AUSTRALASIAN FURNISHING RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
The Australasian Furnishing Research and Development Institute is an independent not-for-profit technical organisation providing standards, testing, product certification and research for buyers and sellers of furniture.
The purpose of testing and certification is to ensure that products are not only safe, but that they will last, thus contributing to sustainability, and minimising use of the earth’s resources.
What is AFRDI Blue Tick Certification?
AFRDI Blue Tick certification is granted to suppliers whose products and organisations meet the required standard. It is available at two strength levels; 135 kg and 110 kg. At each strength level there are two durability options; normal duty and heavy duty. Stability requirements are the same at all test levels. All certified chairs will need to be approved–at minimum–for strength and durability, and stability. Certification to UV and weathering and Ignitability requirements are optional extras. The concept is that for Furntech-AFRDI to endorse a product, the Institute needs to have an on-going contractual relationship with the supplier that ensures purchasers can rely on certificates of endorsement. Certification involves periodic audits and the investigation of complaints arising from the sale of endorsed products.
What is tested?
Some environments and users will be far harder on chairs than others. It’s therefore appropriate that there be different certification options for different applications. All certified chairs will need to be approved–at minimum–for strength and durability, and stability. The full range of testing options are;
STRENGTH & DURABILITY
Chairs are certified for strength as either suitable for users up to 110 kg or 135 kg. There are two durability levels–normal duty and heavy duty–available at each of these user mass limits. In relative terms heavy duty indicates double the proven durability of normal duty. Both normal and heavy duty demonstrate an equivalent level of proven strength. Certifying at the 135 kg level is recommended for public space use.
There is only one level of certification–a chair is either sufficiently stable or it is not. All certified chairs will have been tested and assessed as satisfactorily stable.
UV & WEATHERING
There are three certification options:
- Not certified (this will mean the product has either not been assessed, or it has been but has failed to achieve a satisfactory level of performance i.e. it is not suitable for outdoor use).
- Level 1: intended for intermittent outdoor use.
- Level 2: intended for regular outdoor use.
It should be noted that whatever the level of certification, a plastic chair will eventually degrade as a result of outdoor exposure and opportunities to minimize prolonged exposure should be taken.
There are two certification options:
- Not certified (this will mean the product has either not been assessed, or it has been but has failed to achieve compliance i.e. it is not ignition resistant).
- Certified resistant to ignition. This means the chair has been proven resistant to both cigarette and match flame ignition sources. (NB this does not guarantee that more aggressive ignition sources, or persistent and deliberate attempts with cigarettes or matches, will not lead to ignition. If this type of environment is anticipated more aggressive ignition sources should be specified in addition to the cigarette and match flame tests).
Over and above the minimum certification position, all testing options are discretionary, however some guidance is offered in the examples following. A chair intended for indoor use only would not normally need to be assessed for resistance to UV and weathering because it’s not intended to be used outdoors. It may be considered necessary to assess it for resistance to ignitability, depending on the application. Regardless, to be certified it would still need to pass strength and durability and stability requirements. In contrast, a chair intended for outdoor use would normally be expected to be assessed for both resistance to UV and weathering and ignitability. In this case it would be appropriate to cover the full range of testing options e.g. strength and durability and stability and UV and weathering and ignitability.