Architect “Lives by Standards”

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AWI Quality Certification Corporation (QCC) meets with architects, design professionals, and specifiers about the Quality Certification Program to learn firsthand about the value of industry standards and certification of woodwork for their projects.  Here are some insights gained at a recent CSI event.

Quality Review (QR) spoke with Ken Hercenberg of ZGF Architects LLP.

AWI QCP Ken Hercenberg

Associate Partner and Construction Specifier for ZGF Ken Hercenberg told QR that he was introduced to Architectural Woodwork Standards about 20 years ago.  He learned about the standards as well as the Quality Certification Program (QCP) from former AWI Technical Director Greg Heuer.

Ken said he “lives by standards” and depends on programs like QCP because he often writes as many as 140 spec sections per project in the course of his job. “We always specify certification for our firm’s projects that require premium, high visibility architectural woodwork.” 


Certified Woodwork

“When the woodwork is certified, we can be reasonably certain that a QCP-licensed woodworker is knowledgeable and capable.  Presuming that the specs are clear, we know we have a very good chance of getting what we want.  And, if we don’t get what we want, we contact the QCP offices for a review of the specs and the job, and, any problems are remedied, as needed.”

Ken believes that about half the projects he’s seen have issues involving some specialty—whether HVAC, building envelope, moisture mitigation, etc.—often resulting from speed of the job and pressure on trades.

“For architectural woodwork elements of our projects, QCP is the least costly insurance policy available and one of the best deals in construction.  I don’t know why anyone would not request certification, if there is quality woodwork on their project,” Ken said.


Summary Process Relating to Woodwork Specs

“During the submittal phase of our projects, the contractor usually registers the woodworking for certification.  When we examine the woodwork submittal, we look for certification information, and if it is lacking we don’t even begin to review the specs. We tell the general contractor what our requirements are and consider it their job to ensure compliance with the subs.

I am still trying to get architects to understand that we can register a project before it goes to bid.  We don’t have to pay anything to do that, and pre-registration prevents the GC from not registering the project.  The optimal process is for architects to register the woodwork for certification because it is a lot easier to enforce.”

Ken Hercenberg is an Associate Partner and Specification Writer at ZGF Architects with more than 40 years of experience in design and construction services. He specializes in project manual production, building envelope design, code reviews, quality and constructability reviews, keynoting, and sustainability. Throughout his career, Ken has worked on various project types including healthcare, laboratory, hospitality, commercial, mixed-use / residential, airport / transportation, K-12, and higher education. Ken’s attention to detail and experience with materials and construction make him an experienced mentor and member of ZGF’s staff. He is a long-standing member of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).  ZGF Architects LLP is a practice with more than 600 professionals and offices in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, New York City, and Vancouver, BC. ZGF has been honored with the American Institute of Architects’ highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award.