What is ANSI/BIFMA Certification?
When businesses need to buy office furniture they fundamentally have two directions to turn. They can either shop online/retail or go through what's known as a "contract furniture dealer." Individuals and small-to-medium-sized businesses tend to buy online/retail, where they know they can find products that are far less expensive, easier to order, and arrive at "e-commerce speeds" as opposed to months later, while government, educational and large enterprise customers tend to buy through contract dealers.
So why don't all businesses buy their furniture online and save time, money and effort? The fact is that 40% of office furniture is still purchased through contract dealers, who represent very large, traditional contract furniture manufacturers such as Steelcase or Herman Miller. "Contract" is the industry lingo for highly-durable business furniture. As opposed to, say, IKEA quality—inexpensive but not designed to last. Large enterprises are generally willing to pay more for furniture that they know for certain will last a long time rather than have to be replaced on a regular basis. In most cases contract-grade furniture costs two to three times more than you can find comparable products being sold for online. The higher cost of most contract furniture is primarly due to the numerous people feeding at the trough, from the dealer itself to the manufacturers' rep, interior designers, project managers and multiple commissioned sales reps between the factory and the customer.
So how does "contract" furniture get graded as such? There's actually an entire industry infrastructure dedicated to testing these products at independent laboratories all over the world. The standards-setting organization for our industry is BIFMA, which stands for the Business + Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association. BIFMA is a not-for-profit organization funded by membership dues - both its funding and its know-how is contributed by the largest manufacturers in the industry. BIFMA is tucked under the auspices of ANSI - the American National Standards Institute. ANSI is also a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to setting industry standards for safety, reliability and so forth.
Contract furniture manufacturers must submit their products to an independent laboratory that is specially equipped to perform product testing to ANSI/BIFMA standards. This basically means that they have a bunch of robotic lab equipment designed to cycle test desks, chairs, file cabinets, and numerous other furniture products. If you want to learn more about what this testing typically entails check out this primer on ANSI/BIFMA testing for standing desks and treadmill desks.
Why iMovR Chooses to Certify its Standing Desks
Because of our strong online presence most people perceive that iMovR is like all other manufacturers who sell their products direct to the customer, and that we are not a "contract" manufacturer. The fact is we are both, and presently, the only one that is both. While our products are dramatically less expensive than you'll find through a contract dealer we do sell to a lot of standing desks in bulk quantities to government, corporate and educational institutions that need the assurance that our products will be as durable as we claim. And for that reason our Lander Desks are ANSI/BIFMA Certified.
While we know some of our online competitors claim to build their product "to ANSI/BIFMA standards," that's not the same thing as to actually having them tested at an independent laboratory. For government buyers procuring office furniture through the GSA (General Services Administration) there is no workaround for having a formal certification, only a bona fide lab report will allow a purchasing agent to check that box. And these certifications must be kept current to be valid, especially if there have been any material changes to the product since its original certification.
So while iMovR offers all the benefits of using the highest-quality, automated production of its standing desk products, and the widest array of shape, color, size and material options in the entire standing desk industry, we can unqiuely offer both the cost effectiveness of a direct-to-customer online seller and the reliability of a certified contract-grade producer.
Our Certification Reports
We publish these online so that customers can see exactly what went into testing our ultra-reliabile Lander Desk. The first report is for the narrowest desk (41") and the second report is for the widest (83"); by BIFMA rules all sizes in between are certified to the standard. These tests were performed at Intertek in Kentwood, MI (Grand Rapids), in the heart of the Silicon Valley of office furniture where the vast majority of office furniture is produced in the United States.
You may find other standing desks online that claim to be built to ANSI/BIFMA standards but many of them would fail such testing—and that's why you'll only find ten year warranties on iMovR bases and five year warranties on our 3D-laminated desktops.