AWI Quality Review for 10/03/2017

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Of Note

  • Welcome to Quality Review
    This new e-letter about the Quality Certification Program is designed to share information and insights concerning the architectural woodwork components of your design/build projects.
  • Get the Facts
    Learn about the true costs of QCP project certification and other technical aspects of architectural woodwork.

Welcome to the Inaugural Issue of Quality Review

The Architectural Woodwork Institute’s Quality Certification Program (AWI QCP) is launching this new semi-annual online newsletter, Quality Reviewspecifically for architects, design professionals and general contractors.

Persons within those communities are usually familiar with AWI (founded in 1953), and recognize its authority in the architectural woodwork industry, as expressed by the series of standards it has authored since the early 1960’s.  However, AWI’s Quality Certification Program has only been on the scene since 1995.  The quality assurance services which QCP offers, and the policies and procedures by which it operates, tend to be less well known to architects and GCs.  As succinctly stated in its published Policies:

“The AWI Quality Certification Program (QCP) licenses eligible woodworking, finishing, and installation companies to certify that their projects comply with the current Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS).”

QCP Licensing is earned by woodworking firms through comprehensive testing and inspection in accordance with the quality grade criteria set forth in the AWS.

As an independent entity, the Quality Certification Program is a powerful and low-cost risk management tool, offering third-party inspection of your projects’ architectural woodwork, and assessing compliance of that work with the AWS.

One goal of Quality Review is to address misconceptions that some stakeholders may have concerning the cost and procedures involved in certifying a project, where that requirement is specified.  Woodwork is typically one of the most visible and beautiful components of commercial and institutional projects. QCP’s assistance in ensuring the faithful execution and performance of the woodwork takes only a tiny percentage of the woodwork subcontract.

Put the QCP to work for you in just 3 simple steps: Specify, Register and Record and learn more here!

Meanwhile, give us your feedback about the articles and topic covered in Quality Review.  Don’t hesitate to share your views and/or questions here.

Debunking Fallacies about Quality Certification Program Costs

The actual costs of AWI’s Quality Certification Program (QCP) project certification are NOT what you may think!

In response to unfortunate and persistent misinformation directed at architects who have specified QCP as their primary woodwork quality assurance, QCP has been engaged in an ongoing advertising campaign aiming to raise awareness within the design community of the actual cost and nature of QCP project certification.

Here are the facts:  The actual cost of QCP project certification is 1/2 % of the woodwork subcontract value, or $500, whichever is greater.  Up to a subcontract value of $100,000, the certification cost will be $500. Administrative responsibilities and the certification fee payment are handled by the woodwork subcontractor, with that cost appearing as a bid line-item.  

Over its twenty years of operation, the Quality Certification Program (administered by the not-for-profit Quality Certification Corporation) has typically functioned as intended, with all project stakeholders buying into a mutually beneficial “symbiotic” relationship:

  • Owners, architects, and general contractors know they are receiving woodwork produced by a company which has earned licensing based on QCP-tested knowledge of AWI standards, and ability to produce work based on those standards.  Expert QCP “third party” physical inspection is automatic in some cases, and always available for any project stakeholder upon request, usually at no additional cost. Certification includes verification of conformance with specifications. Architects receive illustrated, detailed conformance reports of project inspections at no cost (also available to any project stakeholder).
  • Licensed woodworking firms may enjoy a market advantage, since they are pre-qualified to bid on projects requiring QCP certification. Only licensed firms may certify a project under the auspices of QCP.

This model of quality assurance has a proven track record.  However, QCP has also seen many instances of a project’s general contractor and/or the awarded woodworker misrepresenting basic facts about the program (especially regarding cost) to the owner or architect.  In such cases, the goal is to create enough apprehension to cause the architect to withdraw his/her initial QCP requirement from the specifications. Simply put, the “benefit” of this for the GC or woodworker is that AWI standards may be ignored or corners cut without the possibility of QCP’s scrutiny.  (For a striking real-life example of this phenomenon, click the following link to an article by QCP Executive Director Randy Estabrook, which appeared in AWI’s Design Solutions Magazine.)

Also important to note is that scare tactics regarding costs are often accompanied by the false narrative that certification will in some way delay the woodwork component of the project schedule.  But in fact, one of QCP’s “Prime Directives” to its inspectors is that no step taken in the inspection process should ever compromise the woodworker’s ability to deliver and/or install architectural woodwork as required by project deadlines.

Based on market research, and conversations similar to the one described by Randy in the above-referenced article, QCP has been sponsoring a digital ad campaign emphasizing the actual cost of QCP. The ads appear on three websites:  Architectmagazine.comconstructionspecifier.comand enr.comCheck them out and get the real facts!  Selected graphic elements of those ads also appear in this article.

Woodwork and Humidity: The Topic That’s Always in Season

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

On Sept. 9, 2015, AWI’s Quality Certification Program (QCP) offered the last in its series of educational webinars for that year.  The presentation was titled “The Irresistible Force and the Moveable Object”, and was a fairly comprehensive discussion of the often contentious relationship between fine woodwork and humidity.  This webinar was also presented the previous year, but was reprised because of the high attendance and keen interest in the topic.

QCP’s webinars have often addressed technical matters of day-to-day importance to the architectural woodwork fabricators, finishers, and installers which comprise QCP’s 500+ licensees.  However, some of the areas discussed are unquestionably of interest and consequence not only to woodwork subcontractors, but to all stakeholders of a commercial or institutional construction project. The issue of uncontrolled humidity and the havoc it can wreak with installed woodwork certainly falls into that category.  In fact, only a team effort involving designers, general contractors, and woodwork manufacturers can guarantee avoidance of the very negative situations which can result from either excessive or insufficient humidity:

  • Wood products must be designed to move and adjust to changing humidity.
  • Interior spaces must be closed and conditioned prior to delivery of woodwork, and wood products allowed to acclimate prior to installation for a reasonable amount of time.
  • Wood products must be manufactured and finished with consideration of material moisture content, and humidity conditions in storage and finishing areas.  The fabricator and installer must incorporate expansion joints in certain products where required by AWI Standards.

When any of these aspects are omitted, catastrophic results can and do occasionally occur.

 The 2014 webinar included the scientific definition of “relative humidity,” the requirements of the Architectural Woodwork Standards regarding humidity, instrumentation available to general contractors and woodworkers to monitor RH conditions, and the process of documenting humidity levels over time.

To access this webinar.  Scroll down to select “2014 QCP Talk – The Irresistable Force and the Movable Object”.

AWI Leads Woodwork Standards Development through ANSI Process

In its new generation of woodwork standards, the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) is writing new standards for architectural woodwork different from previous versions. The standards will be written over the next three years in individual sections creating a “Suite of Standards” that address each aspect of architectural woodwork.

AWI Standards Editor Margaret Fisher stated that while the Architectural Woodwork Standards, Edition 2 (2014) remains the current woodwork standard in use today, eight of those new Standard Sections are underway now. “The new standards will be organized and developed by individual products such as casework, countertops, paneling, etc. and all the product specific atandards will have links that take the users to helpful information that design professionals can use to ease of planning. Those standards include Submittals, Care and Storage, Materials, Finishing and a Glossary of woodwork terms.

As the standards are being developed primarily for electronic tablet formats, the glossary of words and illustrations of woodwork details will also be found via links.  “Most of he 14 different sections will be compiled through AWI’s ANSI-approved process and timeline. The ANSI process is an open and transparent system of writing and reviewing through a more collegial exchange. AWI welcomes the input of design professionals and specifiers to participate in Subject Expert Review Teams (SERT) and Canvass Teams (CT) for each section being written.”

Other significant changes standards users can look forward to in the future are as follows:  The numeric designation system of the two previous standards is being retired. Additionally, new Performance Duty Levels will be added to help specifiers choose the correct cabinet type for each specific application from the established casework Performance Levels. Those will be defined in the new 06400 Standard scheduled for development in 2017 and 2018. Building owners can be confident they have chosen casework at the correct cost value and appropriate performance level required.

While AWI is changing the architectural woodwork industry, the organization is still providing technical assistance for the users of the current AWS, Edition 2. Technical help is available at 229-389-2543. Contact Ashley Goodin for assistance and for information on participating in the standards review process.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Margaret Fisher at 571-926-5522 or e-mail at

The Architectural Woodwork Institute has produced and collaborated on the development of Standards in accordance with its mission from its founding in 1953 to the present day. 

Founded in 1918, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. 

QCP Participates in CSI—SCIP Panel Prior to Exhibiting at Construct 2017

The Quality Certification Program shared a booth with the Architectural Woodwork Institute and exhibited at the Construct 2017 Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) trade show held at the Providence, Rhode Island Convention Center in September.  QCC Executive Director Randy Estabrook and Operations Director Tricia Roberts manned the QCP booth, along with AWI’s Standards Editor Margaret Fisher.  Nothing beats the opportunity this show provides to have face-to-face interactions with specifiers from top architectural firms as well as consultants from the commercial building industry.  The booth had steady traffic and we were able to meet with many CSI specifiers who regularly use QCP.

Pictured above Quality Certification Corporation Executive Director Randy Estabrook and Operations Manager Tricia Roberts get ready for opening day at CONSTRUCT in Providence, RI.

Prior to CONSTRUCT, QCP participated in the SCIP (Specification Consultants in Independent Practice) meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Providence Rhode Island. Each SCIP member maintains an office with an extensive reference library and is primarily engaged in the practice of specification consulting. Membership includes about 180 full time independent consultants in practice from coast to coast and beyond. SCIP members subscribe to a Standard Code of Practice.

SCIP welcomes specifiers who are in-house specialist employees of firms providing a broader range of professional design services to join as Affiliate Members. Although they are not responsible for managing their own firms, they encounter many of the same specifications services issues as Independent Members.

Get Help! Find Answers!

Need help with Project Registration, Inspection? 

Confused about licensing?  Seeking answers to challenging aspects of the Architectural Woodwork Standards?  Turn to QCP Resources to enhance your project participation in the Quality Certification Program.

  • QCP Staff can answer a myriad of questions about certification of projects, interpretations of the Architectural Woodwork Standards, and more.
  • AWI “QCP Talk” webinars focus on a variety of topics.
  •  AWS Errata