The Importance of Submitting a Woodwork Project under the AWI Standards

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At some point during the beginning stages of every architectural woodwork project is the submittal of woodwork and architectural specifications. These specifications encompass a series of steps that are quite literally the ‘building blocks’ for a successful woodwork or architectural project. They include:

  • Shop drawings
  • Approvals
  • Samples 
  • Scheduling 

Under the AWI Standards, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to submit samples, shop drawings, and any necessary product data. These items should provide a level of detail that shows the specifications comply with the grade of standards that the project is being built to.


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What Does a Submittal under the AWI Standards Include?

Let’s look at the four steps of a submittal in more detail.

  • Shop Drawings

If the completed woodwork project is the cake, then shop drawings are surely the recipe. Completed by the manufacturer, they are a set of instructions, diagrams, schedules, and data for woodwork engineering and fabrication. They can also act as a guide for other trades involved in the project.

The objective of shop drawings is to show how the manufacturer will bring the design concept to life while conforming to AWI Standards.

Shop drawings also help to coordinate a project. When manufacturers, contractors, and designers all work from the same shop drawings, there is little room for discrepancy. This also allows for transparent, open communication among everyone involved.

Examples of architect shop drawings

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Shop drawings should include construction methods,  the materials and finishes that are to be used, joinery instructions, dimensions, and technical suggestions. The more complex the project, the more comprehensive the shop drawings should be.

  • Approvals

There are four typical levels of approval in an architectural woodwork specifications submittal:

  • Approved 
  • Approved as noted 
  • Revise and resubmit 
  • Rejected

At the approval stage, the architect or designer can review the shop drawings to ensure their designs are being followed through. However, any changes made at this stage can incur a delay and/or cost.

  • Samples

Various types of samples should be supplied once the shop drawings have been approved unless they are off-the-shelf items.

Samples of made-to-order items can include hardware and molding samples, as well as finish samples which should be provided by the designer.

  • Scheduling

Most architectural projects run on tight schedules. Shop drawings can help a project run in a timely manner if they are reviewed promptly and used to coordinate all the trades involved in the project. This can actually save days or even weeks of time, as well as help identify and solve any problems before construction even starts.


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Benefits of Adhering to Industry Woodworking Standards

We’ve already seen some of the benefits of submitting shop drawings and using them to coordinate a project. Here are some larger benefits of working to the AWI Standards:

  • Achieving quality assurance throughout a woodwork project
  • Providing this quality product at competitive pricing
  • Ensuring all parties understand the level of quality required
  • When woodwork specifications are clear, the end result will be as expected
  • The QCP team can review the architectural woodworking specifications and resolve any problems 
  • For architectural woodwork elements, QCP has one of the best insurance policies on the market
  • There can be hundreds of individual woodworking specifications, so standardization is critical

What if the Standards and the Project Specifications are Different?

One of the main challenges faced by architectural woodworkers is when the woodwork specifications don’t contain enough detail and only generic information is supplied. This results in some back-and-forth to check the specifications, adding not only confusion and the possibility of miscommunication but also time and potentially additional cost to a project.

Another challenge to highlight is that sometimes the project specifications differ from the AWI Standards. This is easily solved. 

The Standards use the same language as typical specifications and contract documents with the aim of preventing potential conflict between these documents. Additionally, there is a basic rule that states, “The following requirements shall govern unless a project’s contract documents require otherwise”. The contract documents, therefore, have precedence over the Standards.

It’s so important to have high-quality woodwork and architectural specifications. It means that everyone is working to the same high standards and with open communication, there is less margin for error – that’s why detailed shop drawings are critical.

See how you can get a FREE shop drawing review of woodwork and architectural specifications from QCP. 

If you or your project qualify, contact us today to get started!