A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing
& Supplier Members
January 6, 2011

Welcome 2011 AWI Sponsors

AWI extends a warm welcome to our 2011 Sponsors this year whose additional support will help AWI offer a host of programs, products, and publications to all AWI members. Thank you to new sponsors in 2011 and welcome back to returning 2010 sponsors in the New Year.

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AWI News

2011 AWI President Robert Stout Eyes Year Ahead

With an eye to woodwork business realities and opportunities, Robert Stout of RLS Commercial Interiors, Wendell, NC, was recently interviewed by Wood & Wood Products for its February edition. Watch for his remarks about industry sales, new opportunities, and new business models.

And read what’s ahead for AWI in the January issue of AWI NewsBriefs as Mr. Stout takes the reigns of AWI as 2011 President. AWI NewsBriefs, the association’s monthly print newsletter, should reach your mailbox mid-month.

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Green Scene

Reminder: Public Comments Due January 14 on Next Version of LEED®

What’s next? As was announced in a previous edition of AWI e-briefs, a comment period opened to the public on the next version of the LEED® green building rating system in its entirety.

For more information on that, click here. The first deadline for comment is January 14, 2011.

The deadline for those comments is:

  • 1st Public Comment: Open Nov. 8 through Jan. 14, 2011
  • 2nd Public Comment: Open July 1 through Aug. 15, 2011
  • Additional public comment periods will be held as needed, according to USGBC.

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Furniture Sustainability Standard Approved by ANSI & Released for Distribution

BIFMA International recently announced formal American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval and release of the ANSI/BIFMA e3-2010 Furniture Sustainability Standard.  What is it?

The e3 standard represents a structured methodology to evaluate the "sustainable" attributes of furniture products and constitutes the technical criteria of the level(tm) product certification program.

Modeled after the LEED® rating system, the e3 standard includes six prerequisites and numerous optional credit criteria.  As a product is determined to conform to the various optional criteria, points are accumulated toward an ultimate score and corresponding conformance tier.  A minimum of 32 points (of the 90 total available) must be achieved in order to reach the first conformance threshold.

This standard is the result of an extraordinary amount of development work on the part of numerous stakeholders representing a broad cross section of disciplines, backgrounds and perspectives, BIFMA reported.

Standards can be ordered online at the BIFMA Web site, https://bifma.org/secure/orderform.html 

BIFMA is a not-for-profit organization who's mission includes the development of voluntary product and industry standards that support safe, healthy and sustainable environments; publishing of key industry statistics; advocating for legislation and government regulation that have a direct impact on the health of the industry; and facilitating meaningful dialog and education to support its core services and the industry.
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Five Steps for a Successful LEED® Project

By Rob Ziegelmeier, AWI Sustainability Resources Representative

"It’s not easy being green," a famous frog once said. Neither is it easy (or simple) working on a "green" project. But, assuring that your architectural woodwork project complies with all LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system requirements and concludes successfully need not be daunting. Here’s a quick mini resource to keep in mind.

Step 1 – What Program, Product and Version is the Project?
As we have previously reported, the LEED green building rating system is now available in 72 Countries; so, obviously, we need to make certain whether this is a program of the United States Green Building Council or some other country. Then you need to determine which product (New Construction and Major Renovations, Commercial Interiors, etc.) and version under which the project is working. This is critical because all products and versions have different requirements.

Step 2 – What Individual Credits Are You Required to Pursue?
This is usually determined by the job specifications. Normally the specification that relates to the woodwork (section 06400) will indicate which credits are required; if not, there may be a general statement in the "General Conditions" stating a desire for achieving LEED credits. If the LEED requirements are vague, it would be in your best interest to specifically include or exclude the credits in your bid proposal.

Step 3 – Create a Plan to Achieve the Credits.
What materials will you need to accomplish this goal? You may want to print out the appropriate credits in the correct product to fully understand your requirements or even purchase the LEED Reference Guide. You also will want to establish jobsite protocols for adhesives and coatings that will be used on the site.

Step 4 – Meet with the Project LEED Associate Professional (AP).
You will want to meet with the LEED AP as early in the project as possible to establish the proper submittal documentation. Unfortunately, because the submittal requirements vary from project to project, this meeting will save you time and hopefully improve the cash flow by completing your submittals once.

Step 5 – Create a Paperwork Tracking System.
We recommend that you create a materials binder containing an invoice log of all materials purchased for that specific project. This will make up a large portion of your submittal and will make life easier for whoever will be putting this package together in your operation.

If you follow these steps, your project will go much smoother and you should hopefully get paid in a more reasonable amount of time.

About the Author: Rob Ziegelmeier served as President of the Architectural Woodwork Institute in 1996-1997 as well as Chairman of the LEED Task Force from 2003 to 2007. In the past few years he has established Forest Stewardship Council Certification for two companies and conducts numerous AIA Continuing Education presentations on the impact of LEED on the woodworking industry. Mr. Ziegelmeier is currently the Northeast Salesman for Fetzer Architectural Woodwork as well as AWI’s Sustainability Resources Representative. He can be reached at rzig@aol.com.

Please note AWI cautionary disclaimer in the right-hand column. 

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AWI Learning Forum

Will the “Fundamentals” Seminars Come to You? You Decide.

AWI is seeking your input about where the "Fundamentals of Project Management" and "Fundamentals of Estimating," two of the core educational seminars that AWI offers. Where are these courses needed most?

If you're thinking about attending or have employees you want to attend, then now is the time to tell us.  The results of this survey will determine when, where, and how many times these seminars will be delivered in 2011. 

Take the survey now by clicking here.

"Fundamentals of Estimating"
Length: 1 Day
Learning Outcomes:  This Basic program is designed to help you calculate your "break even" and to introduce attendees to the AWI Cost Book. Do you know much it costs to put the key in the door and turn on the lights every day at your plant? Learn how to find out, AND how to put that fact to work for profitable jobs next week. Go home from this program to sleep better at night, knowing you can turn down unprofitable work and negotiate your margins with confidence.

"Fundamentals of Project Management"
Length: 1 Day
Learning Outcomes:  Basic one day program designed for NEW project managers.  Participants will build a solid foundation for profitable projects, sharpen their basic management skills, and learn what questions to ask.
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Estimating: Making or Breaking Your Company!

By Bruce Spitz, 2011 Chair, AWI Education Committee

A good estimate can make your company; a bad estimate may break it. There is little margin for error in estimating...presuming you want to make a profit.

Estimating is the process of determining the overall cost of a project and what you can sell it for. Once you determine your costs, you can gain costs savings through volume discount on materials or by economizing on materials. You can cut costs by identifying labor efficiencies but once bid, you cannot change the price of the job. These cost savings may increase your profit margin or can cover a shortfall on the job. But if you miss "taking off" work on the project or miscalculate, you can put yourself in a deep hole.

Read about what Mr. Spitz says about the overall steps and process of estimating in the January issue of AWI NewsBriefs, AWI’s monthly print newsletter. The following extract gives you some insight into creating a process.

Creating a Process

Estimating is preparing a bid by determining your costs for a project, marking up the costs to meet your overhead, and making a profit...all while being competitive. This is done by creating a process using developed methods to accomplish the goal of determining the costs of a project and selling it. Even if you have a good software program, which will help with number crunching and is useful for repetitive jobs, without a good process, you can fail in your effort to determine the cost.

Proper methods begin with a quiet place. Find a place that will provide freedom from interruption allowing ample time to concentrate. Then, review all the job requirements from specifications through to individual pieces of millwork on the job.

Discussion of this process can be found in its entirety in the January issue of AWI NewsBriefs.

Closing the Deal

Once you figure your cost and selling price, you need to close the deal. While the term estimating technically refers to the cost of job, the pricing decisions are critical for a profitable bottom line. In today’s economic climate, you can’t afford to submit a poorly crafted bid.

About the Author: A member of the AWI Estimating team for six years, Bruce Spitz is a regular presenter of AWI’s Fundamentals and Advanced Estimating courses. A 22-year industry veteran, he is Owner and President of Classic Millwork & Products, Inc. in El Paso, TX. The firm was founded in 1987 and specializes in custom commercial cabinetry fabrication and installation. Mr. Spitz has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and also has experience working in Retail and Manufacturing.

Please see cautionary AWI statement in the right-hand column. 


Learn More...

"Advanced Project Estimating"
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
May 13-14, 2011
AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars & Leadership Conference
St. Louis, MO 

Attendees in the two-day AWI Advanced Project Estimating Seminar, May 13-14, 2011 will work on producing an estimate using a process. The popular course is designed for those who want to improve their techniques and continue the learning process to refine their skills. This course is packed with tips, techniques and formulas incorporating best practices to put to work immediately. Practice sessions are included to reinforce knowledge gained during the seminars. To find out more, visit www.awinet.org.  Registration will open soon.


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Business Tools

Getting Exposure – Imperial Mill & Fixtures

Need a reason to stay in touch with your past and present customers? Tell them you earned an AWI "Award of Excellence" (AOE). Look who’s featured this week –Imperial Mill & Fixtures. Deadline for AOE Submissions is February 1, 2011.

Pictured is one of the award-winning AWI Manufacturing Member projects featured in a recent AWI "Award of Excellence" quarterly competition. Shown here is the Dr. Clotilde P. Garcia Public Library in Corpus Christi, TX. The $3 million AWI Quality Certified project featured White Maple throughout fabricated by Imperial Mill & Fixtures of Corpus Christi. The millwork project consisted of paneling, reception counter, computer carrels, veneer tops and end panels for metal shelving, reference desk with tinker-toy assembly, trim, steps, and casework. Other views of this project can be seen in the fall issue of Design Solutions.

Photo Credit: Jud Haggard, Bellaire, TX

Get noticed; apply for an "Award of Excellence." Visit the AWI Web site for information about submissions. They are now being accepted for the spring 2011 program. The deadline is February 1, 2011.

Use an AOE award to market your excellence and gain a competitive edge during these challenging times when bids are very competitive and others are seeking entry into your markets. All Manufacturing Members are eligible to participate. Gain exposure within the design/build community among the outstanding projects of AWI Manufacturing Members who are featured in Design Solutions Magazine, AWI’s official quarterly journal.

Benefits to AOE honorees include exposure in the online issue of Design Solutions Magazine which is open for business 24/7, plus distribution to more than 25,000 industry professionals.

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What Are They Talking about this Week?

What are the hot topics this week among AWI members connecting on the AWI LinkedIn network? One is employment opportunities. Check them out.

Right now, members are actively discussing the following new issues:

  • Employment Opportunities
  • Supplier Information

Click into the forums anytime to find out what’s important among architectural woodworkers. The AWI LinkedIn home page is here. See what your peers are saying. If you’re not yet registered with LinkedIn, do it when you check out the current discussions. It’s free and it’s a useful networking tool among AWI members.

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Construction News

Demand for Design Services Highest since December 2007

After stepping back in October reversing into the negative territory, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rose more than three points in November to reach its highest mark since December 2007. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the positive news is encouraging.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI score was 52.0, up from a reading of 48.7 the previous month. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.4, down slightly from a mark of 61.7 in October.

"While this is heartening news, it would be premature to say the design and construction industry is out of the woods yet," said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. "We continue to hear a wide mix of business conditions, with a good deal of it still indicating flat or no demand for design services. Once we see several months in a row of increasing demand we can feel safe saying we have entered a recovery phase. Until then, we can expect continued volatility in business conditions."

Key November ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (51.1), Midwest (50.9), South (50.5), West (48.7);
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (54.3), commercial / industrial (49.8), institutional (49.3), mixed practice (45.8); 
  • Project inquiries index: 61.4.

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly "Work-on-the-Boards" survey that is sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI. 
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Construction Starts Slide Again – When Will It Stop?

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $375.9 billion, new construction starts in November fell 9% from the previous month, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.  Some modest growth, however, was evident in several market sectors.

Nonresidential building weakened for the second month in a row, while nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities) retreated after its elevated pace in October.  Meanwhile, residential building in November showed modest growth. For the first eleven months of 2010, total construction on an unadjusted basis was reported at $378.7 billion, down 4% from the corresponding period of 2009.

November’s data lowered the Dodge Index to 80 (2000=100), after October’s reading of 88.  "Since early 2009, the construction start statistics have shown an up-and-down pattern, essentially leveling off within a set range following an extended three-year decline," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction.  "The pullback in November after October’s slight gain shows that this up-and-down pattern continues, and there’s yet to be evidence that renewed expansion is taking hold.  For nonresidential building, the worst of the decline for the commercial structure types has run its course, but the volume of activity remains very weak.  The housing sector, after losing momentum during the spring, appears to be edging upward once again, but to this point the pickup has been meager.  In the near term, the overall economy may be helped by the recent extension of the federal tax cuts, but going into 2011 the construction industry will still face several constraints.  These include: restrictive bank lending standards which have yet to ease, fading stimulus support, and further erosion in the fiscal health of states and localities."

Nonresidential building in November dropped 12% to $130.1 billion (annual rate), falling back for the second straight month after improved activity was reported in September.  The educational building category, which is the largest nonresidential project type, plunged 23% in November.  Even though November included the start of a $500 million police academy building in the College Point section of New York ,NY, it was not enough to outweigh diminished activity for this category’s other segments, such as K-12 school buildings.  Other institutional building categories with large percentage declines in November were amusement-related projects, down 44%; churches, down 29%; and transportation terminals, down 14%.  The public building category in November featured groundbreaking for two large federal courthouses, located in Salt Lake City, UT ($175 million) and Billings, MT ($58 million), but the category as a whole slipped 8% as military-related work continued to recede.  Healthcare facilities in November held steady with the prior month, and included the start of a $143 million rehabilitation hospital in Charlestown, MA and a $125 million psychiatric facility in New Hyde Park, NY, McGraw-Hill reported.

Several commercial categories showed growth in November, although their volume of activity remains very weak.  Office construction grew 24%, and included the start of a $120 million renovation to a federal office building in Portland, OR.  Warehouse construction in November advanced 19%, while hotels increased 15% with the help of a $36 million hotel renovation project in New York, NY.  Store construction in November decreased 7%.  The manufacturing plant category in November moved up 3%, with the lift coming from a $300 million steel manufacturing plant in Minnesota.

For the first eleven months of 2010, nonresidential building was down 12% from a year ago.  The commercial sector fell 20%, as the result of these declines – stores, down 8%; warehouses, down 22%; offices, down 29%; and hotels, down 32%.  The manufacturing plant category in the January-November period dropped 12%.  The institutional sector was down 8% year-to-date, with weaker activity for educational buildings, down 7%; and public buildings, down 38%.  Healthcare facilities were unchanged year-to-date, while transportation terminals increased 17%, according to McGraw-Hill.

Residential building in November advanced 3% to $122.8 billion (annual rate).  Single family housing grew 4%, maintaining the very gradual upward movement that’s been present since August, after activity dropped back in late spring.  The November pace for single family housing was still 13% below its average for this year’s first quarter, when a more solid recovery for single family housing seemed to be taking hold.  Multifamily housing in November slipped 4%, retreating moderately after its improved activity in September and October.  Large multifamily projects that reached groundbreaking in November included a $67 million retirement complex in Chicago, IL, a $53 million apartment building in New York, NY, and a $43 million apartment renovation in Boston, MA, McGraw-Hill reported.

During the first eleven months of 2010, residential building came in 7% above its dollar amount for the same period a year ago.  Single family housing was up 7% year-to-date, as the result of this performance by geography – the Northeast, up 11%; the South Atlantic, up 10%; the Midwest, up 8%; the West, up 7%; and the South Central, up 2%.  Multifamily housing was up 8% year-to-date, as the result of this performance by geography – the Midwest, up 17%; the West, up 15%; the South Central, up 13%; the South Atlantic, up 8%; and the Northeast, down 6%.
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Around the Industry

Webcast: Profit with Integrated Wood Manufacturing

Want to be more competitive in the market, Wood & Wood Products and Woodworking Network ask? Watch a free webcast and learn how integrating production technology can help you improve your production rates, reduce waste in process and improve your profits.

Register for this free webcast by the editors of Wood & Wood Products and Woodworking Network who will look at some of the new technology available on the marketplace and talk about the steps needed for continuous improvement in order to help you bring your plant to its highest levels of production and quality. Well-known wood products manufacturers will be on hand to discuss their strategies for success in a production environment. They’ll give a preview of the inaugural Web Tech Summit, co-located with Closets Expo, February 24-25, 2011 at the Charlotte, NC Convention Center.
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Member News

Ninth Stiles Executive Briefing Conference

Online registration is still open for the ninth Executive Briefing Conference (EBC) sponsored by Stiles Machinery, Inc.

Stiles noted it is committed to offering EBC under the auspices of Stiles Education, the internationally accredited educational branch of the organization, because education and learning are critical to the industry's future success. Since inception in 2002, the EBC has become the premier venue for key manufacturing executives to network and explore new ways to succeed, Stiles announced. The consistent theme of the EBC is to answer the questions "What’s Now, What’s New, and What’s Next?"  Providing strategic and practical information to help solve manufacturing challenges, the EBC is an opportunity to gain a broader perspective of the business landscape. 

The ninth EBC will be April 10-12, 2011 at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Given the setting at 3M's Innovation Center, the theme of the 2011 EBC will focus on innovation.

John Brandt will deliver the opening keynote address, which will provide specific recommendations to prepare for "Next Generation Manufacturing," based on an extensive research study conducted by his firm, the MPI Group. By popular request, Alan Beaulieu (AWI convention speaker in 2009 and 2010) will be the closing keynote speaker to enlighten the audience with his insights on the latest economic trends. The briefing topics include innovative strategies in areas such as research, product development, technology, and niche markets. Once again, the EBC will feature case studies (informal on-stage interviews between a company representative and an industry colleague) to highlight key innovations across the country.

Online registration for the EBC can be accessed via www.stilesmachinery.com/ebc. Take advantage of the "early bird" conference rate of $995, which includes hotel accommodations at the Sheraton St. Paul Woodbury for two nights, all meals, admission to the briefing sessions, as well as tours of 3M’s World of Innovation and their Center for Abrasive Materials (CAM).  As of January 1st, the conference rate is $1,195.

Stiles Machinery has been an AWI Supplier Member since 1996.

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Member Business Is Thriving: A Success Story

If you talk with enough folks around the industry, you’ll hear some bad news relating to the effect of the economy on architectural woodworkers. Some businesses, however, are doing well. Jim McGrew, McGrew Woodworks in Columbia, SC, is a success story.

Jim McGrew, owner of the woodwork firm recently shared his excitement about business opportunities with AWI Membership Coordinator Debby Heidler. According to McGrew his "small AWI four-man shop" is very busy...without any slow-down, etc. 

The shop has become more diversified over the last four years, McGrew said. He has not reduced quality of the products they produce, while trying to cut costs. He stressed that it is one way that American manufacturers can compete with global competition.

What project is the first currently enthusiastic about? The installation of a carved solid large eagle & globe at a Marine headquarters.  The first also fabricated a life-size chess set which can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCrEJ2Ud5YU  McGrew said "he had no clue how to play chess," but that he and his shop has been featured as the "centerfold" in a national chess magazine.

The firm has been an AWI Manufacturing Member since 2005. 
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About QCP

Important QCP Policy Revisions, Effective January 1, 2011

The following revisions to the QCP Policies apply to all current Q-accredited woodworking firms and applicants.

Please read the following changes as well as the entire document at www.awiqcp.org and familiarize yourself with the new policies, which are required in order to obtain and maintain Q-accreditation. See also the January issue of AWI NewsBriefs for policy changes on triennial inspection requirements. The entire revised version of the QCP policy manual is available online at www.awiqcp.org.

1. Shop Drawings. Shop drawings for certified projects shall be in conformance with the Submittal requirements as noted in Section 1 of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS). Projects that specify the AWI Quality Standards Illustrated shall be fabricated, finished, and installed as per the specifications; their drawings, however, shall conform to the AWS, Section 1.

2. Application Fees. Beginning January 1, 2011, application fees for AWI manufacturing member firms will increase from $1,650 to $1,800. This will help cover the increased cost of inspections.

3. Filing Complaints. The QCC has implemented a new process for filing complaints whereby any QCP stakeholder may file a complaint on any matter pertaining to the conduct of QCC staff, inspectors (Q-representatives), or any matter pertaining to the conduct of a QCP applicant and/or participant within the context of the QCP policies. Complaints must be filed using the form provided by the QCC, and the complainant will be notified of the investigation’s findings and corrective actions taken (if applicable) within four (4) weeks from the date the complaint was filed. All information pertaining to a complaint will be held in confidence. Details will be divulged, solely to the extent necessary, to the parties involved in the complaint.

4. Statute of Limitations on Filing Appeals. Appeals to the QCC Board of Directors must be submitted to the QCC Executive Vice President within ninety (90) days of the notification date of the decision being appealed. Appeals submitted outside of this timeframe will not be considered.

5. Written Tests.  Participants are required to successfully complete the QCP written tests (AWI Standards and QCP Policies) every three (3) years.

6. Policy Test. All currently accredited QCP firms and applicants will be required to take a test to confirm their understanding of the QCP Policies. This must be completed within the first six (6) months of 2011. A score of 60 correct answers out of a total of 70 is considered a passing score. The test will be available online, and firms will be notified when it is active.

7. Distribution of Labels and/or Certificates of Compliance. Following authorization by the QCC Inspections Manager, project certification labels and Certificates of Compliance will be sent from the QCC office directly to the woodworking firm. Q-representatives will no longer be involved in the distribution of labels.

8. Certified Project Signatory. Project Certificates of Compliance shall be signed by an employee of the Q-accredited firm. Persons eligible to sign the certificate will be required to successfully complete the following tests within six (6) months of the tests’ respective initial release, or every two (2) years, whichever is sooner:

a. QCP Written Test of the Current AWI Standards. A score of at least 130/150 is required.
b. QCP Written Test of the QCP Policies. A score of at least 60/70 is required.

No additional fees will be levied for this provision.

Questions or concerns may be directed to AWI QCC Executive Vice President Craig Elias at celias@awiqcp.org or 571.323.3620.


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AWIEF Scholarship Recipient Shows Funded Project

The AWI Education Foundation (AWIEF) recently received a letter of gratitude from a scholarship recipient in the Cabinetmaking Program at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. See what he built with the scholarship funds.

Steven Costa (class of 2011) included a photo of his great Pennsylvania Chest-on-Chest built using funds from the scholarship he received in 2010. Read his letter to the AWIEF and see the large cabinet he built, by clicking here. "What a nice surprise to hear from him and learn about his accomplishments made possible in part by the AWIEF’s scholarship award this past year," said AWI Executive Vice President Phillip Duvic.
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Questions about AWS Answered Online

Members responded quickly and registered for "Randy Jensen’s Shop Talk," which will deliver the answers to members’ questions about the Architectural Woodwork Standards. The online event on January 20, 2011 is sold out. Check out future editions of AWI e-briefs for information about the next Shop Talk.

Participating AWI members have free access.

About Randy Jensen
For those members who don't know Randy he is a 30-year veteran of Leonard Peterson in Auburn, AL. He has served AWI in the following capacities: Quality Standards Board of Review, AWILL Executive Management Team and Press Division Bursar.  He is currently Chair of the AWI Technical Committee and continues as an AWI Representative to the Joint Standards Committee, on which he works with AWI, the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute (WI), developers and publishers of the industry-wide Architectural Woodwork Standards released in August 2009.

About Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS)
The Architectural Woodwork Institute, the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada and the Woodwork Institute worked together the create the joint unified standard for the specification of qualities, methods, and workmanship to produce and install architectural millwork.

This first edition of the Architectural Woodwork Standards is a definitive reference manual designed to simplify and clarify guidelines, information and principles required for fabrication, finishing and installation of architectural woodwork. It provides design professionals with a logical and facile means to comprehensively specify woodwork elements.

The AWS includes compliance criteria to ensure that all millwork manufacturers are competing equally when bidding on projects and they are obligated to perform work of equal quality. The Standards, as in both previous publications, encompass three grades of quality: Economy, Custom and Premium. The AWS also includes a comprehensive glossary of terms.

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Did You Know...What the AWS Says about “Shrinkage”?

By Shows Leary, AWI Quality Certification Program Inspector

Familiarity with the AWI Architectural Woodwork Quality Standards Illustrated (QSI) can no longer be relied on in woodwork project specifications where the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) introduced in August 2009 supercede the QSI. Don’t assume the standards are the same. Learn about shrinkage.


The most common complaint from contractors and owners in the winter is that the fine millwork you shipped in August and installed right away is now defective and needs to be replaced because the wood has shrunk and there are gaps in the woodwork and laminate products. Now you have to explain about high humidity and swelling of wood fibers and then low humidity and shrinkage of wood products.

Here is a tip that can help you in that situation.

  • In section 2 of the AWS, starting on page 44 there is a discussion about the effects of relative humidity and moisture content (1.2.3).
  • A technical review at what happens to wood fibers under various hygroscopic conditions. (1.2.5).
  • Recommendations for the owner on indoor humidity requirements. (1.3).
  • Responsibility acknowledgements are given that describe who is responsible for proper humidity levels at various stages of the project.

You can use this information as early as the submittal process. Include copies of pages 44 - 46 in your initial submittal package. Follow up with continuing communication to the architect and contractor via comments made at meetings or any opportunities that come up, including the language in your shop drawings and a copy with every delivery of materials to the job site. (I know of some shops that include this information with their original contract, every requisition and every change order).

Will this effort get you put of any and all complaints? Of course not. But if the situation starts getting litigious, you can at least demonstrate that you made a good faith effort to educate the designer, contractor and owner on the proper installation and final humidity conditions required for longevity of fine architectural millwork.

About the Author: Shows Leary has been an AWI Quality Certification Program (QCP) inspector since 1996. He has served as QCP's Regional Representative and as a member of the Quality Certification Corporation Board of Directors and Board of Appeals. He is an alternate member of the AWI Technical Committee. Contact Shows Leary at shows@showsleary.com.

Please see cautionary AWI statement in the right-hand column. 

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AWS Errata Web Site – Check for Latest Changes

The AWI Technical Committee reminds members about Errata published – and changing continually – for the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS). See the latest changes.

AWI members are reminded that the Errata List is a living document and should be checked frequently for changes in the AWS. Don’t be caught using outdated information on your next project that specifies the AWS.

Many changes have been made since October 1, 2009 following publication of the First Edition of the AWS in August 2009. The Errata Web site is the ultimate source of information which is posted as AWS data changes.

Visit http://www.aws-errata.com/ for errors and corrections to the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) jointly produced and published by the three developers: AWI, the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute (WI).  
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Federal Scene

Manufacturers Benefit from Tax Legislation on Many Fronts

Relief is coming to manufacturers with recent passage of H.R. 4853, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which was signed into law by President Obama.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), of which AWI is a member, worked many months to accomplish this important tax compromise, which provides a solid tax and investment climate for manufacturers over the next two years. 

NAM outlined the following highlights of the bill:

  • The bill enacts the critical two-year extension of all individual tax rates established as pro-growth measures in 2001 and 2003. The NAM significantly shaped the debate by stressing how the expiration of the top rates would severely hit small manufacturers, damaging job creation and investment.

Opposition in Congress to these extensions was formidable. The NAM said that "fully extending the 2001/03 individual rates could lead to up to 1.4 million jobs in 2011 and as many as 2.7 million jobs in 2012. Moreover, the lower tax rates on capital gains and dividends will boost capital investment and economic growth."

  • Business tax extenders are also included in the legislation: the research and development (R&D) credit, the look-through rules, deferral for active financing, energy efficiency credits and others. The addition of the 100% expensing provision will encourage investment and create demand for machinery and equipment. 
  • In addition, the legislation prevents the estate tax’s return in 2011 at the full, destructive 55% top rate with just a $1 million exemption. The final and very positive language – a 35% top rate with a $10 million exemption for joint filers – is a compromise that achieves what was politically possible this year.

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New Withholding Details Available on IRS.gov for Implementing Payroll Tax Cuts

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released instructions to help employers implement the 2011 cut in payroll taxes, along with new income-tax withholding tables that employers will use during 2011.

Millions of workers will see their take-home pay rise during 2011 because the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 provides a two percentage point payroll tax cut for employees, reducing their Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2% to 4.2% of wages paid. This reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on the employee’s future Social Security benefits.

The new law also maintains the income-tax rates that have been in effect in recent years.

Employers should start using the new withholding tables and reducing the amount of Social Security tax withheld as soon as possible in 2011 but not later than January 31, 2011. Notice 1036, released on December 17, 2010, contains the percentage method income tax withholding tables, the lower Social Security withholding rate, and related information that most employers need to implement these changes. Publication 15, (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide, containing the extensive wage bracket tables that some employers use, will be available soon at www.IRS.gov.

The IRS recognizes that the late enactment of these changes makes it difficult for many employers to quickly update their withholding systems. For that reason, the agency asks employers to adjust their payroll systems as soon as possible, but not later than January 31, 2011.

For any Social Security tax over withheld during January, employers should make an offsetting adjustment in workers’ pay as soon as possible but not later than March 31, 2011.

Employers and payroll companies will handle the withholding changes, so workers typically won’t need to take any additional action, such as filling out a new W-4 withholding form.

As always, however, the IRS urges workers to review their withholding every year and, if necessary, fill out a new W-4 and give it to their employer. For example, individuals and couples with multiple jobs, people who are having children, getting married, getting divorced or buying a home, and those who typically wind up with a balance due or large refund at the end of the year may want to consider submitting revised W-4 forms. Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding? provides more information to workers on making changes to their tax withholding.

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Chapter News

Upcoming Chapter Events

What’s happening in your local AWI chapters and architectural woodwork communities?

Check out the informative AWI chapter programs sponsored in your area. Tap into your local AWI chapter for vital information that can help your business grow and put you in touch with fellow AWI architectural woodworkers and suppliers.

AWI Virginia Chapter
When: January 14, 2011 (10:30 am – 4:00 pm)
What: Chapter Meeting (See attached)
Presentation: Architectural Woodwork Standards presented by AWI Chief Learning Officer Greg Heuer
Where: Courtyard by Marriott, Charlottesville, VA
Registration/Information: Chapter President Bruce Cody at bcody@arcwoodva.com 

AWI Oregon Chapter (Under Development)
When: January 26, 2011
What: Organizational Meeting about Oregon Chapter Opportunities
Where: Rudy’s at the Salem Golf Club, Salem, OR
Registration: See Attached
(AWI National Members, local Suppliers, and local Design Professionals are welcome to attend.)
Special Guests: Scott and Kirsten Ingham of Pearson Millwork; Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Development Services
Program Coordination: Reid Giving, Stiles Machinery
Information: Greg Bednar at gbednar@awinet.org    

AWI Washington Chapter
When: February 9, 2011 (5:30 pm)
What: Chapter Meeting (Reception, Dinner, Presentation & Meeting)
Presentation: "Let the Veneer Do the Talking"
Presenter: Marty Jones, Stiles Machinery
Where: Galliano’s Cucina, Seatac, WA
Registration: (See attached); $25 pp, RSVP by January 14; janette.farr@idxseattle.com 

AWI Chesapeake and Potomac Chapter
When: March 10, 2011 (1:00 pm)
What: "LEED® and FSC Certification" Presentation and Lunch
Presenters: Garry Astles, Northway Industries and Keith Atherholt, Lewis Lumber Products, Inc.
Information: See Attached Registration and Information 

AWI Central Pennsylvania Chapter
When: April 6, 2011 (12:30 – 3:30 pm)
What: Presentation and Lunch
Presentation: "Best Practices for the New Economy"
Presenter: Steve Waltman, Stiles Machinery and Teresa McCain, AWI
Where: Wildwood Conference Center, Harrisburg, PA
Registration: (See attached) $35 per person, $100 Tabletops available

All chapters are encouraged to plan their events early to allow for ample promotion of your activities in this section of AWI e-briefs as well as through other avenues. Contact Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Development Services at gbednar@awinet.org.

Members are encouraged to check chapter event listings in the most recent issue of AWI e-briefs, as well as with chapter officers and chapter Web sites for program changes. As plans become finalized, dates and presentations may change for chapter programs previously listed. This issue of AWI e-briefs contains the most current information available to AWI National.

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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published January 20, 2011.

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Founded in 1953, AWI is a nonprofit organization representing over 3,500 manufacturers, suppliers, and design professionals in the architectural woodwork industry.

AWI Mission:
The authoritative resource for excellence in architectural woodwork.

Copyright Architectural Woodwork Institute www.awinet.org


Click on the sponsors below to visit their web sites! Get better acquainted with these AWI Supplier Members and generous supporters of AWI.


Stiles Machinery, Inc.


CNA Commercial Insurance

M. Bohlke Veneer Corporation



Division of Akzo Nobel, Inc.


Gemini Coatings, Inc.

M.L. Campbell Company




Adservco Group

Art For Everyday, Inc.

Biesse America, Inc.

Delmac Machinery Group

ETemplate Systems

Flexible Materials, Inc.

IMA / Schelling
American Alliance



Sherwin-Williams Company

SL Laser Systems

Star Moulding & Trim Company

States Industries, Inc.

Waco Composites, Ltd


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