What Licensing & Certification Mean in QCP’s Quality Assurance Process

Featured image for “What Licensing & Certification Mean in QCP’s Quality Assurance Process”

At AWI’s Quality Certification Program (QCP), we have two basic components to our quality assurance process.  One is woodworking firm licensing, and one is woodworking project certification. These components are separate but very closely related.

In a nutshell, woodworking firms must have a QCP license to certify projects. Holding a QCP license doesn’t automatically mean that every woodworking project is QCP certified. For that, the specifications must require QCP certification and architect, general contractor or the licensed woodworking firm must register the project for QCP certification and have their work inspected by a QCP expert.

With all that in mind, here’s a more in-depth explanation about what licensing and certification mean in QCP’s quality assurance process.


QCP Licensing For Woodworking Firms

The first component is licensing of architectural woodwork firms.  A QCP license is not a single blanket statement of a woodworking firm’s ability to conform with AWI’s fabrication and/or installation standards. Rather, the woodworking firm applying for licensing chooses from an “a la carte” menu of 35 available QCP licenses. A woodworking firm must hold a current QCP license for the products that require certification in order for their woodworking project to be certified. 

Each license relates to a specific category of woodwork, and the categories correspond to those covered by the Architectural Woodwork Standards. The combination of licenses chosen by the woodworker is based on the applicant’s offerings of products and services and other business or market factors. Our minimum sample criteria also describe the various features required in samples of particular woodwork categories which must be assessed by a QCP inspector and found to be compliant with the Standard before licensing is awarded.

Watch this video to learn more about why woodworkers seek QCP licensing:


AWI-QCP Architectural Casework Guide



QCP Project Certification

The second basic component of QCP’s quality assurance process is certification of architectural woodwork for an individual construction project, where required by that project’s specifications. Project certification attests to conformance of that particular work with contract documents and AWI Standards where applicable. Only those scope items for which the woodworker holds QCP licenses may be certified. 

That said, if a woodworking firm is not licensed, but requires their project to be QCP certified, they’re able to undergo both processes at once. But project certification won’t be awarded until the firm has earned its license.

Learn more about how this quality assurance process works by reading our in-depth blog post on QCP project certification, which covers everything from why you need project certification to how to specify a project for certification.

Watch this video to find out how QCP can be the difference between woodworking project success and failure:



Sample Specification

One specification QCP sees frequently under the “Interior Architectural Woodwork Quality Assurance” portion of specifications reads something like:


“A. Fabricator Qualifications: Shop that employs skilled workers who custom-fabricate products similar to those required for this Project and whose products have a record of successful in-service performance. Shop is a certified participant in AWI’s Quality Certification Program.”

In some cases, the architect or specifier judges this criteria alone to be a sufficient guarantee of quality. However, under this language, a shop with only one QCP license unrelated to the project scope would technically meet this project specification. For example, a shop with only a license for plastic laminate countertop manufacturing could be awarded a project with casework, wall paneling, stair work, and finishing.

By taking the additional steps of requiring project certification and inspection by QCP representatives, the architect or specifier ensures that the list of QCP licenses held by the woodwork subcontractor will be examined. If additional licenses are needed by the subcontractor in order to certify all of the work in the project scope, QCP can then initiate that process with the woodworker.

Architects and specifiers can check a woodwork subcontractor’s list of licenses directly here. This will allow access to a QCP-licensed woodworking firm’s basic information, including licenses held.

Contact us to find out more about how to join the Architectural Woodwork Institute’s Quality Certification Program and strengthen your reputation for quality and integrity.