Reference Number: ST0793

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in the Furniture, Furnishings and Interiors manufacturing industry. The UK furniture, bed and furnishings manufacturing is substantial with over 8,000 companies contributing over £11 billion to the country’s GDP. Over a quarter of a million jobs are dependent on the success of the industry, with 118,000 in manufacturing alone.

The broad purpose of the occupation is developing new and improved furniture products such as domestic and office furniture.  New Furniture Product Developers develop new products or improve existing products so that the company can meet customers’ needs more effectively. They create design briefs using their knowledge of industry specific legislation and understanding of products and materials.  They manage the furniture product development and improvement process from conception through to completion.  

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with a range of people including production/manufacturing managers, quality technicians, product developers, engineers, purchasers, customers and suppliers.  They understand design, testing, materials and manufacturing processes.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for working as part of a team, collaborating with marketing, technical, suppliers and manufacturing specialists throughout the product-development/improvement process.  They will report to a senior member of staff such as the Design Director.  A New Product Developer combines design, business and engineering skills to create products that meet both market and production requirements.  They also test products both internally and externally.

New Furniture Product Developers can work in a range of environments from small workshops to large factories.

Typical job titles

Typical job titles include Furniture Design Technician, Design Technician, New Furniture Product Developer, Furniture Designer, Product Designer, Product Developer.

Occupation duties


Criteria for measuring performance


Duty 1 work safely at all times following relevant legislation and regulations and ensuring the safety of self and others

complying with relevant health and safety requirements and legislation




Duty 2 Plan, organise and manage furniture design projects from conception to completion on time and within budget

delivered in line with agreed timescales, costs and budgets

K2, K3

S2, S3

B2, B3, B4

Duty 3 create suitable furniture design briefs and concepts for the furniture products to be produced

delivered in line with agreed timescales, costs and customers expectations

K4, K5, K6, K7, K8, K9, K10, K11, K2

S4, S5, S6, S7

B5, B6, B7, B8

Duty 4 investigate new and existing furniture products and materials in order to incorporate these into future furniture designs

delivered in line with industry standards

K12, K13


B5, B8

Duty 5 create and introduce new/improved furniture products, proving and testing both internally and externally and collaborate with marketing, technical, suppliers and manufacturing specialists to combine furniture design, business and engineering skills

delivered in line with agreed timescales, costs and budgets

K14, K15, K16, K17

S9, S10, S11, S12

B5, B6, B8

Duty 6 choose appropriate furniture manufacturing methods, processes and techniques to produce furniture designs

delivered in line with industry standards

K18, K19

S13, S14

B5, B8

Duty 7 produce 2D and 3D drawings, prototypes, models, mock-ups, artwork, samples or test pieces of furniture designs to bring these to life

delivered in line with specifications and industry standards



B5, B8

Duty 8 present furniture designs to customers (internal/external) in order to get buy-in

delivered in line with customer expectations/specifications

K21, K22

S16, S17

B6, B9, B10

Duty 9 collate costing information and present this in a comprehensive format (Bill of Materials)

delivered in line with customer expectations/specifications



B5, B8

Duty 10 develop and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues, customers, suppliers and other relevant stakeholders

delivered in line with customers' expectations

K24, K25, K26

S19, S20

B6, B11



K1 health, safety and environmental management and risk assessment for example Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), Health And Safety At Work Act (HASAWA), Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and

K2 Codes of Practice, industry testing and environmental standards and legislation affecting furniture design for example British Standards or Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations

K3 basic project management including principles and techniques of good project management

K4 how to create and scale furniture designs

K5 sustainability and protecting the environment in furniture design

K6 furniture design trends, technological developments, new markets and innovation

K7 ergonomics and anthropometrics in furniture, including relating to an ageing population

K8 commercial and domestic furniture designs such as living room or office furniture

K9 how to design for furniture assembly/ disassembly – ensure product build is as quick and simple as possible, likewise disassembly to be the same as appropriate

K10 furniture industry materials and modern and traditional manufacturing methods including plywood, MDF (Medium Density Board) and MFC (Melamine Faced Chipboard), veneers, laminates, edging materials, stains and finishes, fixtures and fittings (glass, plastics, electrical components and fittings), fabrics, springs, manmade and natural fillings and adhesives

K11 strength of materials and material selection including how/where to apply them

K12 product and material investigation techniques for example analysis of properties, flammability, abrasion, impact, scrape and scratch resistance

K13 furniture products and services offered to customers

K14 new furniture product development introduction processes

K15 furniture product testing methods and processes for example testing which simulates real-life use and foreseeable misuse

K16 furniture product and material investigation techniques for example performance and durability

K17 furniture product development processes and how to improve existing products

K18 furniture manufacturing methods, processes and techniques for example CNC machining

K19 furniture product specifications

K20 how to produce 2D and 3D furniture drawings, prototypes, models, mock-ups, artwork, samples or test pieces

K21 presentation techniques for example voice tone, positive body language and use of visuals to enhance messages

K22 how to communicate furniture design proposals visually and in writing, different methods and how to use them effectively to reach agreement

K23 bill of materials and costs to produce furniture designs

K24 effective communication skills and techniques including verbal, written and physical non-verbal

K25 equality and diversity and how this applies in the workplace

K26 importance of developing good working relationships with others


S1 work safely at all times, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and completing health and safety records and reports

S2 plan, organise and manage furniture design projects to successful completion

S3 maintain furniture design records

S4 create suitable furniture designs and concepts for furniture to be manufactured

S5 apply furniture industry specific regulations, legislation and standards, covering COSHH, British Standards, European and American test standards, Conformité Européenne (CE) Marks, Intellectual Property, ergonomics and renewable practices to designs as appropriate

S6 create furniture designs for assembly / manufacturing capability including the use of computer aided design (CAD), 3D modelling and surfacing

S7 select appropriate furniture materials, products and components for the furniture designs to meet customer requirements

S8 investigate new and existing furniture products and materials and record findings of investigations

S9 develop new furniture products and improve furniture existing products that meet customers’ needs more effectively

S10 prove and test new and improved furniture products internally and externally

S11 collaborate with marketing, technical, suppliers and manufacturing specialists

S12 arrange and coordinate test build programmes for value engineering of product and componentry

S13 choose furniture manufacturing methods, processes and techniques to suit customer requirements

S14 develop furniture specifications for products to be manufactured

S15 produce 2D and 3D furniture drawings, prototypes, models, mock-ups, artwork, samples or test pieces to industry standards

S16 present furniture designs to customers (internal/external)

S17 produce visuals that demonstrates how furniture designs meets the strength, aesthetics, cost and other relevant requirements of the brief

S18 collate comprehensive costing information such as a Bill of Materials

S19 apply effective communication techniques at all levels including written and verbal communication skills

S20 develop and maintain effective working relationships


B1 have a safety-first attitude, ensuring the safety of self and others as appropriate

B2 takes personal responsibility for meeting objectives of the team and business

B3 shows integrity, aims for excellence and manages time effectively

B4 is efficient when working individually and as part of a team, with ambition to achieve in all aspects of work

B5 thorough and accurate when accomplishing tasks

B6 is friendly and approachable in a furniture design environment

B7 demonstrates creative thinking when creating designs and concepts

B8 has a methodical approach to furniture design tasks

B9 demonstrate a positive work ethic and can-do attitude showing initiative and self-motivation

B10 demonstrate professional standards of behaviours and positive personality, to dress appropriately and be aware of personal presentation

B11 sets an example to others, is fair, consistent and reliable


English and Maths qualifications

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL. 

Additional details

Occupational Level: 3
Duration (months): 24


This standard will be reviewed after three years.

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