AWI Quality Times - Fall 2011 (Plain Text Version)

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Expertise Provided by QCP Helps Boost Quality and Consistency of Large Casework Project at Georgia Tech


Casework was installed tightly fitted with flush joints. Installation is plumb, level and square. Installation was free of any warp, twist or cupping. No exposed fasteners were seen at exposed surfaces. 
The Georgia Tech project is an excellent example of how the QCP can significantly improve the consistency and quality of architectural woodwork by helping streamline the construction process. It also illustrates the importance of obtaining written approval from the designer, prior to fabrication, for any product that deviates from the Standards or the specifications.

High Potential for Variations in Quality
Georgia Tech encompassed two major phases: one which occurred in the summer of 2010, and another over the summer of 2011. Each phase consisted of more than 1,000 Custom-grade PLAM (plastic laminate) and HPDL (high-pressure density laminate) cabinets for about 300 Georgia Tech student housing units in multiple locations. Six different woodworking firms were contracted to supply the casework and the completion window for each project phase was quite short, requiring that the casework be fabricated and installed over the course of each summer. The sheer volume of casework supplied for this project coupled with the fast-paced completion timeframe carried the potential for significant variations in product quality.

QCP Delivers Consistency
Only one of the six woodworkers followed the project specifications and Standards, and sought clarification and written approval from the designer prior to fabrication. This woodworker’s portion of the project was immediately certified. Interestingly, this particular woodworker has been a QCP-accredited firm for eight years, but during that time had not yet pursued certification for its first provisional QCP project. Needless to say, they passed with flying colors.

The other woodwork subcontractors were also QCP-accredited, as is necessary to certify a project. However, these companies had some minor, but pervasive aesthetic nonconformities relating to door alignment, gaps, flushness and excessive caulk to name a few. According to QCP policy, projects where all nonconformities were corrected were certified, while nonconformities left uncorrected required written acceptance from the design professional in order for these woodworkers to remain QCP-accredited.  The projects resulting in Letters Accepting Deviations (LADs) were not certified.

One of the more significant nonconformities included drawer depths that measured 2 ¾” from the back of the cabinet. According to sections 10.3 and 10- of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS), the back of the drawer must come within 2" of the cabinet back. The firm responsible for these did not fix the drawer-depths, nor did they obtain written approval from the design professional prior to the construction of the casework; therefore, the project could not be certified.


This is the only specification that makes reference to the QSI and reads,"Where the surface of the underside of the cabinets is 4'-6" or more above the finished floor, cabinets bottoms shall be clad/finished with the same laminate as the cabinet face after assembly. (See Type "C" flush illustration 400-G-7, pp. 127, AWI Quality Standards Illustrated, Eighth Edition, v.2, 2005)". 

Clarify and Document
One contentious specification in particular indicated: “Where the surface of the underside of the cabinets is 4'-6" or more above the finished floor, cabinet bottoms shall be clad/finished with the same laminate as the cabinet face after assembly” (See Type "C" flush illustration 400-G-7, p. 127, AWI Quality Standards Illustrated, Eighth Edition, v.2, 2005). The designer’s intent; however, was that only the cabinets that are higher than normal and with undersides exposed receive the seamless treatment. The designer worked directly with the QCP on specifying this concept properly to woodworkers bidding the job. While the AWS was the prevailing standard for quality grade and construction, the AWI Quality Standards Illustrated (QSI) was used in this particular instance to provide a clear visual description of the desired cabinet type and lamination.

Several woodworkers failed to recognize this QSI specification until after fabrication and inspection by a QCP-representative, resulting in the need for costly rework and additional QCP inspections. “This is why it is vital that all woodworking firms identify and clarify any details that are specified, but may not be a part of normal fabrication,” said QCC Inspections Manager Ashley Goodin. “According to QCP policy, specifications always have authority over the Standards, and any deviations from the Standards must be clearly noted with written approval prior to fabrication or inspection,” added Goodin.

In addition, all but one of the woodworking firms that requested clarification from the designer failed to obtain written approval from the designer; therefore, their work was not immediately certified. Fortunately, the QCP stepped in on their behalf to clarify the specification and obtain the required written confirmation from the designer on this particular issue. Ultimately, a majority of the casework for Georgia Tech was certified, but two of the six woodworking firms failed to achieve certification for their projects.

The Architect’s Response
“We definitely consider the QCP an asset for these types of projects,” said Gil May, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, CSI, and principal of May Architecture + Interiors, Atlanta, Ga. “Using pre-qualified woodworkers that are already QCP-accredited saved us from the time and difficulty of vetting potential contractors, and that was extremely helpful considering the short turnaround time for Georgia Tech,” said May.

“Also, the inspections and inspection reports offered by QCP provided us with verification of the quality of the product during fabrication, which is extremely helpful in that there is only so much we can actually see with an installed product, and there was limited time to make corrections at the end,” said May.

“Essentially, the QCP brings a ‘millwork expert’ to the construction team – someone who helped us define the level of quality and maintain it during the fabrication and installation of a large amount of casework in a very short amount of time. Having that level of expertise was important and resulted in a consistent and quality product for Georgia Tech,” May added. 

ATTN QCP-accredited Woodworkers: Renewal Period Began November 1

According to the QCP Policies, the annual renewal period for all currently accredited firms began November 1, 2011. QCC has already mailed the first round of invoices to all participants. The renewal process involves two steps:

1. Payment of renewal fees ($1,100 for current AWI manufacturing members; $2,500 for all others).
2. Signature and date of acknowledgement on the AWI QCC Code of Ethics form.

Renewals are due by 11:59 PM EST, Dec. 31, 2011. Companies that submit after this date will be charged a $300 late fee. Those who have not yet been QCP-accredited for one full year are also required to renew, and will receive a pro-rated renewal invoice for 2012.

Renewals may be submitted by mail, by fax (with a credit card number) or they can be completed online. Simply click here to renew online or visit the Web site,, at your convenience. NOTE: You will need your username (C-number) and password (P-number) to renew online.

QCP Policies Test and Standards Test Also Due
If you have not yet completed the QCP Policies test, required for all currently QCP-accredited firms and applicants, be sure to do so. The test is available online at, and you will need a copy of the latest edition of the QCP Policies manual, as well as your username and password to complete it.

In addition, accredited firms are required to retake the Standards test every three years. Again, this test is also available online at, and you'll need your username and password, as well as a copy of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS).

Make sure to complete the entire renewal process, as well as the Architectural Woodwork Standards and QCP Policies tests (if necessary) by Dec. 31, 2011 to ensure uninterrupted continuation of your QCP-accreditation and avoid late fees!

Questions about renewals or tests may be directed to AWI QCC Credentialing Manager Jennica Nishida at or (571) 233-4944.

We look forward to your continued participation with the QCP in 2012!  [return to top]

QCC Staff Has New Phone Numbers: Please Make Note

To improve customer service and increase the availability of QCC staff by phone during frequent periods of travel, the QCC has implemented a new phone system and new phone extensions. Effective immediately, QCC staff can be reached directly at the new numbers below:

Tricia Roberts, Q3C Program Director – (571) 222-4946
Wayne Hintz, QCP Program Director – (571) 222-4942
Ashley Goodin, QCC Inspections Manager – (571) 222-4943
Greg Parham, QCC Projects Manager – (571) 222-4941
Jennica Nishida, QCC Credentialing Manager, (571) 222-4944
Roxanne Bowen, QCC Coordinator , (571) 222-4945

The toll-free number (800-449-8811) and the fax number (888-353-9957) remain the same. [return to top]

Check Your Specs; Receive a Gift

Due to the wide array of discrepancies seen in project specifications calling for the AWI Quality Certification Program (QCP), the QCC is asking all woodworkers and architects to ‘Check Your Specs.’ 

Click here to ‘Check Your Specs’ now, and receive a special gift for helping us clean up the QCP specification language.

Incorrect specification of the QCP can nullify the program's ability to provide for quality assurance of doors or any millwork project, resulting in the possibility that the woodwork specified may not meet quality expectations.

Proper specification of the QCP means that the doors and millwork fabricated, finished and installed on a project will receive all of the quality assurance benefits offered by the program, including third-party project inspections by industry experts, conformance to industry-wide standards and project specifications, and access to pre-qualified QCP-accredited door and woodwork contractors.

The purpose of the QCP is to protect design professionals' reputations for delivering quality doors and millwork. Best of all, there is no charge to specify the QCP correctly. Simply click here to ‘Check Your Specs’ online and complete the form at the bottom of the page to receive your free, heat-sensitive, color-changing coffee mug.  [return to top]

Navigating the Project Compliance Inspection Report


Click here to view the entire sample report 

Since its inception, the QCC has made great strides toward improving the quality of its inspection reports. This is significant because upon completion of projects, these reports are submitted directly to the project architect, owner and any member of the construction team who requests it. The inspection report is tangible evidence of a woodworker’s commitment to exceptional quality.

The inspection report lists the project name and number, the inspection location (job site or plant) and the woodworker’s and architect’s name and company. Most important, the inspection report contains an itemized list of work reviewed by the QCP-representative (inspector) during the inspection, the grade of each item (Premium or Custom) and a photo of each. Conformities and nonconformities are clearly identified for each item inspected, along with the section of the AWI Standards that references them.

In the event of nonconformance, the inspection report makes it easy for the woodworker to refer to the proper method of fabrication, finishing or installation in order to rectify the problem and avoid it in the future. Reports are generated following each inspection, until the QCP-representative deems that the work viewed is compliant with the AWI standards and/or the specifications.

“We have really come a long way with the amount of detail provided on inspection reports,” said QCC Inspections Manager Ashley Goodin. “The reports are clear, concise and easy to interpret, which is important in boosting the image of QCP-accredited woodworkers and the industry as a whole,” Goodin said. [return to top]

QCP Test Rates Rise Significantly; Pass Rates Remain High

The number of tests taken on the Standards has risen significantly since 2008. For the first nine months of 2008, 98 tests on the AWI Quality Standards Illustrated (QSI) were completed, compared with the same period of 2011, during which 164 tests on the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) were completed.

The QSI was the prevailing standard in 2008 and was replaced by the AWS in 2009.

Pass rates for the Standards test remains high. For the first nine months of 2008, 98 percent of applicants and accredited firms passed the QSI test, compared with 73 percent of applicants who passed the AWS test during the same period of 2011.

In addition, since announced as a new requirement according to the QCP Policies in June 2011, 163 QCP Policies tests have been completed at a pass rate of 80 percent.  [return to top]

QCP for Woodworkers E-learning Opportunity Now Available from AWI

Those interested in learning more about the Quality Certification Program (QCP) can now log into AWI’s E-learning (online) portal to view a series of Webinars conducted recently on the QCP and access an extensive list of frequently asked questions pertaining to QCP accreditation and certification. Webinar topics include using the QCP to boost your bottom line, shop drawing requirements, specifications, bidding and enforcement. Best of all, the portal is available 24/7, at your convenience. Check it out at [return to top]

Why We Do What We Do

By Gordon Graham, regional QCP-representative

What is it that drives the QCP-representative to travel from Montana to Las Vegas and New Mexico; from Coeur d’Alene, Id. to China; and from Wichita, Kan. to Istanbul? We drive long miles, patiently make our way through airport security lines, sit in uncomfortable airplane seats for hours, spend our nights in motels, and eat on the run.

We do this because it’s our quest to bring quality woodwork to the end user, to pass on at least a century worth of combined industry experience to the woodworker, and to help the design professional understand and appreciate our Standards. We verify, inspect and report compliance with the AWI Standards and the project specifications. The motivation for me personally is the ability to remain active in a profession I love and stay in touch with my peers. 

It is most rewarding when a QCP-representative is assigned a project that has been awarded to a woodworker not familiar with the program or the AWI Standards, and is for all intents and purposes, lost in the process. As QCP-representatives, we spend hours by phone, email and in the shop helping QCP-participants understand the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) and guiding them toward a compliant project in sometimes remote, windswept corners of the country.

For example, I once inspected a library project in which the contractor errantly advised the woodworker that QCP certification would not be necessary. When the design professional heard this, they quickly enforced the QCP specification. Unfortunately, the woodworker was not yet QCP-accredited and the design professional refused to approve the shop drawings until accreditation was earned. In the end, the woodworker was required to become QCP-accredited and delivered a quality project that was ultimately certified. However, the woodworker could have avoided this last-minute inconvenience by becoming QCP-accredited in a more proactive manner, prior to bidding on the project. 

Likewise, QCP-representatives occasionally come across projects for which the design professional or owner believe they are entitled to more than what was specified. Fortunately, our job is to inspect projects in order to determine if both the Standards and specifications have been met, which benefits both the woodworker and the owner.

Such is the life of the QCP-representative, but make no mistake – we are happy to oblige!   [return to top]

Wood Cabinet Drawer Fronts According to the AWS

By Shows Leary, regional Q-representative

As a QCP-representative, I often come across woodworkers planning to make Premium-grade cabinets with S4S solid lumber drawer fronts with grain running horizontally for "flush" or "stile and rail" cabinet assemblies. Is this fabrication method recommended in the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS)?

Looking at section 10, pages 249 and 250, item 1.2.16, you will see illustrated samples of drawer front edge profiles. All sketches show variations on panel product with veneer (or other overlay) faces and different types of applied edges. None of these details show what appear to be solid lumber, but let’s delve deeper into the AWS.

On page 251, item 1.2.19, the layout options for stile and rail cabinets are shown. The elevation on the left shows a style of design with stiles and rails at the doors only and with the drawers running vertical with end matching of grain. The elevation on the right shows a style of design in which the doors and drawers have stiles and rails. The grain on the doors run vertical and the grain on the drawers run horizontal. For cabinets designated as stile and rail, the decision to run drawer front grain horizontally or vertically lies with the manufacturer.

On page 252, item, the layout shows all grains running vertically for flush cabinets. There is also reference to blue print and sequence matching, something not often specified with solid limber.

In the material section, page 261, item 4.2.1, we see reference to "grain or directionally patterned sheet product.” Item indicates that the grain "shall run and match vertically within each cabinet unit, including doors, drawers, false fronts and finished ends." In item, we see that for stile and rail cabinets the drawer front panels can run vertical or horizontal at the manufacturer's choice.

In the section on stile and rail cabinets, beginning on page 271, item shows the panel core of stile and rail cabinets covered by veneer, overlay or rim banding. There is no reference to solid lumber. On page 272, item, we see that solid lumber is not permitted for panels in Premium grade. (However, solid lumber panels are allowed for Custom grade if less than 13 3/4" in width per item

One last reference is found on page 285, item, where drawer fronts and false fronts are required to have "banding matched to exposed surfaces." Although, most of us likely agree that there is no need to edge band solid lumber.   [return to top]

AWI QCC Names New QCP Program Director and Inspections Manager

Former Inspections Manager Wayne Hintz has been promoted to QCP Program Director, a new position that will focus specifically on the daily management of the AWI Quality Certification Program (QCP).
Hintz is a veteran of the woodwork industry with more than 25 years of experience. He joined the QCP as a QCP-representative in July of 2005, and took on the role of Inspections Manager in September of 2009. In his new position as QCP Program Director, Hintz will oversee all aspects of the QCP, including accreditation of woodworking firms, certification of QCP projects and the management and training of all QCP-representatives.

In addition, Ashley Goodin has been promoted to Inspections Manager. Goodin is also a former QCP-representative. Most recently, he served as QCC Compliance Auditor, working alongside Hintz to review inspection reports and answer technical questions. In his new role as Inspections Manager, Goodin will be responsible for the entire project inspection process, including the review and approval of inspection reports submitted by QCP-representatives.  [return to top]