Watching AWMAC 2023 From the Stands

The Architectural Woodwork Manufacturer’s Association of Canada held their national convention in Toronto, June 8th-10th. The event was attended by industry leaders from across the country, belonging to businesses generations old and brand-spanking-new, integrated or specialized at various levels. They had come to talk shop, swap ideas, network, but most of all to celebrate the spirit and high standards of craftsmanship they share.

One Team, One Goal

The 2023 AWMAC National Convention’s theme was “One Team, One Goal”, as a way to conceptualize and acknowledge the common goals of Canadian woodworkers and millworkers through collaboration and teamwork. Together, with their association of over 400 companies, their goal is to consistently design, engineer, manufacture and install the highest quality of architectural woodwork. And I have to say that there was more than just camaraderie in the convention’s atmosphere. Nearly everyone I spoke to had a story of their shop’s machine going down or an order they were having difficulty completing before the neighboring shops volunteered their time and resources to make sure the work got done. It is that dedication to the standards of good work in support of the woodwork and millwork industry that binds the members of AWMAC together.

Wendel Clark, former Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, spoke at the convention about leadership and what he learned from playing with and against some of the greatest leaders in the NHL. Repeatedly, Clark commented on the relationship between players at the junior, senior, and international level, that “all the players, everybody is used to playing with everybody else, they know these guys”. That sense of knowing and playing together, of being a team, was present at AWMAC 2023 and is something quite antithetical to the mainstream view of stone-hearted business. Instead, as I looked around the convention hall, I realized that Wendel Clark’s focus and dedication to the good of hockey was the same cohesive vision among the members of AWMAC to the sustainable good of architectural millwork in Canada.


 The Standard

In collaboration with the Woodwork Institute, AWMAC has developed and maintains the North American Architectural Woodwork Standards (NAAWS). NAAWS is considered by many to be the definitive North American standard as a live and discursive document grounded in practice which incorporates ongoing technical advancements and improvements in industrial best practices. It sets a minimum standard for the fabrication and installation of woodwork and gives the industry an even field for materials and workmanship.  Members can submit comments for improvements and changes to NAAWS which are reviewed and then updated in the Errata Edition. Currently NAAWS 4.0 is the most recent version as of 2021.

Adherence to NAAWS standards are ensured through AWMAC’s Guarantee and Inspection Service (GIS), which makes certain, through qualified and certified industrial professionals, that the architectural work done by members meets or exceeds expectations. The inspection isn’t just a stamp of approval, it is the ultimate insurance to achieving peace of mind with your work and with your clients. GIS project owners enhance the value and quality of their investment by getting the support they need for general contractors, design professionals, and woodwork manufacturers to achieve project plans and specifications.  The process provides project owners, general contractors, design professionals and woodwork manufacturers with assurance that strict monitoring of the architectural woodwork requirements meet AWMAC’s architectural woodwork standards and is guaranteed for two years.


Here is how it works:

STEP 1: Specify the Guarantee and Inspection Service.

STEP 2: Specify the AWMAC grade required. AWMAC’s grades are Custom and Premium. Both grades may occur in a single project. If you do not specify a grade, Custom grade is the default. The Manufacturer will assure that the materials and processes will comply with AWMAC’S STANDARDS.

STEP 3: The Manufacturer will email the project to the regional AWMAC Chapter. The cost of the GIS will be part of the tendered lump sum. Once the Chapter is notified, tracking begins, inspections and reports are completed, and follow-up on compliance is conducted.

STEP 4: Once the supply and/or install of the completed architectural woodwork on a project complies with AWMAC’s STANDARDS, a two-year guarantee on the architectural woodwork will be issued to the AWMAC Manufacturer Member.

Ultimately, AWMAC is the result of industrial leaders coming together for the sustainable future of the woodwork and millwork industry by making sure that we as a country of professionals are playing the same game by the same rules to the benefit of the craft. If you or your business are not AWMAC members, you should seriously consider joining. See you at next year’s National AWMAC convention and thank you to the amazing AWMAC team members for being so informative and welcoming.

Here is a message from AWMAC’s National President, Jeff Clermont:

I would like to express sincere gratitude to those who attended and supported the 2023 AWMAC National Convention in Toronto.  Your presence and engagement helped to make it a success.  I hope that you found the convention to be both enjoyable and a learning experience while gaining valuable insight and connections. We value your support and look forward to seeing you at future events.  Ensuring the Association continues to strive as “One Team, One Goal” will be one of our main focuses the next year.



Kind Regards,

Jeff Clermont

AWMAC National President



Tyler Holt is the Editor of Wood Industry / Le monde du bois magazine. He has a master’s degree in literature and publication, and years of experience in the publishing and digital media industry. His main area of study is the effect of digital technologies on industrial and networked production.


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