more information.

SSC (Seismic Safety Commission)

Established in 1975, California's Seismic Safety Commission "investigates earthquakes, researches earthquake-related issues and reports, and recommends to the Governor and Legislature policies and programs needed to reduce earthquake risk." With the commitment of taking care of California residents from various seismic activities, SSC has dedicated itself in focusing on duties that typically involve (1) managing California's Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (2) reviewing seismic activities funded by the State (3) providing a consistent policy direction for earthquake-related programs for agencies at all government levels (4) proposing and reviewing earthquake-related legislation (5) conducting public hearings on seismic safety issues (6) recommending earthquake safety programs to governmental agencies and the private sector and (7) investigating and evaluating earthquake damage and reconstruction efforts following damaging earthquakes. Once concrete example of how USF abides by SSC regulations is by having all bookcases and lateral files bolted to the wall if they are at least 42"high.

ISTA (International Safe Transit Association)

ISTA is an organization that addresses various concerns of transport packaging. Its primary objective "is to develop and deliver standards, educational programs and tools for the economic, social and environmental optimization of packaging systems." ISTA's "standards and certification programs are at the forefront of Responsible Transport Packaging." Member of this organization are usually shippers who manufacture and distribute products, carriers who provide the distribution means, organizations that supply packaging materials and services, and testing laboratories performing packaged-product performance tests.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization)

ISO 14000 is a set of environmental management systems (EMS) standards developed and published by ISO. ISO 14000 gives customers an assurance that “they are buying products from a company that cares about the environment.” One important set of ISO standards, which is also a part of the ISO 14000 series, is the ISO 14064. ISO 14064 standards deal with providing organizations and businesses tools in measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By verifying the greenhouse gas inventory, organizations are able to participate in global environmental management.

Energy Star

A joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy, Energy Star aims (1) to help consumers save money and (2) to protect the environment by using energy efficient products. For product manufacturers, this means creating products that emit less greenhouse gases and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy, without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort, hence, making it "easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills." When a product meets the energy efficiency requirements laid out in the Energy Star product specifications, an Energy Star label is awarded to it. The label is what effectively sets the product apart, making it more visible for end users.

San Francisco City Codes

To view the city codes being implemented in the city, you can visit San Francisco’s government website.