Architectural Woodwork Institute members gathered for their Orlando convention last month got an earful – about panel issues (formaldehyde, dumping, performance, adhesive show-through) – and from panels, of architectural designers and construction project managers.

AWI members peppered construction execs with questions about how bids are evaluated, and why so much detail is requested. The woodworkers also told construction managers they are being asked for too much detail in bids. In some projects, they said, construction managers task architectural woodworkers with projects where they are less woodworker, and more subcontractor and project manager, with reduced opportunities to build out and install millwork and casegoods that are their bread and butter.

AWI Panel Sessions Woodworkers also talked amongst themselves about a world in which it takes many more proposals to win smaller projects, which in aggregate generate healthy business.

But managing the projects, and communicating internally and with the clients, is increasingly a challenge. Addressing that challenge, a panel of woodworkers advised their peers on production tracking tools for work-in-progress (RIFD, barcode labels, shop ¬ oor data systems, etc.). AWI member Jonathan Adams led the audience to explore communications tools his young architectural clients use: chat rooms, Facebook and