Comprehensive definitions for major modular panel system installations:




Acoustical panel: A systems furniture panel with acoustical properties to absorb sound within the panel structure providing a higher STC rating for the overall workspace

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

Adjacency Requirements: Programming information concerning optimal functional proximity of various personnel groups and equipment areas in a company. This information is a major element of the criteria used in space planning

Adjustable Arms: refers to the adjustability of chair arm rest, typically on a task chair. They can be height adjustable (vertical), width adjustable (height), rotating and/or have a sliding arm pad.

Adjustable Glides: Support device for leveling or stabilizing furniture on uneven flooring. Alternately referred to as “levelers” or “height adjusters”

ANSI: American National Standards Institute. ANSI/BIFMA Safety and performance standards are developed by the BIFMA (see below) Engineering Committee. The standards are reviewed every five years and intended to provide manufacturers with a common basis for evaluating safety, durability, and the structural adequacy of furniture items.

Anti-Rebound: This feature ensures that a drawer will stay closed and not spontaneously roll out of its opening or recoil when it is closed with normal force

Area Takeoff: The tabulation of area in square feet or yardage. This information is used to qualify spaces in planning and budgeting efforts.

Assemble Furniture: the process of building furniture from separate components by professionals

Asynchronous Control: Allows a chairs backrest and seat to move simultaneously but independently for the user to maximize his/her comfort.

AutoCAD: The computer program used by most architecture and interior desin industry professionals to generate drawings



Back Pitch: Refers to the angle of a chairs back in relation to the seat

Base Cap: A solid wood cap that fits over part of a metal base

Base Power Infeed: The power source connection from the buildings electrical current to the systems furniture panel

B/B/F Pedestal: Abbreviation for Box/Box/File pedestal. The word pedestal (or commonly referred to as a “ped”) is a filing unit, typically about 15” wide and located under a work surface top. A “box” is a drawer 6” high used for smaller items, such as pencils and calculators. The file drawer is about 12” high and a standard hanging file compartment.

Bell Crank: Often referred to as a hub, a bell crank is a device that allows the user to manually adjust seat height of a chair

Beltway Power: In systems furniture refers to horizontal strip above work surface height that allows for power and data capability and access. The standard location for most systems is at the base of the panel.

BIFMA: Business and Intuitional Furniture Manufactures Association

Block Diagram: Initial form of space allocation in which the spatial requirements determined the programming phase is shown. This diagram shows in correct proportion, departments and their proposed locations within the space.

Boat Shaped Table Top: A rectangular shaped table top design that, in plain view has 2 short sides that are flat and 2 long sides that are bowed outward in a convex shape so as to allow for better person to person vision around a long conference table.

Book Match: Sheets of laminate or veneer are laid so that the back of one sheet is matched to the face of an adjacent sheet, like facing pages in a book

Box Drawer: A 6” high drawer made to use a pedestal.

Bridge: The work surface that connects a desk and credenza, so as to form a U-shaped configuration around the user.

Bullet Top: Usually used in place of a standard desk in “L” or “U” configurations, a bullet top is essentially a writing table that gets its name from its shape. Viewed from above, its shaped like the cross section of a bullet, with the rounded end typically supported by a cylindrical metal post. Bullet tops are also sometimes referred to as an island conference top.


C-leg: A support leg that allows knee clearance for the user underneath the work surface

Case Goods: Refers to free standing wood office furniture

Casters: The small wheels that allow for mobility on a piece of furniture

COL: Abbreviation for “Customers Own Leather.” Term used in a furniture specification when an item is being upholstered with fabric from a source

COM: Abbreviation for “Customers Own Material.” Term used in a furniture specification when an item is being upholstered with fabric from a source other than the manufacturer of the furniture.

Contract Furniture: Furniture obtained by contract through dealers or manufacturers. This term frequently implies that the furniture has been developed for commercial use which, through testing, is considered adequate to meet the safety regulations and rigors of a public environment.

Core: The portion of the building containing a concentration of components such as elevators, elevator lobbies, restrooms, equipment rooms, etc.

Counterweight: Smalls weights in the base of a tall file cabinet that keep it from tipping over when a loaded drawer is open.

CPU holder: An accessory piece attached to the underside of a work surface to hold a computers CPU and assist in wire management.

Credenza: In a private office setting, it is a work surface/storage unit located behind the user. In a conference room or gathering space, it can be used for serving as well as provide additional storage.


Defeat Mechanism: The mechanism that helps prevent the accidental tipping of a file cabinet

Delivered Pricing: The price of an item with the cost of delivery included

Demising Wall: A partition separating individual tenants on a multi-tenant floor. Usually the wall runs from the floor to the structural ceiling above (sometimes called “slab to slab”) with gypsum board on both sides. It may contain sound insulation.

Density: A term referring to the weight of a cubic foot of foam. It is probably the most important single property of a chair that a customer should be concerned with. The greater the density, the more material in the foam and the more durable the product

Direct Pressure Laminate: Sometimes this material is referred to as melamine, but it is actually a sheet of melamine bonded to particle board. It is much less durable than high-pressure laminate.

Disassembly: Dismantling of existing systems furniture, modular workstations, wall paneling and workstations into its components

Double Dowel: A term referring to the construction of a chair frame connecting pieces of wood are joined by two dowels with glue and usually pin nailed to maintain frame integrity

Double Pedestal Desk: A desk configuration that consists of left and right pedestal files and knee space in the center for the user

Dovetail: A flaring joint between two pieces of wood, forming an interlocking tight fit.

Dowel: A small rounded piece of wood usually made of birch or maple, used for making or strengthening joints.

Drawer Configuration: The pattern or layout of drawers within a pedestal often seen as box/box/file or file/file

Drawer Dividers: A partition in a box drawer that separates or divides the front portion from the back

Drum Base: A large cylindrical base used to support a table or work surface

Duplex Outlet: A standard electrical outlet with two receptacles


End Panel: A panel that runs the entire depth of a freestanding work surface and does not allow for knee clearance for the user

End Trim: On a system furniture panel, it refers to the finished vertical end cap

Ergonomic: Specially designed furniture, usually referring to chairs, which cradle the body and reduce fatigue

Executive Chair: A high back, padded chair

Executive “L”: Consisting of two pieces- a single pedestal main desk and return- with both units being of the same height, usually 29” or 30”. Return can be left or right side

Executive “U”: A large, U shaped desk consisting of three pieces: a desk, credenza and connecting bridge

External Move: Office relocation that usually involves trucking services between different buildings


Face Veneer: The veneer on the most visible surfaces

Finish boards: Boards prepared to illustrate proposed finishes. The boards will sometimes have photographs or graphic descriptions, but will frequently have physical samples of items, such as wall coverings, carpets, laminates, tiles, stones, etc

F/F Pedestal: Stands for file/file pedestal. It is a filing unit, typically about 15” wide and located under a work surface top

Flipper Door: Refers to the door on an overhead storage unit in a workstation. These doors are typically hinged at the top and lift up either on top of or into the storage unit

Floor Core: The process of couring through the slab of a floor to bring power and telecom/data capability to a room or area

Freestanding: Refers to furniture not supported by systems

Full- to-Floor Pedestals: When Pedestals extend to the floor below the work surface

Furniture Plan: Usually drawn at the same scale as the partition plan, the furniture plan locates and identifies the new and existing furniture in the proposed arrangement


Glazing: Clear or translucent light transmitting materials.

Glides: Small, adjustable feet on a large piece of furniture or systems furniture panel in order to make it level.

Graining: The process of printing a natural wood grain pattern onto another surface that may or may not be a wood product

Grommet: A finished hole in a work surface or other surface to allow for the passage of wires


High Pressure Laminate: A laminate composed of six to eight layers of building material that have been bonded with resin then topped with a melamine plastic facing. Often high pressure laminates are used in office furniture to add durability to a piece of furniture without sacrificing its appearance.

Hutch: A storage unit that sits on top of a credenza. Typically seen in a private office setting


Interlock: A device used to lock two or more drawers together that allows only one drawer to be open at a time. This prevents simultaneous opening, thereby preventing tipping

Inside Delivery: A special request to have the furniture delivered inside the customers facility. This service is usually handled by a specialty delivery company


Keyboard Tray: A unit that attaches to the underside of a work surface to hold a computer keyboard

KD- Knocked Down: The product is shipped completely unassembled to save in freight fees and will require full assembly by the end user

Knockouts: In the base of the systems furniture panel, refers to the hole provided for an electrical or data outlet


Lateral file: A filing cabinet that is wider than is deep to allow for side to side filing or front to back filing of records. Typically come in widths of 30”, 36” and 42”

Laminate: A material formed by fusing two separate materials together. The term laminate can be used to describe both high pressure laminate and direct pressure laminate

Lead Time: The amount of time needed for production and delivery of a piece of furniture after order entry

Load Bar: A bar mounted either to a wall or to a systems furniture panel to which accessories are mounted

L-Post: The corner connector used when two panels meet at a 90 degree angle. Also referred to as a 2 way connector

Lumbar Support: A standard available option on a good quality task chair that provides support for the lower back


Melamine: A plastic resin used to coat direct pressure laminate, and used between the layers of high density laminate. Melamine may also refer to direct pressure laminate, which is less durable of the two laminates available for office furniture

Millwork: Built in counters, shelving, cabinetry, wall or ceiling paneling, moldings etc. usually fabricated off site made of wood or similar materials.

Move Coordination: Optional services which include scheduling of contractors, moving and delivering crews, and installers to assist the owner of occupying space.

Mobile Pedestal: A small storage unit that has casters to allow for mobility. Typically used for files and/or personal storage. Most can be ordered with a cushion on top to allow for informal seating.

Molding: A decorative plane or curved strip used for ornamentation or finishing


Nailhead Trim: Trim used on traditional seating. This usually consists of brass nails individually applies. On less expensive chairs, nailheads may be plastic and applied in strips instead of individually applied


Off Modular: The Ability for systems furniture components to join into perpendicular panel at any increment, rather than the ends of the panel only.

Open System: Partitions put together usually in the center of an office space to create a working environment. Typically it does not have a door or a ceiling

Overfile: A storage Unit that sits a top a 4 or 5 drawer file

Overhang: Produced by recessing the modesty panel when the work surface overhangs the modesty panel. Overhangs vary from 6” to 11”


Panel Creep: When planning multiple workstation clusters for a space, it is the dimension of a panels thickness multiplied by how many times it occurs over the length of the space.

Panel mount: The ability to mount and hang storage units, work surfaces and accessories to a systems furniture panel.

Pedestal: Also referred to as a ped, is a filing unit, typically about 15” wide and located under a worksurface top. Can be fixed or mobile and can have different storage configurations.

Peninsula Top: Also called a p-top, it is a primary work surface designed with one rounded end to provide a comfortable meeting space with multiple users gathered around

Plan View: An aerial view of space, room or piece of furniture, cutting a horizontal section at 5-0” above the floor line

Pneumatic Height Adjustment: On a task chair, allows different size users to adjust the seat height

Posture Control: Allows the back rest to tilt independently of the seat, allowing adjustments in back patch.

Power Infeed: The electrical connection used to provided systems furniture with the buildings power source

Power Pole: A floor to ceiling pole, similar to a small column bringing power to a telephone/data wiring to a workstation pod, in lieu of a floor feed.

Power Whip: Industry slang for a power source that connects the buildings electricity to the systems furniture or cubicle

Programming: The initial stage of a project in which spatial requirements are determined considering numbers and classifications of personnel, size and departments, anticipated future expansions or reductions, and required adjacencies

Punch List: The list that is generated after the project’s completion to indicate any items that are missing or damaged. Applies to architecture as well as to furniture.

PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride


Quadradplex Outlet: Also known as a quad, it is an electrical outlet with 4 receptacles

Quick Ship: A program offered by most furniture manufacturers making some of their most popular or easily manufactured products available with accelerated lead times


Raceway: The cannel provided within a systems furniture panel to run electrical wiring and telephone cabling to the outlets

Radius Styling: Rounded edges/corners of desks, credenzas, etc

Remanufactured Furniture: The reuse of core components in a workstation that can be returned to a new condition with OEM warranties and safety assurances renewed as well. By utilizing components of a past carbon footprint an average savings of 30% to 50% can be realized over the purchase of products with a new carbon footprint

Return: The side work surface stemming from the users primary work surface creating an L-shape in plan


Schematic Plan: a preliminary space plan showing the proposed form and location of the primary components of the space. It provides, in plan view, a graphic depiction of the architectural elements, the furniture, and their interrelationship

Skins: The upholstered portion of a systems furniture panel. Easy to remove

Sliding Seat Pan: An option on many task chairs that allows the seat to move from front to back in order to accommodate different leg lengths

Space Plan: Is a preliminary layout which graphically illustrates basic needs, future growth and adjacencies as defined by the project statement. It is drawn as if the building were “sliced” horizontally, the room and ceiling removed and view above. It indicates placement of walls and type of construction, wall penetrations (doors, windows) defined exit ways, circulation within the area being planned support areas (such as file rooms, libraries, raised floor computer areas, etc) along with their relationship to existing building elements. Furniture and equipment layouts will provide an understanding of the general use of the spaces being presented.

Specifications: The ordering information for a piece of furniture. Typically includes the manufacturers item number, color, finish, size, and any other options specific to the piece.

Spin Lift: Mechanical height adjustment operating by spinning he chair counter-clockwise to raise it and clockwise to lower it

Spine: The Common center panel running down the middle of a workstation pod that all perpendicular panels connect into

Stanchions: The support column on a work surface used to upmount overheads.


T-Post: The connector used when three panels meet at an intersection, forming a T. Also referred to as a 3-way connector

Tackable Panel: A systems furniture panel with a built in tackable surface

Tack board: A fabric covered tackable surface generally mounted to the panel or wall between the top of a work surface and the bottom of an overhead cabinet

Task Chair: The type of an office or desk chair. It is generally comfortable and adjustable and can swivel 360 degrees.

Task Light: The additional light source commonly provided at a desk or workstation. Can be freestanding or mounted underneath an overhead storage cabinet

Tension Control: A mechanical feature usually adjusted by a knob located under the seat of a chair that controls the degree of resistance the chair provides when leaning back

Tiled Panel: A systems furniture panel with a segmented lock housing multiple panel inserts. These inserts can be of varying materials to create

Top Cap: The finished piece of the top of a workstation post or panel

Tongue And Groove: A joint made by fitting a tongue on the edge of a board into a matching groove on another board

Transaction Top: A work surface typically mounted at 42” high and intended for receiving standing visitors or exchanging information. Often seen at reception or secretary stations.

Translucent: A surface that light and objects can be perceived through, but not clearly made out

Transparent: Clear enough to be seen through


Upmount: The term used when stanchions are used to mount shelving or overhead storage on top of a work surface.

“U” Shaped Work Station: A piece of furniture consisting of a single pedestal desk and a single pedestal credenza connected on one side by a flat top and modesty panel

Veneer: A thin strip of real wood glued on to a substrate of plywood or particle board

Vertical File: A filing cabinet that is deeper than it is wide, in which records can only be stored front to back

Vertical Raceway Panel: A panel with an interior vertical cavity to bring power and data above work surface height


Wall Mount: Refers to the installation of systems furniture pieces that are mounted directly to a drywall partition, rather than hung from a furniture panel

Wardrobe Cabinet: A personal storage unit in a workspace designed to hold a coat, jacket, or other hanging items

Wire Management: Characteristics of a piece of furniture that conceal wires and power chords from view

Work Surface: The top of a desk

Work Wall: In a private office environment, refers to the wall incorporating work surfaces, storage, power, and accessories

Workstation: A table or desk with three sided partition around it, usually made for individual work


X Post: The connector used when four panels meet at 90 degree angles. Also referred to as a 4 way connector