AWI Quality Review for 10/22/2019

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Of Note

  • ANSI Canvass Process Open for Draft Architectural Wood Casework Standard
    Review the upcoming AWI 0641 – Architectural Wood Casework Standard and plan to comment by Nov. 4, 2019.  Follow the links provided below.
  • Navigating through New AWI Standards
    The new AWI Standards require a siginficantly different road map, in some ways more complex, to navigate.  Find out how in the Architect Talk section below.

Comments Invited on AWI Draft Casework Standard

In conjunction of the ANSI canvass process for the accreditation of the upcoming AWI 0641 – Architectural Wood Casework Standard, the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) Standards Development Team has released the draft document for public comment.  Interested parties are invited to submit comments by Nov. 4, 2019.

Changes to the standard draft implemented in response to feedback obtained during the previous public comment period include the following:

  • Expanded options for panel products
  • Changes to permissions for hardboard in premium-grade dividers
  • Changes to veneer grade requirements for transparent-finished semi-exposed surfaces
  • Altered language regarding performance requirements for decorative laminate used at exposed exterior surfaces of casework

Each of these changes to the draft standard have been thoroughly discussed by the AWI Technical Committee and staff and have been implemented in response to feedback from architectural woodwork industry professionals.

The draft standard and Public Comment Response Form are available for download at who would like to provide feedback regarding the draft standard may do so via the Public Comment Response Form. Commentary submissions received through avenues other than the Public Comment Response Form will not be considered by the AWI Technical Committee.

The public comment period is scheduled to conclude on Nov. 4, 2019.

The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) 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.

AWI & SMA Collaborate on Stair Standard

In collaboration with the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association (SMA), the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) Standards Development Team has been making steady progress on the upcoming AWI/SMA 0643 – Wood-Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems Standard.

Similar to other standards that AWI has been in the process of developing over the past two years, the AWI/SMA 0643 – Wood-Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems Standard differentiates between structural and aesthetic requirements for stair systems, ensuring that industry professionals have the ability to tailor the product to their specific needs. In contrast to other standards recently developed by AWI, the proposed AWI/SMA 0643 – Wood-Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems Standard will include a separate Installation section, to be used by stair system installers in the field.

Regarding the development of the standard, Terra Erb, Executive Director of the SMA stated, “The SMA is thrilled to be joining forces with AWI to create a standard for stairs, handrails and guards that aims to provide clarity across the spectrum. The proposed standard will aid in ensuring all involved in the stair design process, from planning to execution, are aware of the standard for stair creation. This clarity will allow for streamlined processes and increased customer satisfaction as all design members work from the same standard.”

Doug Adams, chair of the SMA Quality Standards Committee, also commented on the upcoming standard, stating, “With the competitive nature of the stair industry it is more important than ever that our bids are accurate and correct. The new standard will level the playing field and ensure that the bid specifications on materials and joinery are equal.”

The proposed standard is expected to begin the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adoption process this fall.

The Stairway Manufacturers’ Association was formed in 1988 to insure the growth and prosperity of the group’s industry and craft. In 2014 the name of the association was changed to the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association to more clearly reflect its constituency of more than 70% professional stairbuilding companies from the smallest one-man shops to those among the largest in the industry. SMA’s Mission is: Building the greatest resource of knowledge and tools contributing to the success of our members and the stair industry.

Specification Alert: Incremental Release of New AWI Standards Is Underway

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.  

As a design professional, you may be aware that the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) has been engaged in developing a series of new standards, most of which are being created under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  Named simply “AWI Standards,” four of its eleven sections were released for industry use on March 15, 2019.  These include AWI 100 — Submittals; AWI 200 — Care and Storage; AWI 300 — Materials; and ANSI/AWI 0620-2018 — Finish Carpentry/Installation.  Those four sections of the new standards replaced corresponding sections in the Architectural Woodwork Standards, Edition 2 (AWS2), AWI’s previous standard since 2014. The balance of AWS2 sections that are “still standing” will remain in force until they too are “phased out” as additional sections from the new AWI Standards are released.  (Note: For projects bid prior to 03/15/19 which call for “current AWI Standards,” the entirety of AWS2 applies.)

Navigation Curve

Users of the new standard will find that the “road map” required for its successful navigation is significantly different, and in some ways more complex than that employed for previous standards, with the new format being much less “self-contained.”  With minor exception, users of previous standards could find within “the book” every line item and requirement necessary to, specify, fabricate, finish, and install products that conformed to AWI rules.  Whenever other specific industry standards were adapted for use by AWI, the relevant portions of those “outside” standards would usually be partially or fully re-printed in the AWI Standard itself.  It was therefore generally not necessary to own or have access to the external standard from which AWI was borrowing.

That is not always the case with the new AWI Standards (at least the sections released to date).  One of the best examples of this is the manner in which AWI 300 — Materials treats information found in the Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association’s (HPVA) HP-1 Standard.  Previously, in AWS2 Section 4 (Sheet Products), seven pages of HPVA’s “Allowable Wood Veneer Face Grade Characteristics” are fully reproduced, and another five pages of similar HPVA material is printed in AWS2 Section 9 (Doors).  By contrast, the AWI Standards do not reprint that material in its Section 300, and line item 3.3.1.a instead directs the user to a chart listing eight outside “reference standards,” including ANSI/HPVA HP-1.  The eight standards are published by organizations which deal with everything from veneer to HPDL to hardboard.  The chart’s introduction states:

  • “The standards referenced below, adopted for the performance, fabrication, and appearance of face veneers, laminates, overlays, backers, and cores, serve as the [AWI Standard’s] basis for evaluation of natural characteristics, defects, and other properties.”  

    Based on that information, it is then up to the AWI Standard’s user to find and access any of these “outside” standards which may be relevant to the particular product under consideration.

Multi-polar Conformity

The content of the currently released ANSI/AWI 0620-2018 — Finish Carpentry/Installation is another indication that the AWI Standard is no longer a wholly self-contained collection of rules, but instead uses a “multi-polar” organization of conformance requirements.  The first requirement presented in ANSI/AWI 0620-2018 is 3.1.b:

  • “Installer shall obtain, review, and comply with manufacturer/supplier’s documented instructions for installation. Product shall be securely attached. Contract documents regarding installation method(s) shall supersede manufacturer/supplier’s directive unless design professional’s approval to deviate is provided in writing.”

Such manufacturer’s instructions could be fairly characterized as “Specifications Light,” since they supersede any conflicting line items in ANSI-AWI 0620-2018, but do not prevail over any conflicting installation specification from the designer.  Thus, for any project where the new standard is specified, the architect may consider it necessary to determine whether installation instructions have been issued by the woodwork fabricator, and if so, to review them for comment, like shop drawings and other submittals are reviewed.  Any installation requirements not issued by either the manufacturer or the architect must be found by the installer in ANSI/AWI 0620-2018.  Whereas AWS2 provided installation standards in each product section separately, 0620-2018 covers installation for all product categories.  

Casework Considerations

If the product to be installed is casework, there is an additional consideration.  As with installation of other products covered by the new standard, casework installation is subject to the general requirement that the installer obtain installation instructions from the manufacturer.  However, if casework installation instructions (in particular) are not provided to the installer, then the installer is subject to an additional requirement per 3.3.1.a:

  • “If the manufacturer/supplier does not provide such documented instructions for installation or if such instructions are not applicable to a particular job, installer shall refer to the AWI Casework Installation Guidelines – (available for download at and follow the installation method set forth in those guidelines. Installer shall not install a manufacturer/supplier’s casework in any manner prohibited by the manufacturer in its instructions.” (Editor’s Note: The specific “Installation Guideline” currently available at the link is “Installation Guidelines, Anchorage”.) Again, specifications prevail if in conflict with manufacturer-issued installation instructions, or standards-related line-items or related documents.

Authoritative Documents

Many readers may be familiar with the standard QCP project inspection report.  For any particular aspect of a product, the determination of conformance up to this point would be based on either the specifications, or the standard (in the absence of a specification).  In either case, the line item supporting the conformance determination would appear in the report.  For projects bid after 03/15/2019, and during the period of partial release of AWI Standards, the number of standards or documents that might be the cited authority for conformance has multiplied, and include:

  • Architect’s specifications
  • Sections of Architectural Woodwork Standards, Edition 2 not yet replaced by AWI Standards
  • Any released section of the new AWI Standards
  • The manufacturer’s installation instructions
  • The “Installation Guidelines, Anchorage” download for casework (see preceding paragraph)
  • Any one of the eight “outside” standards (see paragraph 2 above)
  • Other contract documents, such as architect-ratified change orders or RFIs
  • Documents pertaining to successful product performance testing (a focus of the AWI Standards)

The new standards are owned by AWI, and is an authoritative source for additional information regarding their ongoing development, opportunities for standards input from stakeholders, product testing, and AWI technical assistance.

Specifiers & Product Selection Influencers Learn about QCP

QCP attended the Construction Specifications Institute Master Specifiers Retreat on June 19-21 in Chicago, IL, to meet senior specifiers and product selection influencers from across the country to focus on education, group networking, and one-on-one conversations. Accordingly, it is an excellent venue for education about the Quality Certification Program.  |

Tricia Roberts met with over a dozen specifiers to discuss the benefits of QCP and how to assure their QCP requirements are enforced.  The Master Specifiers Retreat provided another opportunity to reconnect with specifier’s that currently use the QCP Spec language as well as build new relationships with an audience of new specifiers.  Highlighting the benefits of delivering consistent millwork that meet Architectural Woodwork Standards with the simplicity of registering a project (prior to the bid date) the time invested was well spent.

(Above) QCC Sr. Director of Operations Tricia Roberts (r) and Kim Thompson with CSI at the Master Specifiers Retreat hosted by the Construction Specifications Institute, June 19-21.

To register a project, click here

To search for current QCP Licensees, click here.

One-to-One Informative Meetings with Professional Designers

QCP participated in the Arc/Interiors BOND Meeting Forum on Sept. 19 – 22 in Miami, FL where 30-minute one-to-one meetings allowed for connection directly with professional designers.  The event offered a worthwhile opportunity to reinforce QCPs message of delivering compliance consistency and quality to each project’s interior millwork package. QCC Sr. Director of Operations Tricia Roberts met with over 14 attendees explaining the benefits of QCP and how to make sure their project specifications are enforced. 

The BOND event assembles influential principals and heads of design firms from leading A&D firms to facilitate networking, education and ultimately the delivery of quality projects.  Participants were able to connect directly with designers from companies such as HOK, HBA, Perkins & Will and Cannon Design.  The one-on-one format of the Arc/Interiors BOND Meeting Forum was an excellent venue for substantive education about the Quality Certification Program.

QCP Visits Esteemed Kauffman Center for Video Session

On a Monday morning in early October around 8:00 am the QCP marketing team started arriving at the famous Kauffman Center in Kansas City, MO.  The Kauffman Center is a performing arts venue downtown at 16th and Broadway, near the Power & Light District, the Sprint Center and the Crossroads Arts District, and Its construction was a major part of the ongoing redevelopment of downtown Kansas City.

The team of Brandee Johnson, Tara Grassie and Kelsey Seifert of Limelight Marketing along with their film crew arrived first to set up. Next, Grant Golightly, Project Architect with Design West Architects; QCC Chair Zach Deas, President of Deas Millwork in Alabama; and I joined the Limelight team.

The reason for meeting in Kansas City? Limelight Marketing had pulled this event together to record video from three different perspectives about QCP: the architect, the woodworker and the Quality Certification Program.  Why the Kauffman Center?  The picture on the cover of the Architectural Woodwork Standards, Edition 2 is from, you guessed it, the Kauffman Center.

Outreach Strategy

The strategy is to expand QCP’s outreach and address awareness by including video in multiple messages on all current QCP media channels, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, not to mention possible native articles and targeted outreach.

Tour of C.S. Humphrey

After visiting the Kauffman Center the team travelled to the C.S. Humphrey & Company, LLC’s architectural woodwork manufacturing plant (a QCP Licensee) just outside of town. Curt Humphrey, executive vice president, along with Scott Humphrey, project manager, provided a warm welcome and a thorough tour of their impressive facility. The Limelight film crew shot background footage that will add to the composition and context of architectural woodwork, QCP and commercial architecture.

It was a long and dedicated day, and I for one, can’t wait to see some of the final product. Stay tuned and visit us on all our social channels to see what the Limelight team comes up with.

Designing Stairs in Latest QCP Blog: Learn More

Selected Quality Certification Program Blogs provide learning opportunities for architects, design professionals, specifiers and general contractors that are directly relevant to architectural woodwork elements of projects either in the pipeline or coming up.  Stay informed through the Blogs, Quality Review, and QCP Social Media.

Check out the most recent QCP Blog on Wooden Staircases and review other pertinent blogs that may be relevant to your upcoming projects that include architectural woodwork.

Recent Blog Topic: “An Overview of Wooden Staircases for Design Professionals”

Other Sample Blogs of Interest to Quality Review Readers:

“How the Architectural Woodwork Standards Benefit General Contractors”

“What Type of Wood Is Best for Your Architectural Woodwork Project?”

To access other topics, go to  If you are not receiving QCP Blogs, sign up for complimentary news blasts at (at the bottom of the home page).

Upcoming QCP Events

Take full advantage of interior architectural woodwork industry experts and stop by our booth at any of the upcoming events in 2020.

Where We’ll Be…

CSI Master Specifiers Retreat
Jan. 29-31, 2020
The Langham Huntington Pasadena
Pasadena,  CA

Follow Us…

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:

  • Facebook:ArchitecturalWoodwork Institute-QCP

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.