Peers, Products, and Processes You Can Trust
Peers, Products, and Processes You Can Trust
Staying competitive requires being able to quickly verify the quality of the products, training, and business partners your company needs. The rigorous standards of our Certified Welding Fabricator (CWF) program allow you to trust, sight-unseen, the craftsmanship and expertise of every facility that’s earned AWS accreditation — and becoming accredited lets your peers know you hold the same high standards as all AWS CWF Facilities.
AWS Certified Welding Fabricator Framework
AWS CWF Facility accreditation establishes whether companies have the personnel, procedures, knowledge, and equipment to conduct proper weldments.
The CWF program is built on the AWS B5.17, Specification for the Qualification of Welding Fabricators, and the AWS QC17, Specification for AWS Accreditation of Certified Welding Fabricators, and is quality controlled through third-party audit.
AWS B5.17:2014, Specification for the Qualification of Welding Fabricators
This standard establishes the minimum requirements of the Welding Quality Program for welding fabricators, regardless of what processes or materials the job calls for. It allows customers to gauge whether a welding fabricator’s abilities meet the quality needs of their projects. Developed through an ANSI accredited consensus process, AWS B5.17 was designed by a committee of industry specialists and academic experts.
AWS QC17:2015, Specification for AWS Accreditation of Certified Welding Fabricators
Structured to meet industry demand for the certification of welding fabricators, AWS QC17 enables professionals to obtain and maintain the accreditation required to participate in the AWS Certified Welding Fabricator Program. It also lays out the requirements for facility compliance with all welding-related functions described in AWS B5.17, Specification for the Qualification of Welding Fabricators.
To ensure all companies seeking Certified Welding Fabricator Facility accreditation receive a fair and impartial audit, AWS relies on third-party audit to verify the standards of the AWS B5.17 and AWS QC17 are met.
The CWF Facility accreditation program is a streamlined process that takes you from application to accreditation with ease.
The CWF Quality Manual, Audit Checklist, and Application along with payment must be submitted. In the submission materials, you’ll identify the national or international codes and specifications in the Welding Fabricator’s Quality Manual that apply to the work your business plans to do. Once you’ve got everything together, send AWS the completed application and a copy of your modified Quality Manual specifications for review.
Following review of your application, AWS will schedule an audit with approved candidates. When the auditor arrives, an opening meeting with key personnel from your business will be held to discuss your work objectives as a CWF Facility. The auditor will then review your Quality Manual and inspect your shop. With the Audit Checklist filled out, the auditor will then hold a closing meeting where they provide a pass, fail, or pending status. In the event of a pending status, applicants will have one calendar month to fix any auditor-identified shortcomings, after which a follow-up >inspection will take place to determine whether certification can be awarded.
Meeting all specifications and passing the audit, a unique-number certificate will be issued. The certificate will contain an expiration date and reference the welding code(s) or specification(s) that state that the applicant has met the AWS certification requirements.
Three years from the date of initial certification, your facility will require recertification. To obtain the third-year on-site audit that determines your renewal status, you’ll need to ensure your company’s address remains current with the AWS certification department and have your audit application postmarked at least three months prior to your initial certificate’s expiration date.
Applications, Renewal Forms, and Quality Manuals
Whether you’re ready to become an AWS CWF Accredited Facility, looking to extend your current accreditation, or seeking AISC reciprocity, you’ll need the proper documentation to get started.
CWF Facility Accreditation Initial Application
If you’re ready to take the first step to become CWF Accredited, go ahead and grab the initial application.
CWF Internal QM & Audit Checklist
For line-by-line specifics of what it takes to become an accredited facility, or to prepare for your audit after submitting your initial application, download the Quality Manual and Audit Checklist.
CWF Third-Year Audit
Begin your reaccreditation process by downloading the CWF Third-Year Audit forms.
AISC/CWF Initial Application
To take advantage of AISC/CWF reciprocity, download the initial application.
AISC/CWF Annual Renewal
Don’t let a great opportunity run out. Make sure you maintain AWS CWF reciprocity.
If you have specific questions about CWF Facility Accreditation, send them our way.
If you’re already an American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Certified Fabricator, earning an AWS CWF accreditation is easy. The AISC and AWS reciprocity agreement enables AISC Certified Fabricators with current building structures and/or bridge certification to apply for AWS membership at a discount and with no audit requirement.
Once you’re a member, just fill out and submit the AWS/AISC Certified Welding Fabricator application, include a copy of your AISC certification, pay a minimal fee, and AWS will waive the audit and quality manual submission requirements. It’s that simple.
The suitability of a company to construct pressure vessels, bridges, or complex high-rise buildings in alignment with American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) or American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) procedures is not indicated by an AWS certification. The AWS Certified Welding Fabricator program is also not a replacement for any product-specific certification put forth by any company.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the fabricator program requirements?
Program requirements are drawn from two rigorously designed documents — the AWS QC17, Specification for AWS Accreditation of Certified Welding Fabricators; and AWS B5.17, Specification for the Qualification of Welding Fabricators — each of which was put together by industry experts and academic specialists with experience in the qualification of welding facilities. Taken together, this pair of sources sets the parameters for a company’s compliance with welding-related functions and assures, through third-party audit, that the Welding Fabricator has the personnel, organization, experience, procedures, knowledge, equipment, capability, and commitment to conduct proper weldments.
How does the accreditation process work?
Log in to your AWS member page and download the CWF Initial Application and technical documents (B5.17 and QC 17).
Submit the application along with your quality manual to the AWS Certification Department for review by an auditor.
Following acceptance of your quality manual, an auditor will contact you and arrange an on-site audit. The auditor will use the same on-site audit checklist that you have, so you’ll know what the auditor is inspecting.
The on-site audit will consist of an opening meeting, a review of your facility’s quality manual, an inspection and audit of the facility itself, and a closing meeting to discuss any findings and concerns observed by the auditor.
Your facility will have one month to respond to any outstanding actions to the satisfaction of the auditor.
Upon successful completion of all requirements and payment of fees, your facility will be certified as an AWS Certified Welding Fabricator. This certification shall remain in effect for three years, with annual internal audits in the second and third years, after which the process repeats.
How will accreditation benefit my company?
A certified company shows customers that the company won’t settle for being considered average fabricators. CWF Facilities signal to their peers that they care enough about their work to put a quality management system into place for welding operations. They demonstrate to current and potential customers the willingness to have an outside authority inspect their work and hold them to high standards. Accredited facilities demonstrate they are qualified and committed to fabricating weldments aligned with required specifications, which results in the enhanced reputation that quality work brings.
What will our company’s responsibilities be as a CWF Facility?
CWF Facilities are responsible for contract documents and procedures, material control, welding, inspection, and shipment. Facilities must maintain an internal quality control program in accordance with requirements and standards laid out in AWS B5.17, Specification for the Qualification of Welding Fabricators. While specification doesn’t require CWF Facilities to control weldment design or final coating, it doesn’t prohibit those activities.
Is CWF Facility accreditation an alternative to other quality systems, or is it a supplement to them?
AWS certification works as both an affordable alternative and a supplement to ISO-, AISC-, NADCAP-, or ASME-aligned quality systems. While it’s often viewed as the certification of choice for larger fabricators, small and medium-sized facilities often use CWF Facility accreditation as an entrance point to joining the ranks of top-tier welding fabricators that hold an elite place in the industry.