The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) is a nonprofit trade association that represents nearly 4000 members consisting of architectural woodworkers, suppliers, design professionals and students from around the world. Lantz Custom Woodworking was a member of AWI from 2008 until 2017.
Among other things, AWI publishes a Quality Standards manual that can be used by design professions to specify cabinet construction. This is especially important when architects, designers or home owners want to get comparable pricing from multiple shops. The quality standards divides cabinet construction into three level of quality, specifying acceptable construction methods, finishes and tolerances for each level. This ensure comparable quotes between shops and clarifies owner expectations.
In addition to membership, shops can also choose to pursue in AWI’s quality certification program. The idea behind the program is that shops go through a certification process to prove competency in the standards. In theory, this assures that a certified shop will provide products that meet the specified standard. The reality, however, may be quite different. Lantz Custom Woodworking has never pursued this level of certification and does not plan to do so in the foreseeable future. Our experience is that labels do not truly guarantee quality and merely serve to add cost to a job. That said, Lantz Custom Woodworking is familiar the AWI quality standards and, as we have done in the past, we will guarantee that the product we deliver will always meet or exceed this standard, regardless of whether or not it has a label.
For designers that are considering specifying AWI quality standards, be aware that insistence on application of certified labels can prevent conscientious shops from bidding on the project and may not guarantee the quality that you hope to get. A good understanding of the standards that you specify is the best way to ensure quality millwork is used in your projects. If you have any questions regarding AWI or the Quality Standards manual, please do not hesitate to contact us.