A standard is an official document issued by a professional or governmental regulatory authority. Australian kitchen standards provide specific guidelines, rules and technical specifications regarding how kitchen cabinetry is to be built, used or installed in either domestic or commercial applications.
Standards play a very important role in the kitchen industry. They provide an approved level of quality, safety and performance. They protect consumers by providing security as well as peace of mind. Kitchen standards provide uniformity across the entire Australian kitchen industry.
A standard can be either an absolute or a minimum benchmark.
An example of an absolute standard would be the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram (IPK). This one-kilogram object of platinum-iridium alloy has a mass which is exactly equal to the mass of one litre of water. It cannot be lighter than a kilogram nor can it be heavier than a kilogram. It must be absolute.
A minimum benchmark specifies what is the minimum acceptable level of quality, dimensions, safety and characteristics of a product. Unlike an absolute standard, the minimum benchmark level can be exceeded.
Most, if not all Australian kitchen standards relate to minimum benchmarks. I have put together the most relevant Australian kitchen standards together with a brief scope below.
Australasian Furnishing Research and Development Institute
The Australasian Furnishing Research and Development Institute (Furntech-AFRDI) is an independent not-for-profit technical organisation providing standards, testing, product certification and research for buyers and sellers of furniture.
Here are some of the AFRDI certifications related to kitchens;
104.94 Performance of furniture and furniture components in various climates
108.94 Requirements – surface finishes used on timber furniture
891001 Quality of furniture and joinery. Guide to the assessment and classifications of materials and workmanship
891002 Quality of furniture and joinery. Guide to the measurement of dimensions.
As of May 2016, there were only five Australian kitchen companies that have undertaken to maintain quality standards that enable them to display the Furntech-AFRDI Blue Tick for Kitchen Systems Certified based on the Australian / New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4386. These companies are;
Below is a short video (thank goodness!) of a cycle-test for kitchen cabinet hinges. This is one of many tests that Furntech-AFRDI carry out in order to set benchmarks for quality standards relating to the kitchen and furniture industry.
AS4386.1 Domestic Kitchen Assemblies – Kitchen Units
AS 4386.1 specifies the minimum requirements for the construction of kitchen assemblies used in domestic applications. It also looks at;
strength and durability of kitchen cabinets
co-ordination of services such as water, electricity and gas choice of components
AS 4386.2 specifies the minimum requirements for the installation of kitchen assemblies used in domestic applications whether they be pre-assembled or flat pack. It also looks at;
minimum clearances between cooktops and combustible surfaces
oven ventilation requirements
coordination of service zones
AS4387.1 to .16 Domestic Kitchen Assemblies – Methods Of Test
Specifies the procedure for measuring the strength of carcasses and under frames of kitchen assemblies.
AS1351.1 Spaces In Dwellings – Kitchens
Specifies coordinating dimensions (preferred) in metric for kitchen assemblies. It includes work surfaces and appliances. It looks at;
coordinating dimensions (height, width and depth)
preferred heights for sink units and work surfaces
hob (cooktop) heights
HB111 – 1998 The Domestic Kitchen Handbook
Whilst not an Australian Standard, the Domestic Kitchen Handbook was written to complement and expand on Australian Standards AS 4386 and AS 4387. It is an invaluable resource for those looking to build a new kitchen. It will enable you to effectively communicate your needs to a professional kitchen designer. The book looks at;
materials used in the kitchen
appliances and fittings
kitchen design briefs and budget estimates
interpreting kitchen plans
Other standards which relate to Australian kitchen assemblies.
AS1428 Design for access and mobility
AS2131 Adhesives for bonding decorative thermoset laminates (contact adhesives)