“Unless You Can Demonstrate That You Are Not Responsible…”

Featured image for ““Unless You Can Demonstrate That You Are Not Responsible…””

If you have been involved in the management of an architectural woodwork project requiring both QCP certification and inspection by a QCP Representative, you have probably seen the typical written report summarizing the conformance of the items inspected relative to specifications and/or AWI Standards.  The report also provides reference numbers which enable the reader to find the precise location of the “line-item” specification or standard on which the conformance determination was based.

For those inspections which find at least one nonconforming item, the email which transmits the written report to the woodworker also includes a second attachment referred to as the “10 Day Letter.”  It is understandable that the inspection report might be considered by most project managers to be the email’s “main event.”  However, the Ten Day Letter (TDL) attachment is also a critical document in the project certification process and should not be overlooked.  The TDL reads in part:

“I M P O R T A N T
This letter accompanies the report dated XX/XX/XXXX summarizing our recent inspection of work performed by your company for the project referenced above. Our report notes at least one aspect of the work which does not conform with project specifications and/or AWI Standards. Unless you can demonstrate that you are not responsible for the reported non-conformance(s), published QCP Policies require remedial work to bring those items into compliance. Failure to address the reported issue(s) may preclude certification of the project and may result in revocation from the Quality Certification Program. If the issues are not corrected, but are accepted by the project’s design professional (or other authorized owner’s representative), revocation will be avoided. However, your firm’s status will become (or remain) “probationary”.  (See http://awiqcp.org/qcp-policies and refer to 2.9 and”

Within TEN (10) DAYS of this letter’s date noted above, please forward to the [inspector’s] email address below an outline of the measures your company will take to bring the project into compliance, including a time estimate for completion of the corrective

If the attached report recommends a follow-up inspection, please coordinate scheduling with your local QCP Field Representative. If the report indicates that digital photos or other documentation is acceptable verification of your corrective work, please forward those items as soon as possible to your QCP Field Representative…”

This TDL excerpt illustrates that the project inspection report is only the starting point of the process which potentially will end with certification of your project.  The TDL prompts the woodworker to create a “map” for resolving any reported nonconformances, and requires sharing of that map with the project’s QCP Inspector.  The plan that is submitted in response to the TDL does not need to include detailed technical/logistical information regarding correction of nonconformances, but need only be a summary outline of what will be done to bring the project into conformance, and the estimated time frame in which those actions will be taken.

One important feature of the TDL is its invitation to note in writing any reported nonconformances for which you believe your company is not responsible.  That set of circumstances usually involves field conditions created by others which make it clearly impractical (or perhaps impossible) to meet a particular specification or standard.

For example, a recent QCP-certified project featured a building design which included several in-wall plumbing pipes falling in locations which would conflict with cabinet anchor screws installed per AWI Standards.  The pipes abutted the back face of the in-wall wood blocking provided by the general contractor to receive the anchor screws.  In order to eliminate any risk of the AWI-required 3” (minimum) anchor screws exiting the back of the blocking during installation and damaging the piping, the general contractor mandated those screws to be installed only at specified locations which would avoid those pipes altogether.  The resulting anchor screw positions deviated significantly from those required by AWI Standards.  Upon inspection, the QCP Representative therefore reported those instances of cabinet anchorage as nonconforming.  After reading that report, the woodworker’s Ten Day Letter response to the project inspector included an explanation of the field conditions which caused that variance from the standard.  The woodworker also included some supporting documentation.  The inspector and QCP staff will assess the information presented as a resolution is determined.  While QCP’s acceptance of the woodworker’s argument would not make the anchor screw locations in question conforming per se, it would eliminate this issue as an impediment to certification of the project (assuming all else is conforming).

One last important aspect of the Ten Day Letter:  The woodworker’s response is not optional, and protracted failure to respond may result in suspension of the woodwork subcontractor from the Quality Certification Program, and possible revocation.