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The New AWI Standards and ANSI – What It Means for Millwork

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July 19, 2022 | Bill Esler

The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) will do a presentation at IWF 2022 on the emerging AWI/ANSI Standards. Register here.

The AWI Standards book has long been like a bible for millwork and casegoods built to exacting commercial standards of construction and performance. For the latest revision of the handbook AWI adopted the formal accreditation process required by ANSI—the American National Standards Institute.

AWI became the secretariat to oversee the ANSI accreditation process, and has been releasing approved standards individually as they are completed. Sections on Finish Carpentry/Installation, Architectural Wood Casework, Wood Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems, Manufactured Wood Casework, Countertops, and Factory Finishing are approved, along with sections on Submittals, Care and Storage, and Materials.

On Wednesday, August 23 from 9-10 A.M., AWI presents an overview of the impact of these standards, which affect not only architectural millworkers, but everyone in their supply chain.

The one-hour program aims to educate manufacturers, architects, and specifiers on the new ANSI/AWI Standards, the reasoning behind choosing ANSI, and the benefits of laboratory tested manufacturing methods and materials to prove the structural performance of the casework being specified. The new standards establish requirements for product to be manufactured in absence of specifications and allow manufacturers more options to produce product that meets a required Duty Level and also fits their manufacturing processes.

Presenters include Michael McNulty, The Pearwood Group Inc.; Randy Jensen, Leonard Peterson & Co., Inc.; and Jordan Backs, who teaches woodworking at Pittsburg State University in Kansas.

One example of the process is the standard for staircases, in which AWI collaborated with the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association (SMA) to issue ANSI/ AWI SMA 0643-2021—Wood Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems Standard. “It took several years until the standard draft was ready to begin the ANSI process in the summer of 2020,” says AWI Technical Director Hunter Morrison.

The AWI Standards are a continual effort to create and update industry standards dating to 1961, when the first version of the Architectural Woodwork Quality Standards Illustrated (QSI) was developed and published. The AWI Standards include the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) and its predecessor, the QSI, along with a broad diversity of the people who contribute to its updates. They were written for the specification, construction, and installation of interior architectural woodwork.

The AWI Standards remain a definitive reference manual aimed at simplifying and clarifying guidelines, information, and principles required for the fabrication, finishing, and installation of architectural woodwork. The Standards set industry best practices, provide technical and design illustrations, and address all facets of architectural woodwork from raw lumber and veneer through factory finishing and installation.

The Standards deliver comprehensive guidance and support to:

  • Woodworkers – in delivering compliance, consistency, and quality
  • Architects – in comprehensively specifying interior woodwork elements
  • General contractors – in identifying the industry standards that the delivery and installation of millwork should meet
  • Installers, manufacturers, and suppliers – in choosing from a broad range of options that meet client needs while maintaining the integrity of workmanship
  • Drafters – in ensuring consistency and industry best practices from the first stages of a project

The current edition of the AWI Standards focuses on the structural integrity of architectural woodwork and related interior finishes rather than presenting prescriptive requirements. The intent is to allow for flexibility in following specific criteria for performance and quality when purchasing, manufacturing, or installing architectural woodwork.

AWI specifically has created AWI 100, AWI 200, AWI 300, ANSI/AWI 0621, and ANSI/AWI 0641. To access these Standards visit the Standards Overview section on the AWI site.

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