In our latest podcast, Greg Parham, Executive Director for AWI’s Quality Control Program (QCP), speaks with Roxanne Accetta, QCC Coordinator, to address some of the misinformation surrounding the QCP fee structure.
Continue reading to learn what QCP project fees actually entail as we put rumors to bed and explain exactly how QCP project certification will benefit you.
What Are Some Common Misconceptions About QCP Fees?
Roxanne Accetta is usually your first point of contact when you approach QCP. She’s an expert at guiding woodworking firms towards earning their QCP license, and contractors towards project certification.
In all of her discussions about the Quality Certification Program, Roxanne has heard a lot of misinformation being spread around, so we wanted to know what she thought was the top thing people needed to know about.
Roxanne: “I would say one of the biggest pieces of information that people are misinformed about is the fee structure for the program. A lot of people I speak with mention that they’ve heard how astronomical the fees are. But once I break down what they actually end up paying to become licensed or certified, it’s always substantially less than what they thought it was going to be.”
So what were some of these “astronomical” figures that Roxanne was hearing?
“There’s this rumor going around that you may have to pay $20,000 to become licensed and certify a project. In actuality, our fees are capped for project certification, so the most that anybody will pay, no matter the project value, is $10,000 – but the average is quite a lot less.”
What is the Real Project Certification Fee Structure?
The QCP project certification fee is one half percent of the woodwork contract, or $500, whichever is greater. Label fees are also capped at $10,000, so you’ll never pay more than this.
With that in mind, depending on the size of your project, QCP project certification costs anywhere between $500-$10,000 – far under the $20,000 rumor that Roxanne mentioned! Even in the case of a $1 million project, the fee would still only be one half percent ($5,000).
Explaining Application Fees
After clearing the air around project certification fees, Greg goes on to ask Roxanne about other stories she’s heard regarding QCP costs, which brings us to another point of clarification: application fees.
Roxanne says, “The initial application fee can get a little confusing. The difference between AWI manufacturing membership fees and non-membership fees comes up quite a bit.”
Here’s a brief breakdown of license application fees for members and non-members:
- AWI manufacturing member: License application costs $2,000
- Non-members: License application costs $3,500
What’s Included in Project Fees?
Another common misconception that both Greg and Roxanne have heard about QCP costs is that people have to pay inspection fees on top of the project fees, and as Greg puts it, “that’s really not the case.”
As Greg goes on to explain, “The project fee covers a shop drawing review as well as an inspection of the fabrication and installation. If you were to drop the requirement for a speculator because of a concern, the cost of an inspection down the line would be a minimum of $4,000, so it really doesn’t make a lot of sense to drop it.”
Roxanne agrees that a lot of people don’t realize that an inspection is included in the initial project fee, adding, “A lot of people are actually pretty relieved once they find out those fees are all essentially bundled, and they don’t have to pay extra!”
Cost vs. Quality: Why is it Important to Get a Project QCP Certified?
Another myth Greg and Roxanne dispel on the podcast is the idea that it’s more cost-effective for woodworkers to give discounts to clients in order to eliminate the QCP requirement, while still building to the AWI Standards.
“It always makes me wonder what they’re really giving up,” Greg says. “If you’re still building to the Standards, why wouldn’t you want to be inspected?”
In reality, QCP project fees are substantially less than what you would be giving up for a contract that has been discounted in lieu of QCP certification. The assurance that you’ll get from earning that verification of compliance is priceless, and benefits everyone working on the project in a number of ways:
- It’s cost-effective, giving you an internationally recognized stamp of approval while helping you avoid expensive remedial work further down the line
- It reduces risk and liability because any non-conformities with the AWI Standards are the woodworker’s responsibility to fix, not the contractor’s, architect’s, or client’s
- It saves time, as all woodworkers that can undertake QCP certified projects have been pre-vetted to ensure they can deliver a high quality of work
- It ensures quality control, using an experienced third party from QCP to inspect the project and verify whether it has met best industry practices
With all of these benefits in mind, it really makes you wonder what is being sacrificed when a woodworking firm offers contract discounts to eliminate QCP inspection. As Greg puts it, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Roxanne echoes this, saying, “If you’re still building to industry standards, but you don’t want QCP involved, then what is the client not getting? If you’re building to the specified standards regardless, why would you not want to be inspected?”
What you’re really giving up is the verification that your millwork was fabricated and installed based on leading industry standards. When your project is QCP-certified, it will be inspected by a vetted, experienced, and trained woodworking professional who ensures it meets the highest quality standards in the industry.
Greg says, “We can’t expect that construction professionals, like architects, designers, and general contractors, will know what to look for in order to ensure that a project complies with the Standards. By having an inspector review the project, you’re getting that verification that the specifications are being met. This provides assurance that your project meets the desired quality standards.”
At the end of the day, the value that QCP certification brings to a project far outweighs the costs, which, regardless of this fact, are far smaller than you might think.