AWI Quality Review for 05/05/2020

Featured image for “AWI Quality Review for 05/05/2020”

Of Note

  • COVID-19 Impacts Project Inspections
    For the safety of our inspection team, the Quality Certification Program is using video technology more extensively to conduct project inspections.
  • QCC Licensees Win AWI Awards of Excellence
    See the outstanding projects that incorporate beautiful architectural woodwork in recent editions of the quarterly journal, Design Solutions.  Will the wood species and design elements give you ideas for your next project?

COVID-19 Update from AWI QCC

Beginning March 15, 2020, we have enabled every member of our team to work remotely from home while simultaneously being connected to our office servers, phone system and other team members.

Our most efficient communication with you continues to be email and telephone. The direct dial extensions are forwarded to the individuals cell phone, and our main phone lines will be open if you need to call our office for specific assistance.  To connect with our staff, click here.

Additionally, in respect for the health of our clients and collaborators, we will endeavor to hold all future meetings via the Zoom platform whenever possible.

Fortunately, our network technology, file management, communications and operational standards have always allowed our team members to work from remote locations without disruption to our workflow.  We are confident that we have initiated the necessary steps during this time of uncertainty to ensure that our services and work product remain at the highest standard, even though our world and workplace is changing.

We are utilizing our video technology to provide project support and inspections in order to keep everyone safe.

The health of our team, families, clients and community is the highest priority that we can share with you.  We look forward to getting through this time of uncertainty together.

QCC Board Elects Rosa Cheney as Chair-Elect

The Quality Certification Corporation (QCC) Board of Directors elected Rosa Cheney as Chair-Elect for 2020, whose term as QCP Chair will begin on Jan. 1, 2021.  She is currently serving her first term on the AWI QCC board.  With two years under her belt, she is passionate about the integrity of the Quality Certification Program and is eager to support QCP as it addresses and reacts to the rollout of the upcoming AWI / ANSI Standards. 

Rosa Cheney is an architect and owner of Rosa D Cheney AIA, PLLC, a firm whose primary service is the preparation of architectural specifications for architects and owner clientele.  Her firm works on a wide range of project types, including institutional and government work such as schools, community centers, and libraries, as well as private developer work such as office, retail, hospitality, and multi-family residential projects.  She is currently serving as chair of the AIA Masterspec Architectural Review committee.

QCP Licensees Win Prestigious AWI Awards of Excellence

The AWI Quality Certification Corporation (AWI QCC) congratulates the QCP Licensees who received top honors in the quarterly AWI Award of Excellence program. 

The award-winning projects of the following honorees were featured in AWI’s quarterly journal, Design Solutions Magazine. Click on the links below and read about each project’s challenges.

Project: University of Chicago New Residential/Dining Building
Licensed QCP Manufacturer: Accurate Custom Cabinets
Design Solutions
Winter 2020
Photographer: Richard Lanenga

Project: MathWorks Lakeside Campus
Licensed QCP Manufacturer: Millwork One
Design Solutions
Winter 2020
Photographer: Richard Mandelkorn

Project: Privé Island Condominium
Licensed QCP Manufacturer: Hollywood Woodwork
Design Solutions
Winter 2020
Photographer: Cheryl Stieffel

Project: Virginia Commonwealth University new College of Health Professions building
Licensed QCP Manufacturer: Stephenson Millwork
Design Solutions
Spring 2020
Photographer: Tom Stiles

Project: Chicago’s DePaul University Hotschneider Performance Center
Licensed QCP Manufacturer: Bernhard Woodwork, Ltd.
Design Solutions
Spring 2020
Photographer: Mark Ballogg

Project: West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute
Licensed QCP Manufacturer: Giffin Interior & Fixture, Inc.
Design Solutions
Spring 2020
Photographer: Adam Warner

Video vs. In-person Project Inspections: Fitting the Method to Each Situation

I have been a subscriber to the CSI-Connect Digest for several years. I find most of the discussion interesting in that there are a host of contributors offering questions and posts about the full spectrum of the commercial built environment.

Recently, I have stepped into the fray by posting and questioning more than one contributor about the merits of conducting video inspections for architectural woodwork. In today’s COVID-19 environment where social distancing is in force, and travel to project sites, usually by plane, are not something most people are rushing to do, the use of video makes complete sense.

The contributors I have been sparring with don’t seem to agree; however, I will say that as a CCCA (Certified Construction Contract Administrator) they are responsible for signing off on substantial completion for a whole host of additional divisions of work, not just architectural woodwork, and that can be daunting.

To take this discussion to the next level, we asked QCP Inspector Wayne Hintz to solicit feedback from our representatives in-the-field about how they initially felt when we launched this technology and how they feel after using it for a couple of years:

“I would say the primary takeaway from the Rep comments is that an architect cannot really draw a valid general conclusion about the merits of video inspection until they know about the nuances which the Reps consider when deciding whether remote inspection is the preferable choice for particular projects, products, participating woodwork subcontractors, or inspection types.  The Reps are keenly aware of both the strengths and weaknesses of the video method. While video inspection is QCP’s default starting point when a Rep is presented with a new project, the Reps “on the ground” carefully analyze all the factors inherent in that project, and will tailor their inspection plan accordingly to fit each individual situation.  Where clearly necessary, that plan may include a combination of video and in-person inspection, or in-person inspection only.  While formulation of that plan may involve discussion with QCP staff, a Reps’ analysis and preference regarding inspection for any particular situation is respected, and rarely, if ever, reversed by QCP.” 

With the explosion of real-time remote video usage and its many novel applications during COVID-19, QCP implemented the technology years ago, and generally has not missed a beat in servicing projects that require inspection during social distancing and the inability to travel.

The Architect’s “Letter Accepting Variation” and “Limited Certification” for AWI QCP Projects

This Quality Review regular feature presents woodwork-related technical topics of common interest and importance to the design community, general contractors, and the architectural woodwork industry.  

There was a period in the history of AWI’s Quality Certification Program (QCP) when there were only two possible outcomes for architectural woodwork which was required to be certified, and simultaneously subject to inspection by QCP Representatives.  Those outcomes were:

  1. Full Certification of the project, based on zero outstanding nonconforming items after final inspection.
  2. No certification of the project if inspectors noted even one or two relatively minor nonconforming items outstanding.

About six years ago, the QCC Board of Directors recognized that this second outcome could be disproportionate in projects where the nonconforming items were generally considered to be minor in nature, and the large preponderance of woodwork provided was conforming overall.  Also noted was the lack of opportunity for the architect or owner to weigh in regarding whether the minor issues, although technically nonconforming, might in fact adequately meet the design intent and the owner’s needs.  Accordingly, in addition to “Full” certification, a new type of possible outcome was added to published QCP Policies:  the “Limited” certification.

A “Letter Accepting Variance” (LAV) was the mechanism QCP created to allow the architect to override an inspector’s “nonconforming” determination for any individual line-item of a QCP inspection report.  The process is really nothing more than a specialized “RFI” transaction, with all communication typically routed through the general contractor.  The woodworker elicits the architect’s acceptance of a selected nonconforming item or items, providing supporting information or documents which may facilitate the architect’s consideration of the request.  If the architect agrees to accept any particular nonconformance, his/her assent must be explicit and in writing.  There is no LAV “form”.  The documents exchanged are usually simple e-mails.  Once the woodworker receives the architect’s LAV (via the general contractor), it then sends it directly to the QCP inspector.  The inspector updates QCP records as appropriate.  During the post-inspection process, there may be multiple LAV requests sent to the architect.  Some may be accepted, and some rejected.  If at least one nonconformance was resolved by an LAV, the project receives “Limited”, rather than “Full”, Certification. The physical certificate issued reflects that determination, and is visually differentiated from “Full” certificates.

It should also be mentioned that there are administrative consequences for a woodworker that submits an architect’s Letter Accepting Variance (LAV) as a means of resolving a nonconforming item.  Current QCP Policies (2019) state: – Completed projects resulting in the issuing of a Letter Accepting Variations (LAV) will result in the licensee’s certification status being changed to ‘Probationary’.

This means that the woodworker’s next awarded QCP project is again subject to inspection by QCP Representatives.

There actually is one other QCP project certification category, and that is “Modified”.  This type of Certification is triggered by administrative considerations and does not directly involve the architect.  QCP project assessment requires two different types of inspection.  The first is the “Fabrication” inspection, conducted at the manufacturer’s production facility. This review examines construction details and finishing of the job’s specified products.  The second is the “Installation” inspection, which assesses installation of the product at the job site.  Typically, the woodworking subcontractor is responsible for both fabrication and installation.  If for any reason (such as the woodworker’s late registration of a QCP project) it is not possible to conduct the fabrication inspection at the woodworker’s production plant prior to installation, that project automatically becomes eligible for a “Modified” certificate only.  This is because important construction details of many of architectural millwork products are concealed and unavailable for inspection once they are fully assembled and installed.  Per current QCP Policies (2019):

4.5.7 – Projects that require compliance inspections but are not inspected during the fabrication phase shall receive modified certificates of compliance only. – Modified certificates will indicate the limited nature of the compliance verification.

QCP Video Library Addresses Cost to Register a Project

You Ask, We Answer, says QCP.  “There is NO cost to register a project,” says AWI Executive Director Randy Estabrook.  So why are some design professionals and woodworkers confused about project registration?  Find out more by clicking here.  A brief video will provide clarity.

Visit the Quality Certification Program Video Gallery here for other brief videos.  And, if YOU have any questions, click on the icon in the bottom corner of the gallery page and ask away.  You’ll get answers.

AWI Quality Certification Program Course Offered for Design Professionals

Tap into Hanley Wood University for a free print course offered to architects about “Using the AWI Quality Certification Program.”  Earn one AIA Learning Unit for taking the introductory course.


Course Description

Complying with the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) can be a challenge for architects and builders. Third-party programs such as the Quality Certification Program, which was founded by the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI), are specifically designed for builders and architects hoping to achieve AWS compliance. This article will discuss how these programs work and how they can be leveraged to better achieve QCP certification and protect all stakeholders in the process.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the AWS and how it is applied to woodwork
  • Explain how to specify architectural woodwork using the AWS
  • Discuss how third-party certification programs that support the AWS operate
  • List the benefits of utilizing third-party AWS certification programs

Details are available here.

The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) is the oldest registered continuing education provider of learning units for architects and design professionals.

Hanley Wood University is a continuing education and professional training provider for the construction industry. While HWU does not offer degrees, we do send course completion information to association partners, awarding the CEUs predetermined for each course.

Dive Deep into QCP Blogs for Insights about Architectural Woodwork

Here are a few samples.  Learn more here, where you’ll also find many more topics that can assist you in the planning and execution of the woodwork aspects of your projects, as well as the value of project inspections.

  • Understanding How ANSI / AWI 0620-2018—Finish Carpentry/Installation Standard Supplants Sections of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS)
  • What Is Wood Veneer?
  • Different Types of Wood Veneer & When to Use Them
  • Uncovering the Complexities of Transparent Finish Wall Paneling
  • Project Inspections Series:
    • Part 1: What Happens Before A QCP Project Inspection?
    • Part 2: The 5 QCP Inspection Categories
    • Part 3: What Happens During A QCP Project Inspection?
    • Part 4: What Happens After A QCP Project Inspection?
  • An Overview of Wooden Staircases for Design Professionals
  • What Type of Wood Is Best for Your Architectural Woodwork Project?Casework: A Guide for Design Professionals

Follow Us on Social Media

Architectural woodwork is showcased on the following social media platforms, incorporating award-winning woodwork projects illustrated in editions of AWI’s quarterly journal Design Solutions. Follow us:

  • LinkedIn: AWI Quality Certification Program
  • Facebook: Architectural Woodwork Institute-QCP

Get Help, Find Answers

Need help with inspection preparation?  Seeking answers about challenging aspects of Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) or ANSI / AWI Standards?  Turn to QCP Resources to enhance your participation in the Quality Certification Program.