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Quality Times | News and updated from the AWI Quality Certification Corporation
Spring 2011
In This Issue:
Top News
•  The QCP Threshhold for Reasonable Compliance Provides for Factors Beyond Woodworker Control
•  Check Your Spec
•  Put the Q to Work for You: Register Your Project
•  Risk-management and Sustainability: Additional Benefits of Certification Programs
•  Tell Us How We Are Doing: Surveys Forthcoming
•  QCC Welcomes Greg Shenkler as QCC Board of Directors President
The View from Here
•  We Are Listening
Tech Talk
•  Closet and Utility Shelving According to the AWS
Rep. Spotlight
•  Greg Parham
Upcoming Events
•  QCC to Participate in the Following Events
Q Top News
The QCP Threshhold for Reasonable Compliance Provides for Factors Beyond Woodworker Control
By Wayne Hintz, QCC Inspections Manager

No matter how carefully a project is planned and managed, sometimes “real world” factors or plain old jobsite chaos can intervene to dictate the end result, even after a woodworker has done everything possible to assert control. Where that project is required to be inspected and certified, QCP Policies recognize that occasionally circumstantial factors cannot be ignored when determining compliance. This was the case for two large university projects: The University of Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Texas A&M New Music Building.

UW Institute for Discovery
The focus of the UW project was Premium-grade solid Cherry “slat walls.” This decorative feature was comprised of approximately 5,400 pieces of 1” thick clear-finish boards of various widths. These were “stacked” horizontally, in some cases over 40 high, at a spacing of 1”. The boards’ edges comprised the “faces” of the slat walls. The Q-representative inspecting the project noted two color- and grain-matching issues related to these assemblies.

The first was relatively small in scale, involving insufficient color matching between a few adjacent glued-up members comprising a single “slat.” The woodworker acknowledged the resulting conspicuous “side-by-side” color contrast of these slat edges. This was corrected by applying a continuous wood edgeband of consistent color along the entire edge length of the problematic slats.

The second compliance issue was more challenging. The project was specified under the Quality Standards Illustrated (8th Edition), which requires that adjacent members of Premium-grade factory-produced trim assemblies be “well matched for grain and color” (300-T-9). The inspector reported that in the largest area (75’ in diameter), many adjacent “stacked” slats did not meet that requirement. In a written response, the woodworker asserted that for the large volume of radiused Cherry lumber required, a uniform Premium-grade grain- and color-match throughout the larger slat walls could not be reasonably expected, especially with the clear, stainless finish. Nevertheless, steps were taken to optimize the result. Selection and color matching of slat components was achieved to the extent possible. To mitigate sapwood frequency, quarter sawn material was used. In addition, a slat wall mock-up had been purposely exposed to natural light for four months and then compared with newly installed slat walls. This demonstrated to the architect and owner how the fixtures on site would over time develop a light-induced patina, tending to make the color more uniform. (This was verified to have occurred by the Q-representative during a subsequent inspection.) It was also pointed out that any slat-to-slat contrast was noticeably heightened by black acoustical panels installed directly behind some of the walls. This visually extreme background caused slats, which appeared to be reasonably well matched in the plant, to be far less so after installation.

In this case, the woodworker did not achieve the “letter of the law” with respect to the Standards. However, he did offer a forthright, detailed, documented and credible argument as to why “absolute compliance” would not be a reasonable expectation in the case of the slat wall features. The project was certified.

Texas A&M New Music Building
Inspection of the Texas A&M New Music Building identified compliance issues with two Premium-grade vertically “stacked” replacement panels that interrupted a blueprint-matched sequence on the concert hall stage. The need for these replacements arose when a scaffold’s caster rolled into a cutout (by others) in the stage floor. The scaffold tipped over, damaging one of the original paired panels beyond repair. The woodworker wisely sent both panels back to the manufacturer with instructions to fabricate replacements, matching them as closely as possible to the originals.

Because nothing remained of the original numbered flitch specified for the project, similar veneer had to be located and utilized. Importantly, the width of the original leaves was copied. After careful finishing (adjusted for color after QCP input), the result was replacement panels which were well-matched with their adjacent counterparts as required for Premium grade. Although technically they could never be part of the original blueprint sequence, they were nevertheless inconspicuous after installation. The woodworker’s due diligence was evident, and no better outcome was physically possible. As in the UW example above, the woodworker provided QCP with detailed written background and technical considerations which guided their decisions. The project has since been certified.

What these two examples have in common is the application of QCP policy 4.7.15, which states: “Because of the variations in wood and manufacturing processes it is understood that with respect to compliance inspection and testing, a reasonable assessment of the performance of the finished product will be weighed [by the QCP representative] against absolute compliance with the Standard.”

The Standards are measureable and objective by design. A compliance assessment of any particular item is almost always a straightforward affair. However, there are times when an absolute and literal application of a particular standard is unreasonable when factors, which are clearly beyond the woodworker’s control, are unavoidable. Policy 4.7.15 authorizes Q-representatives to consider the circumstances when necessary. Clear and sufficient information from the woodworker is often the key to understanding those circumstances.  

Check Your Spec

Proper specification is key to ensuring quality doors

A recurring problem with specifications include requirements for QCP or AWI that don’t exist or are simply wrong. This is problematic because incorrect use of the Quality Certification Program (QCP) specification language can nullify the program's ability to provide for quality assurance of doors or any millwork project, resulting in the possibility that the woodwork you specify may not meet your expectations.

For example, in Division 8 (the doors section of specifications) a commonly found incorrect specification is: 

“Provide AWI Quality Certification Program labels, or an AWI Letter of Licensing indicating the project conforms to the grades specified.” 

The problem with this language is that there is no such license, but some manufacturers create such a letter to get around certification.

QCC staff recently met with and convinced ARCOM, the AIA division that publishes MasterSpec, to repair the template language, but this only effective for specifiers using the new template. The vast majority of the specifications in use still use the incorrect specification language noted above.

The Correct QCP Spec
To correctly specify the QCP, utilize the language below:

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 Q-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 check your specs to ensure utilization of the correct QCP spec language above.

Put the Q to Work for You: Register Your Project

The simple act of registering your QCP project with the AWI Quality Certification Corporation (QCC) offers many benefits to woodwork contractors, architects and owners alike. Registration of a project during bid ensures that this prerequisite to certification is undertaken prior to commencement of fabrication.

Most importantly, project registration provides QCC with an opportunity to contact all applicable members of the construction team to confirm that the QCP specification will be upheld. This is of particular benefit to woodwork contractors who have invested significant amounts of time, effort and money to become pre-qualified to certify QCP projects.

“As standard procedure, for example, once a project is registered, we contact the architect, general contractor and/or woodworker confirming the QCP specification,” said AWI QCC Project Manager Justine Godown. “If a non-accredited woodworker wins the project, the construction team is contacted again, and informed that the contractor selected for the project may not provide QCP labels or certificates of compliance unless they become Q-accredited, which can take several months,” Godown said. The pre-qualification aspect of Q-accreditation is a powerful marketing tool, and one that woodwork contractors should utilize during the bid process.

Architects and general contractors also benefit from registering QCP-specified projects. Once in QCC’s system and after the Q-accredited woodworker pays the certification fee, projects are eligible for inspection services upon request or as needed. In addition, the QCC is readily available to provide general education on the benefits of the specification and program services. These services are available for all projects in which the QCP is specified.

Perhaps best of all, project registration is fast and completely free of charge! Any member of the construction team (including those bidding the project) may register a project simply by completing a brief form on our Web site. Click here to register now.

To ensure you receive the full benefits of registration, make sure to register your QCP-specified project early on -- in the design, bid or shop drawing stage.

Risk-management and Sustainability: Additional Benefits of Certification Programs
By AWI Quality Certification Corporation Executive Vice President Craig Elias

The following letter-to-the-editor was submitted to Construction Specifier magazine in response to an article published in their January 2011 issue:

The Architectural Woodwork Institute’s Quality Certification Corporation (AWI QCC) applauds “Certification Programs: Creating the right environment for quality and safety,” published in the January 2011 issue of Construction Specifier. The authors, Brian Miller, PE LEED AP, and Dean Frank, PE, did an excellent job of summarizing the integral role of certification programs throughout the entire construction process. Click here to read the article.

In particular, the authors’ assessment of certification programs as more than just a checklist, but rather a dynamic, pervasive system of knowledge, which aims to ensure safety and project quality while saving time and money is right on target. These benefits are also paramount to the AWI Quality Certification Program (QCP); however, there are some additional benefits to certification, such as risk-management and sustainability.

Managing risk and reducing liability are important aspects of many certification programs. For example, responsibility for top-notch architectural woodwork lies with a whole team of professionals: woodworkers, finishers and installers, to name a few. Testing, inspection and ultimately certification by an impartial, third-party certification body, such as the QCP, is the only way to ensure that all parties are on the same page and playing by the same rules.

Consider “board-certified” medical professionals. Like Q-accredited woodworking firms, board-certification ensures physicians and dentists meet specific, ongoing competency requirements; however, the same cannot be said for those who are not board-certified.

Sustainability is an inherent, but frequently overlooked benefit of certification programs. The thought of harvesting endangered wood species and depletion of irreplaceable resources is appalling. The construction industry should not tolerate the fabrication of natural resources into products that fail to endure or fulfill their intended function; otherwise, industry efforts toward sustainable harvesting will be for naught. Adherence to quality standards, such as those set forth in the Architectural Woodwork Standards and enforced by the QCP, help ensure architectural woodwork projects meet specifications and quality requirements that enhance functionality and durability, thus reducing the need for rework, and eliminating unnecessary waste of natural resources.

In closing, the AWI QCC also commends the authors on their assessment that the most effective certification programs are those that are part of a comprehensive quality system. The AWI QCC recognizes the value of a quality management system (QMS) and has in fact, recently implemented its own QMS, based upon internationally recognized ISO 9001:2008 standards. The QMS plays a critical role in QCC’s commitment to continual improvement of the QCP and pursuance of additional certification initiatives, such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody certification going forward.

Tell Us How We Are Doing: Surveys Forthcoming
The QCC is distributing brief surveys to all Q-certified woodworking firms and QCP project architects. When you receive the survey link via email, please take a few moments to complete it and let us know how we’re doing. The survey consists of a handful of questions, and should only take a minute or two to complete. We are committed to continual improvement for the benefit of our customers, but we need your feedback!
QCC Welcomes Greg Shenkler as QCC Board of Directors President

The QCC is pleased to announce that effective Jan. 1, 2011, Greg Shenkler officially took the reins as President of the AWI QCC Board of Directors. Originally from Maryland, Greg attended North Carolina State University, where he received a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1997. Greg is approaching eight years with Skanska USA Building, where he is currently a Senior Project Manager for university and medical center projects at Duke University. Greg resides in Raleigh, N.C. with his wife, Lisa.

Greg replaces Dean Rummel, president and COO of TMI Systems Design, who has completed his two-year term as president of the AWI QCC board. “We are grateful to Dean for his commitment and leadership over the past two years, during which he helped us expand and improve our certification services,” said QCC Executive Vice President Craig Elias. “We also look forward to the insight Greg brings to the position of president.”

Q The View from Here
We Are Listening
By Greg Shenkler, QCC president and senior project manager, Skanska USA

Since its inception, the QCC has focused its efforts on promoting the Quality Certification Program (QCP) as a means to ensuring that interior architectural woodwork, one of the most highly visible aspects of many construction projects, meets project specifications and industry standards. Recently however, the QCC has expanded its vision to better serve the needs of the architectural woodwork community. For example, with the rollout of the Q-certified product initiative, the QCP has responded to the needs of the market by creating a simpler process for the certification and labeling of wood doors. In the future, QCP will work to adapt the Q–certified product initiative to other products as well.

Additionally, the QCC has taken steps to address the needs of the woodwork community during this depressed economy by extending the renewal deadline for woodworking firms and by adopting a triennial system for shop re-inspections. Finally, QCC’s latest endeavor to provide FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certification is also in response to the requests of the woodworking community to help simplify a time consuming process. By the end of 2011, QCC plans to have the Q3C (FSC CoC certification program) ready to launch.

Hopefully you’re already aware of these new initiatives and the positive changes we’re bringing to QCP. The point that I would like to reiterate is that all of these new services and policy changes are driven directly by the feedback we receive from the woodworking and design communities. We’re listening, and our ears and eyes are always open to new suggestions and ideas for additional services or policy improvements. We want to hear about your successes with the program, but also your challenges. If we’re falling short, we want to know why. Let us know how the Q helps position your firm for long-term growth, so that we can respond and provide services that better meet the demands of the architectural woodwork community. You have the opportunity to help drive the future direction of the QCP.

Feel free to contact me ( or any of the QCC staff with your comments or suggestions. We’re listening.

Q Tech Talk
Closet and Utility Shelving According to the AWS
By Shows Leary, QCC director and regional Q-representative

Specifications for closet and utility shelving vary between the current standard (the Architectural Woodwork Standards or AWS) and the previous standard (the AWI Quality Standards Illustrated or QSI). As you may recall, the QSI had a separate section devoted to closet and utility shelving -- section 600. In the AWS, closet and utility shelving is now found in section 6 - Interior and Architectural Millwork, which begins on page 135 and continues on page 144.

As seen in section of the AWS, the core materials for adjustable shelving range from MDF, UV-filled particleboard or veneer-core product for Custom grade, to MDF, thermoset overlay on particleboard or veneer-core product for Premium grade.

If the shelf system requires clothes rods or hooks, the wall cleats, as seen in section, are required to be a minimum of 3/4" x 3 1/2". If no clothes rods or hooks are used, then the cleats can be a minimum of 3/4" x 1 1/2". In addition, note that per section, wood clothes rods must be a minimum 1 3/8" in diameter.

For loose wall-to-wall shelving, the woodworker is required to ship shelf sections long for field fitting, cut to width and edged along with cleats furnished in lineal footage.

If the shelf length exceeds 36", the shelf must be made of 1" thick material, consist of one of the materials listed in section and have a minimum 3/4" x 3 1 1/2" applied front-drop cleat. Unlike cabinet shelving (see pages 277-280 in section 10 of the AWS), core materials for shelving are limited, and for all conditions over 36" must be 1" thick.

Due to differences between the QSI and the AWS, it is highly advised that the manufacturer and supplier thoroughly review these and other sections of the AWS that directly relate to their line of work for any deviations from the QSI. Suggestions for corrections, clarifications or improvements to the AWS are welcome by the AWI Technical Committee. Some issues are already under review by the Joint Standards Committee, and will be addressed with the release of the AWS, 2nd Edition. Click here to submit questions and comments regarding the AWS.  

Q Rep. Spotlight
Greg Parham

Greg has more than 23 years of experience in the woodwork industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Furniture Manufacturing and Management from North Carolina State University. Greg began his career as a CNC programmer, and later moved into product engineering. Eventually, Greg moved into production, where he honed his woodworking, finishing and management skills. This led to the establishment of his own cabinet and custom woodworking company. Greg later joined a store fixture and millwork firm as the Director of Operations, doing work for Kohl’s, Callaway Golf and several high-end boutique stores and golf resorts along the east coast, from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic. In 2005, Greg moved to the Pacific Northwest to join a start-up company as Director of Production and Design. Greg currently resides in the Seattle area with his wife. He is the Q-representative responsible for conducting inspections in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada. 

Q Upcoming Events
QCC to Participate in the Following Events

AWI Spring Professional Development and Leadership Conference
“Introduction to QCP: Maximizing Your Participation” by Greg Lutz and Mike Bell
When: May 12, 2011
Where: St. Louis, MO
Information: Click here for additional details and hotel information.

AIA Convention & Exposition
Booth # 1565
When: May 12-14, 2011
Where: New Orleans Morial Convention Center
Information: Click here for additional details and hotel information.

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Get Accredited
Contact Us
Congratulations to the following companies that recently earned Q-accreditation. Look for these and more than 500 other Q-accredited woodworkers at

Acme Constructors, Inc.
St. Louis, MO
Accreditation Date: 2/22/2011
AWS Sections: P11 E, P10 E, P9 E, P8 E, P6 E
Bergan Architectural Woodwork
Middletown, CT
Accreditation Date: 1/12/2011
AWS Sections: P8 E, P8, P7 E, P7, P6 E, P6.3, P5
Boswell-Olsen Enterprises, Inc.
Lindon, UT
Accreditation Date: 3/11/2011
AWS Sections: P8.3, P11 E, P11, P10.1, P8 E, P10 E, C10.1, P10.3, P8.1, P5
Creative Concepts of Orlando
Longwood, FL
Accreditation Date: 1/19/2011
AWS Sections: C8.2, C8.1, C6 E, P11, P10 E, P8 E, P6.1, P5
Custom Fixture Company
Richmond, VA
Accreditation Date: 3/24/2011
AWS Sections: C11 E, C11, C10 E, C10.3, C10.2, C10.1, C8.1, C6.3, 1, P5
Exact Millworks, LLC
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Accreditation Date: 1/17/2011
AWS Sections: P11 E, C10 E, P11
Fallston Supply Inc.
Forest Hill, MD
Accreditation Date: 3/4/2011
AWS Sections: P11 E, P10 E, C10.3, P8 E, P8.2, P11, P10.1, P8.3, P8.1, P6.1
Franken Construction
Las Vegas, NM
Accreditation Date: 12/29/2010
AWS Sections: P5, P10, P10.1, P10.2, P10.3, P10 E, P11, P11 E
J.E. Dunn Construction Co.
Kansas City, MO
Accreditation Date: 3/23/2011
AWS Sections: P12 E, P11 E, P10 E, P9 E, P8 E, P6 E
J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc.
Madison, WI
Accreditation Date: 2/25/2011
AWS Sections: P12 E, P11 E, P10 E, P9 E, P8 E, P7 E, P6 E
NC Group
Houston, TX
Accreditation Date: 2/25/2011
AWS Sections: P11 E, P11, P10 E, 1, P10.3
Osburn Cabinets and Design
Grand Junction, CO
Accreditation Date: 2/9/2011
AWS Sections: C11 E, C11, C6 E, C10 E, C10.3, C10.2, C6.3, P5, 1, P8 E
Phipps Cabinets Inc.
Dothan, AL
Accreditation Date: 2/3/2011
AWS Sections: C11 E, C11, P10 E, P10.3
R. e. d. CONSTRUCTION INC., dba 3V Company
Houston, TX
Accreditation Date: 2/25/2011
AWS Sections: P11 E, P11, P10 E, P10.3, P10.1, P8 E, P8.3, P8.1, P6 E, P6.3, P5, 1
R.B. Woodcraft, Inc.
Syracuse, NY
Accreditation Date: 12/13/2010
AWS Sections: P8.3, P8.2, P8.1, P6.1, 1, P5
Specialty Cabinets, Inc.
Belton, MO
Accreditation Date: 1/10/2011
AWS Sections: P10 E, P11 E, P11, P10.3
Specialty Wood Manufacturing
Tacoma, WA
Accreditation Date: 2/9/2011
AWS Sections: P6.1, P10 E, P10.3, P10.1, P10, P11 E, P11, P8 E, P8.3, P8.2, P8.1, P8, P6 E, P5, 1
Stanly Fixtures Company
Norwood, NC
Accreditation Date: 1/6/2011
AWS Sections: P12 E, P11 E, P10 E, P9 E, P8 E, P7 E, P6 E, P8, P11, P10.3, P10.2, P10.1, P10, P6.1
Windham Millwork
Windham, ME
Accreditation Date: 3/7/2011
AWS Sections: P6.3, C11, P9 E, C8.1, P8 E, P12, P11 E, P6 E, P5
Wood Concepts, Inc.
Cleveland, OH
Accreditation Date: 12/9/2010
AWS Sections: P10.3, P10.1, P11
Woodward Millwork Group
Goodbee, LA
Accreditation Date: 3/11/2011
AWS Sections: P11 E, P11, P10 E, P6 E


AWI QCC Board of Directors

Greg Shenkler
QCC President
Skanska Building USA
Raleigh, NC

Steve Bialek
Englewood, CO 

Tim Byrne
Woodbyrne Cabinets
St. Louis, MO

Doug Carney
R & S Casework, Inc.
Fargo, ND

Philip Duvic *
Architectural Woodwork
Potomac Falls, VA

Gordon Graham
Dillon, MT

Matt Lundahl
Meyer and Lundahl
Phoenix, AZ

William A. Munyan, AIA, CSI
R&M Group PLLC
Charlotte, NC

Patrick Nartker *
2008-2009 AWI
QCC Treasurer
Ted Bolle Millwork, Inc.
Springfield, OH

Dean Rummel
TMI Systems Design
Dickinson, ND

* ex officio
The board, which convenes in the fall each year, is responsible for program oversight, including policies and budgets.


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