How to Find & Navigate the AWS

How to Find & Navigate the AWS

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Understand where to find the Architectural Woodwork Standards now the new AWI Standards have been released

The new AWI Standards offer a performance-based system for woodworkers and design professionals. However, these new standards have raised questions about the original Architectural Woodwork Standards and where to find them. 

In this article, we explore what the new AWI Standards are and how they’re different, whether you can still specify AWS Edition 2, and how you can find and navigate the AWS using the AWI Digital Store


What Are the New AWI Standards?

Between 2019 and 2020, the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) released five new Standards that supplant specific sections of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS). Known as the AWI Standards, they include:

  • AWI 100 – Submittals: This covers cabinet shop drawings and explains how the newly introduced duty levels work
  • AWI 200 – Care & Storage: This covers how interior woodwork should be cared for and stored
  • AWI 300 – Materials: This combines sections three and four of the AWS requirements for lumbar and sheet products
  • ANSI/AWI 0620 – Finish Carpentry Installation: This supplants the installation criteria in AWS sections six through 12
  • ANSI/AWI 0641 – Architectural Wood Casework Standard: This is the AWI version of AWS Section 10 for Casework, encompassing a range of casework architecture


The AWI Standards are the most current architectural woodwork standards manual for complying with best industry practices. While this may sound confusing, the changes between the new AWI Standard and edition two of the AWS may seem significant, the goals are the same. The new AWI Standards just provide more options to meet the goal, so if you’re already in compliance with the latter, not a lot will change for you. 

That said, there are some key differences between the two standards in terms of what they prioritize and how flexible they are for woodworkers.


AWI-QCP Wood Veneer Guide


How Are the AWI Standards Different From the AWS?

The priority of the new AWI Standards is to provide a performance-based system, rather than a prescriptive set of rules, which can limit woodworkers and architects alike. Prescriptive methods also limit opportunities for innovation. For example, instead of specifying exactly how a piece of architectural woodwork should be constructed, the new standards allow woodworkers to build however they like, and then have the final product tested against one of four performance duty levels

This formalized approach to testing gives woodworkers the flexibility they need (and deserve) to create something in a way that allows them to maximize their productivity while giving design professionals and architects assurance that the product will function safely and properly. 

If you’d like to know more about how the new Standards work and why they were changed, you can refer to this post or check out this podcast, where AWI’s Executive Director for QCP speaks with the Executive Vice President of AWS about the new Standards. 


Can You Still Specify AWS in Your Documents?

Yes – AWS Edition 2 can still be specified in documents, which will mean that the new AWI Standards won’t be applicable. Even if the new Standards are specified, they are not comprehensive, so any AWS Edition 2 sections that have yet to be revised will still be in effect regardless of what has been specified. 


How to Find the Architectural Woodwork Standards

You can find the second edition of the Architectural Woodwork Standards manual by visiting our Digital Portal and scrolling down a little. Please note that the downloadable version is not meant to substitute a printed copy of the Standards.

You can also use AWI’s Digital Portal to navigate the different sections of the new AWI Standards and understand the testing requirements. You can also use the interactive website to quickly and easily access all AWI resources, bookmark your most frequent Standard reference, or mark any obscure areas you need clarifying.

Since our Standards are hosted on our website, they can be accessed for free by anyone at any time. This also allows us to ensure that the most current and up-to-date information is always available.

AWI-QCP - Feature your QCP Project with Us

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