How to Prepare for AWI’s Quality Certification Program (including tips for success!)
AWI’s Quality Certification Program (QCP) is THE industry standard in quality for architectural woodwork. Holding a woodworker certification allows you to demonstrate that your skills, knowledge and talents adhere to industry standards and best practices.
If you’re looking at woodworking certification options, the QCP provides myriad benefits for meeting exemplary quality standards.
Benefits of Being QCP Certified
Getting your QCP woodworker certification brings with it some serious benefits for you, your employees and your business. QCP certification:
- Expands awareness of your business, increasing your customer base and profit potential
- Opens the door to bid opportunities and new work
- Grows your reputation and woodworking credibility
- Provides a competitive advantage
- Means you maintain a high level of quality
- Boosts client confidence
- Provides a set of standards you can refer to and rely on
QCP also actively participates in your projects on an ongoing basis. That means you don’t just earn the certification and that’s it, but you get continuous training and feedback so you and your employees can continually improve.
As Chris Mezzanotte, Company President of the Carolinas Coastal Millwork Group said, “We began increasing our customer base because we are a QCP Licensee building to Standards and meeting specified certification requirements. QCP gives us a level of credibility that we wouldn’t have without certification.”
5 Steps to Getting Your QCP Woodworker Certification
There are certain eligibility criteria you have to meet in order to apply for your woodworker certification. If you meet these criteria, the application is just a five-step process. Some of these steps require time and effort, and that’s because we want to ensure that QCP woodworkers are held to only the highest quality standards.
- Apply – complete the relevant application form for you
- Take three tests – answer multiple-choice questions on the QCP Standard’s and Policies
- Submit trade references – 10 trade reference should include at least two from general contractors, two from design professionals, and two from project owners
- Complete sample shop drawings – these drawings must conform to the Architectural Woodwork Standards
- Have a licensing inspection – a QCP representative will visit your business to assess your samples and visit projects you have worked on
The benefits of holding a QCP woodworker certification vastly outweigh the effort of the application process – after all, if it was too easy it wouldn’t be as valuable as it is!
Zach Deas, President of Deas Millwork where they have held the QCP certification for 10 years, says, “QCP differentiates us by providing credibility for our company among our clients. The rigorous requirements dictated by QCP provide clients with defined expectations. The QCP and Architectural Woodwork Standards also provide us with standard operating procedures. By building everything to these standards, we have a documentable reference that we can rely on. These practices help us educate our employees so they know what is expected of them and can be elevated by this standard, whether the projects are certified or not.”
Tips for Getting Your QCP Woodworker Certification
The application process does take (worthwhile) effort, so we’d like to share some tips to make getting your woodworker certification a little easier:
- Remember that you have one year to complete the process from beginning to end
- Read the application guidelines carefully so you don’t miss anything that could cause delays in the future
- Take the time to get familiar with the most recent Architectural Woodwork Standards and Policies – this knowledge will speed up the process
- Request your trade references near the beginning of the process – they can take time to put together so it’s best to start early
- Remember that if you’re using shop drawings from completed projects, they must be compliant with the AWI Standards. Submitting non-compliant drawings can lead to delays in approving your application