AWI Quality Times for 12/11/2018

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Of Note

  • Keep Your QCP License Current
    Renew online at by Dec. 31.  Maintain your QCP License and your competitive advantage!
  • Social Media: Avenue to Outreach
    QCP is reaching out to your customers, promoting fine architectural woodwork for their projects.
  • Happy Holidays!
    From the QCC Board of Directors and Staff best wishes for a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year!

2019 Renewal Deadline Is December 31st

As you know, woodworking bids for topline architectural projects have become very competitive. Licensing from QCP provides assurance of a higher quality product and greater confidence in your work. Maintaining your certification is the best way to keep your competitive advantage as new players enter the field.


We appreciate your business and look forward to continuing our partnership, ensuring clients receive the highest quality interior architectural woodwork in the industry.

Please find valuable information on how to renew your license with QCP and continue your efforts as a valued member.  To remit payment, go to and click on “Annual License Renewal at the top right corner of that home page.  Login using your “User Name” and “Password” to begin the renewal payment process.

Renew by December 31st to receive the discounted renewal rate.  Keep your license current!


  • Renewal Deadline: 12/31/2018
  • $300 Late Fee Renewal Charges Begin: 1/1/2019
  • Withdrawal of License: 12/31/2019 (if not renewed)

AWI Convention Roundtable on “Standards”

In October at the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) Annual Convention I participated in a roundtable discussion and audience Q&A session on the new ANSI-approved AWI Standard to provide a perspective from both QCP and as a member of the AWI Technical Committee working to develop the new AWI Standards.

I was joined on stage by Mike Coticchio of Cain Millwork, Ashley Goodin, AWI Technical Director and staff lead spearheading the new ANSI standards development, and Julia Hall, Senior Associate and Specifications Writer for the architectural firm LS3P.

The big news during the convention was the announcement of the completion and ANSI approval of the first new standard: ANSI/AWI 0620 – Finish Carpentry Installation.

The roundtable discussion offered different views of how the new standards and the testing offered by the AWI National Testing Center would impact the industry.

Mike Coticchio’s firm answered an early call from AWI for materials to perform preliminary testing and was invited to view testing on a couple of their cabinets. His take-away was that the testing would add credibility to the Standards and it revealed opportunities for his firm to adjust their construction for potential savings.

Julia Hall with LS3P, indicated that while they have always relied on AWI and the Architectural Woodwork Standardsas the authority for architectural woodwork, the testing and the ANSI process provides additional credibility and confidence. The Quality Certification Program is also important for providing the verification and confidence in the field, according to Julia. 

Ashley Goodin outlined the testing process and highlighted some of the results, emphasizing the increased credibility offered through testing.

As for my view, I agree with all three of my colleagues. The testing definitely provides additional credibility to the standards, and it also provides a simpler process for the introduction and integration of the evolving joinery technology we are seeing in today’s marketplace.

I do want to clarify one issue, regarding testing. In the current Architectural Woodwork Standards, Edition 2 (2014), if you want to construct your cabinets in a manner different from what is outlined in the standard, you can do so provided you have it independently tested using the guidelines in the appendix.

In the new standards, AWI has only tested the current methods of construction outlined in the current AWS standards. To conform to the new AWI Standards when they become effective, a firm will have to build their cabinets to one of the tested construction methods or have their method of construction tested.  So that aspect of the standards and conformance will not really change, though the testing methods are different for the new AWI Standards.   

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 Honors QCC’s Greg Parham

For his contribution of expertise, time and effort working with the AWI Technical Committee on developing the next generation of AWI Standards, QCC’s Director of Inspections Greg Parham was among multiple honorees recognized by AWI President Bruce Spitz in October.

The recognition came in the form of the AWI President’s Award conferred on all members and Staff of the AWI Technical Committee during the 66th AWI Annual Convention.

“In 2018 alone, the Technical Committee has had six face-to-face meetings, they have met via video conference call 24 times, and each committee member has spent 144 hours working together on these standards,” Bruce said. “This group is detail oriented and committed to AWI and our industry as a whole. The enormous amount of collective brain power and dedication to put this new generation of woodwork standards together is truly commendable.”

This is the first year an AWI president recognized multiple recipients with the award for their contributions to AWI and the architectural woodwork industry.

AWI QCC Social Media Ratchets Up

Social media…burgeoning communications… But who among our licensees and customers and other stakeholders uses what medium?  QCP found out, and is using that information to engage with architects, design professionals and general contractors on your behalf.

QCP started to embrace social media in the Q4 2017 by developing profiles on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

The initial concept was quite simple, celebrate great woodwork and great woodworkers. I have to admit I borrowed the idea from a well watched video of Steve Jobs talking about marketing. In the video, Jobs says that there is so much media traffic that we all have such a small opportunity to grab a sliver of the din we are all engaged with. Jobs highlighted how Nike never talked about or made comparisons about their products, they simply celebrated great athletics and great athletes. It seemed like a good idea.

In May 2018, QCP engaged LimeLight Marketing which took our whole marketing initiative to the next level. By conducting surveys, focus groups and interviews, LimeLight developed personas for QCP’s key user groups: architects, woodworkers and general contractors. LimeLight then developed messaging focused on these personas combined with key word searches from Google and other search engines. These efforts are then combined with a website redesign added to management and coordination of all content across all channels including website, email, direct mail, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

One of the realities I was surprised to learn is which channels each group is engaged with. As it turns out, architects are the most engaged group on social media.  General contractors and woodworks have been slow to adopt these vehicles as part of their marketing strategies. Early signs show that QCP will be able to address the age old challenges of awareness, education and program benefits much more effectively than with past initiatives. Please stay tuned as QCP continues to expand.

Astaire & Rogers, Lennon & McCartney, Tom & Jerry…

…Simon & Garfunkel, Sam & Dave, Lucy & Ricky, Peanut Butter & Jelly.  And of course, Project Specifications and the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS).

Indeed. Like every great duo, the architect’s Project Specifications and the AWS should perform together seamlessly to produce a beautiful result.  Like Yin and Yang, they sometimes appear to be opposing forces, but are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent.

From time to time, a QCP inspector will receive a call from a frustrated woodworker seeking advice regarding what the heck he is supposed to do when specifications require a particular product detail, but the Standards require something quite different.  The circular logic that causes this dilemma is usually something like, “The specifications tell us we must use the Standard, which requires “A”.  But then, the specifications turn around and tell us to do “B” instead. If we do “A”, we violate the specification’s requirement for that product detail.  If we do “B”, we violate the specification’s requirement that our work conform to the Standard.”

This conundrum is of course easily dispensed with, once the individual becomes aware of complimentary language in both the AWS and typical specifications, which is designed to prevent any such adversarial relationship between those two documents.

In the AWS, immediately before the “Basic Rules” for both “Product” and “Installation” in Sections 5 through 12, this line item appears: “The following rules shall govern unless a project’s contract documents [specifications, etc.] require otherwise” (emphasis added). 

On the other hand, an “Architectural Wood Cabinet” specification (for example) typically states: “Unless otherwise indicated [in these specifications], comply with the “Architectural Woodwork Standards” for grades of architectural wood cabinets indicated for construction, finishes, installation, and other requirements (emphasis added).”

These statements each identify the Specification as the top banana of this duo.  A detail or requirement mandated by the specification always takes precedence and prevails over what the AWS offers as a standard for that same aspect of product, finishing, or installation.

There are instances where a specification requirement superseding an AWS rule is a simple, cut-and-dried affair. For example, we occasionally see projects in which the grain direction of transparent finish wood decorative wall panels is specified to be horizontal, rather than the vertical orientation required by the AWS (

However, things can get more interesting when a specification which varies from AWS requirements has multiple elements, and perhaps some ambiguity or incomplete information. That’s when the Standard can fill in some blanks, and perhaps point to some questions which must be asked in order to ensure that the product and installation provided will match the design intent of the architect and expectations of the project owner.

For example, a recent Custom Grade project included these requirements in its specifications:


C. Shop Drawings:

4. Show veneer leaves with dimensions, grain direction, exposed face, and identification numbers indicating the flitch and sequence within the flitch for each leaf.


 F. Wood Veneer for Exposed Surfaces:

1. Species:  American Cherry
2. Cut: Quarter sawn.
3. Matching of [adjacent] Veneer Leaves: Slip match.
4. Veneer Matching within Panel Face: Balance match.


 F. Cabinets

2. Maintain veneer sequence matching of cabinets with transparent finish.

Several AWS requirements were changed by this specification: The veneer cut is Quarter Sawn rather than Plain Sliced; adjacent leaves are slip match rather than book matched; veneer within a panel face is balance match rather than running match. So far so good. But some head scratching commences when we begin to analyze sequencing requirements.  This specification requires shop drawings to show each individual veneer leaf and its position and number in the sequence of leaves from an individual flitch. Despite this very complex drawing requirement, there is no specification which tells us the extent of sequencing envisioned by the architect.  Does the sequence extend to an entire room, area, elevation, individual cabinet, entire project?  The installation specification shown above implies that veneer is sequenced over at least two cabinets, but that number could just as well be higher.  The language is ambiguous, and there is no clear information concerning the extent of sequencing expected.  In the absence of that information, we turn to the Standard.

The project is specified to be Custom Grade.  AWS Illustration (page 300) shows required veneer matching for two Custom Grade cabinets connected to form a small elevation.  There is no horizontal (i.e. sequence) matching required across the face of even an individual Custom Grade cabinet.  Only continuous vertical matching is required.  Therefore, knowing that the project is Custom Grade doesn’t really impart any information regarding the possible extent of sequencing intended, since no sequencing is required for Custom Grade.

The conclusion in this example is that the only way to determine with certainty the architect’s intent regarding sequencing is to send him or her a Request for Information (RFI).

There are other similar ambiguities in this particular specification which would be interesting to explore, and maybe we’ll do that down the road.  Meanwhile, enjoy the Yin and Yang, and perfect harmony of your next project specification and the Architectural Woodwork Standards.

Architect Lives by Standards

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 CSI event this fall.

QCP spoke with Ken Hercenberg of ZGF Architects LLP.

Associate Partner and Construction Specifier for ZGF Ken Hercenberg told QCP 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. 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.

QCP Networks with Specifiers at Annual CSI Show

Within the construction industry specifiers are among the players with whom the Quality Certification Program engages on architectural woodwork projects. QCP attends specifier trade shows and conferences to build greater awareness of QCP and forge better relationships with them on behalf of our licensees.

On October 3-5, QCP representatives attended CONSTRUCT, a national trade show and educational conference for commercial building teams. CONSTRUCT connects thousands of industry leaders, fostering effective communication that in turn helps ensure building success. They also serve as the official trade show of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).

Pictured above: AWI’s Margaret Fisher (left) and QCC’s Roxanne Accetta chat with CSI Fellow Alan Itzkowitz, a SCIP member and Chicago CSI Chapter member.

CONSTRUCT provides an opportunity to engage with people who are influencers within the interior built environment and is perhaps QCP’s most valuable annual event. This year we participated as both a sponsor and exhibitor, distributing Architectural Woodwork Standards, Edition 2 (2014) flash drives and complimentary AWI Affiliate Memberships. Our booth, staffed by Roxanne Accetta, Margaret Fisher, and Tricia Roberts, experienced consistently steady traffic throughout the show.

CONSTRUCT 2018 was held at the Long Beach, California Convention Center. The conference finale was held Friday evening with a “CSI Night Out” reception on the historic Queen Mary.

Learn More About QCP at Events & on Social Media

The Quality Certification Program will be represented at the following industry events in 2019:

Master Specifiers Retreat
January 31 – February 3
Loews Coronado Bay Resort
Coronado, CA

AWI Spring Leadership Conference
March 31 – April 2
Bourbon Orleans Hotel
New Orleans, LA

A’19 AIA Conference on Architecture
June 6 – 8
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV

Master Specifiers Retreat
June 19 – 21
Swissotel Chicago
Chicago, IL

Arc Interiors
September 19 – 22
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Miami Beach, FL

67th AWI Annual Convention
October 6 – 8
Providence, RI

Construct 2019 & SCIP
October 9 – 11
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
National Harbor, MD

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

  • Facebook: Architectural Woodwork Institute- QCP

Get Help, Find Answers

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