AFRDI - What Does It Mean?

Updated: Nov 18, 2019

AFRDI is an Australian industry standard in commercial interiors that often gets thrown around by those in the 'biz', yet a lot of us don't actually know what it stands for, how it works and exactly what it means.

This week, we reached out to the folks at the Australasian Furnishing Research and Development Institute Limited (AFRDI) and asked them to clear up some questions we thought you might want answers to.

Established in 1989, Furntech-AFRDI is located in Launceston (Tasmania) and is an independent, not-for-profit technical organisation providing standards, testing, product certification and research for buyers and sellers of furniture. AFRDI is accredited with the National Association of Testing Authorities and is also a Registered Research Agency. They test both Australian and international products, to both Australian and International standards; or where these don't exist (for example in the case of a new product), they research and write their own tests.

So why does Australia need it's own specifications when ANSI-BIFMA  is seen around the globe?

Australia's conditions differ from those around the world. We have a different climate, hours and individuals; and so AFRDI allows specific testing just for us. 

As many of our customers know, we actively ensure that our products meet these standards to provide the best quality products we can, offering  peace of mind they are built to last. 

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.

"Many tenders and requirements in Australia call up AFRDI Blue Tick Certification. Certification is not just testing, it is a process where after rigorous testing AFRDI certifies a product for 3 years, providing the client signs an agreement to maintain the quality at no less than that tested and advises of changes in place or type of manufacture among other things (our website explains this). After 3 years the client is required to submit a further product for testing to gain a further 3 years certification. " - Furntech AFRDI source

Whilst various standards may all be applied to furniture, each standard has its own particular sequence of tests, using its own particular test methods. Whilst all manner of items may successfully pass the testing of the individual standards, there is no guarantee that samples of the same item will successfully pass all the requirements when tested to other standards.

What's involved in a typical test? "A typical performance standard will assess characteristics such as strength, durability, stability, and ergonomics. Tests are mostly based on the principle of accelerated mechanical ageing simulating the use an item would receive during a normal lifetime. Testing typically involve more than 250,000 duty cycles over several weeks" - Furntech AFRDI Source

To both us and our clients, certification is an important indicator of quality and durability when it comes to our offering. It's an important step in satisfying the question of duty of care to employees, and gives us peace of mind as a business. If an item fails in service, and personal injury results in litigation; product certification is often taken as positive evidence that an appropriate product was chosen.

For this reason, consumers can easily check on the Furntech website to see whether products have been tested and if they are currently within the certification period.

What does it cover?

AFRDI’s testing covers a range of domestic and workplace items. Some examples of what we have tested are office chairs and their components, desks, workstations, tables, fixed height chairs, school and educational furniture, filing cabinets, storage furniture, monitor arms, ranked seating, theatre seating and more. If you want to see an example of how it's done, check out the clip on YouTube below:

While we don't want to bore you by going into more detail, you can at any time reach out to us for more information about AFRDI, or contact them directly through the website for questions and concerns.

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.

While most of the work centres around establishing standards for the office furniture industry, it is likely that in future the organisation will develop more consumer-focused standards, such as its new programs to identify leather from other materials which may have similar appearance too.

Interesting stuff.

Hope you enjoyed your little linsight to the industry standards we know and love, and more importantly, enjoy the week ahead of you.

Wishes in wellness,

The Balance Team

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