With summer fast approaching outdoor furniture is vital. The weather is getting warmer and people are spending more time outside in their gardens. However, outdoor tables and chairs need to meet different standards compared to in-home furniture. It’s important to evaluate these products prior to shipment to ensure that all furniture items are durable enough to stand up to normal use, while also adhering to the end consumer’s design standards.
By following internationally recognised standards when conducting inspections on your outdoor furniture, you can ensure your products will be able to battle all the elements including, sun, rain, snow and wind.
The American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials (ASTM) develops international standards for manufacturing and testing products. It is used to assess the performance requirements for residential and non-residential outdoor plastic chairs. ASTM covers the physical performance of the product covering characteristics of outdoor weathering, impact resistance, static load and rear leg strength testing.
Europe Outdoor Furniture QC Standards
In Europe, 49% of recalled furniture relates to outdoor products. Europe has two standards for outdoor furniture – EN 581-1 General Safety Requirements and EN 581-3 Mechanical Safety Requirements for Tables.
Outdoor tables and chairs are recalled more than any other furniture category in Europe, resulting from weak construction, instability issues and personal finger entrapment, 48% of all recalled outdoor products is for folding chairs.
The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) sets the standard for the countries within the European Union. A set of standards have been developed to address all safety requirements for outdoor furniture.
- EN 581-1 provides the general safety requirements for outdoor furniture.
- EN 581-2 specifies the mechanical test methods to establish safety for outdoor seating furniture.
- EN 581-3 provides mechanical testing procedures for outdoor tables.
- EN 581-4 determines durability testing of outdoor furniture when exposed to environmental factors such as rain.
EN 581-1 now has more stringent than in previous years as new requirements for manufactures are necessary:
- A clear indication that the product is for adult only use
- Revised definition of camping, domestic and contract use
- Edges and corners must be assessed according to the new definitions of accessible parts for seating and tables
- Requirements for gaps and holes have been removed following consideration of the issue of finger injuries relating to the end of tubular components
- Glass-topped tables now require protection between the parasol and the glass, to stop direct contact.
EN 581-3 was updated in January 2017 and the requirements now provide greater clarity to various table types, including tables with and without extensions, longer tables and smaller tables etc. The revised version also includes demands for glass table-tops to ensure the holes for parasols are protected to prevent metal to glass contact.
AFNOR NF D60-300
The French Standardisation Association (AFNOR) develops safety standards applied in France, plus other countries globally. AFNOR NF D60-300 provides safety requirements and test procedures for outdoor seating and tables for children.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent global supply safety solutions company. It creates an international safety standard, which is applied to household and commercial furnishings, including for the outdoors.
Furniture production is moving to lower-cost manufacturing countries, particularly Vietnam. The requirement for furniture to adhere to safety standards is greater than ever before. The key area of quality control inspection for outdoor furniture products are:
- Visual inspection against CAD sketches and approved sample checking for aesthetic compliance and for defects related to dimensions, discoloration, inadequate finishing, scratches, warping and other visual imperfections
- On-site tests and checks for structural safety through load tests, impact tests, arm and leg strength tests, drop tests and other relevant stability and usage tests
- Packaging inspection to check for appropriate packaging of all furniture parts to protect against abrasions and proper climate controls to prevent damage during shipping
- Relevant laboratory testing coordination, including for flammability and fire resistance testing, as well as chemical testing for lead content in surface coatings and pentachlorophenol and formaldehyde in composite wood products.
Furniture manufacturing in China and Asia can result in significant challenges for retailers and online markets who must remain innovative while continuing to ensure consumer safety. Proactive management of furniture quality control is crucial to meeting these challenges and optimising supply chain performance as the market for outdoor furniture continues to expand.
HQTS is your certified Outdoor Furniture Inspection Provider
Combine this with HQTS’ quality standards and services and you have a powerful, profitable and productive commercial proposition. Our extensive inspection, testing, audit, certification and consulting experience is ready-made to support this emerging market. With over 25 years of quality assurance experience across Asia, HQTS is ready to help your business build strong and meaningful supplier relationships. HQTS is your first choice to ensure reliability and excellence in quality every time. Contact us today!
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