How to Get Top-Quality Woodwork When You Outsource

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Some architects prefer to keep specification writing in-house. But when you have a pressing workload or need an outside perspective on a complex project, you might choose to hire an independent spec writer. This can be an excellent way to add additional value to your project, and go above and beyond your client’s expectations.

While an architect needs to fulfill many roles, the niche expertise of an independent spec writer helps you deliver exceptional project documents and resolve ongoing problems. They’re flexible and efficient, completing every aspect of your specs from sketching to final drafts in a short time at a reasonable price. This means you can take on more projects at once for greater profits, even when trying to limit employee overheads.

But when you hire an independent spec writer, it’s important to recognize that your language, terminology, and expectations might not be the same. If left unchecked, this misaligned communication can lead to issues later on in the project, which can cause delays or even upset your clients.

So, to make sure you get top quality woodwork even when you outsource, it’s vital to use a common, unambiguous reference that all stakeholders fully understand. And one of the best ways to incorporate a universal language into your project is to have it certified by the Architectural Woodwork Institute Quality Certification Program (AWI-QCP).

How does QCP lead to quality woodwork?

In brief, QCP is a way for interior architectural woodworkers to earn licenses that confirm their industry-leading knowledge and skill in particular areas of their craft. But it’s not just woodworkers who benefit from the program. It also has further effects that enhance many different professions in the construction industry.

To ensure a project can only be bid for by those with a QCP license, the specifier can have it QCP certified. This involves using prescribed QCP language in the project documents, and registering the project with AWI-QCP. Then, whichever woodworker is awarded the bid knows their products need to meet AWI Standards and conform to the indicated materials and grade for aesthetics.

Since QCP uses consistent language and references for each aspect of an interior architectural woodworking project, it removes the ambiguity from planning and discussion. That means you can be sure your specifications call for top quality woodwork, and that you’re not wasting time overseeing your spec writer’s work. 

How to ensure QCP certification when you outsource your specifications

Before hiring an independent spec writer, it’s important to make sure they understand how to specify QCP. This includes using QCP language in the project documents, and specifying the necessary labels. If your interior architectural woodwork is incorrectly specified, you might not be able to certify your project for QCP.

The quickest and easiest way to confirm a spec writer’s confidence in specifying QCP is to speak with them personally. Meet with them or arrange a video call to discuss their experience with QCP, as well as the client’s quality expectations.

You should also establish whether you want to have the project inspected by QCP, or if the client is happy for the licensed firm to self-certify. If you choose the former, this must be included in your specifications. So, you’ll need to make the outsourced specifier aware that this is their responsibility.

If you have a QCP project number, give this to your spec writer so they can add it into the project documents. This allows all stakeholders – including your firm and QCP – to track the status of the project, ensuring a swift kick off and smooth management throughout.

Find a QCP-certified interior architectural woodworking firm

Once your independent spec writer has delivered your project documents, it’s time to find a QCP-licensed firm to manufacture, fabricate, and install your woodwork products. To make this process simple, AWI-QCP has two great tools you can use to find a suitable contractor:

  • Quick search: input your location into our short search form, and you’ll receive a list of local QCP-licensed firms who can support your project. The results also show which licenses they currently hold, so you can choose the most suitable woodworker for your needs.
  • AWI Member Directory: this more detailed search function lets you specify a woodworking category as well as geographical location. Remember to check ‘Yes’ for QCP Participant, and you’ll see which firms are members of both AWI and QCP.

Or, to find out more about how certifying your interior architectural woodworking project ensures you receive top quality woodwork, contact us today for a friendly chat.

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