It has come to the attention of the Woodwork Institute that questions about NAAWS versus AWS2 were raised in AIA’s private LinkedIn Group.

Following is WI’s response.

First, WI greatly appreciated the collaboration among AWI, AWMAC and WI on the Architectural Woodwork Standards, editions 1 and 2. However, AWI chose to pursue ANSI SDO accreditation without AWMAC and WI. AWMAC and WI were fully invested in the AWS and wished to continue on with it. The two organizations thus chose to create the new North American Architectural Woodwork Standards. NAAWS incorporated all outstanding errata from the AWS, as well as other items of interest: seismic issues, nontraditional materials, antimicrobial materials, recycled and reclaimed wood, and laboratory grade casework, (items which were not jointly agreed to by the Joint Standards Committee — the committee who oversaw development and maintenance of the AWS — for either AWS edition). AWMAC has not yet adopted the standards, but only because they are waiting to release both French and English Canadian versions of NAAWS at the same time. This should happen toward the end of 2016. In light of the work that AWI contributed to the AWS, we do consider that they indirectly contributed to NAAWS. However, they are not collaborators of such.

Second, as to real standards or imposters, both AWS2 and NAAWS are real standards, though NAAWS is more encompassing and up to date. As well, NAAWS is a living document, allowing for errata, updates, and changes to be made currently, while the AWS2 is not. The Joint Standards Committee has been dissolved. Thus AWS2 is no longer being maintained, no errata can be issued, no improvements can be made.

Both AWS2 and NAAWS can be specified, though considering that NAAWS references much of the AWS2, and is a maintained document, WI’s position is that this is the better document. Though Mr. Goodin mentions that specifying to the AWS2 will allow the widest selection of qualified manufacturers, WI has always inspected and certified any project regardless of “qualifications.” We do encourage firms to use Accredited Millwork Companies, but recognize that there are firms that produce quality work that are not affiliated with AWI or WI, and we see no reason to penalize them for their choice not to be.

While we understand that AWI’s position is to continue specifying AWS2 because this is the only standard to which their programs can certify millwork, we believe that is a position easily overcome. WI anticipates being able to certify any project to any woodworking standard. Thus once AWI releases its ANSI standard (we don’t anticipate the ANSI standard will be released anytime soon) we should be able to inspect a project to that standard as well as our NAAWS standard.

Click here for more information on the North American Architectural Woodwork Standards.

If you have additional questions, you may contact Heather Zertuche, Director of Certification and Inspection Services, at heather@woodinst.com or 916-372-9943.