The requirements for this program are set forth in an AWS QC17, Specification for AWS Accreditation of Certified Welding Fabricators and AWS B5.17, Specification for the Qualification of Welding Fabricators. These standards define the requirement for a company's compliance with welding-related functions and assures, through third party assessment, that the Welding Fabricator has the personnel, organization, experience, procedures, knowledge, equipment, capability, and commitment to conduct proper weldments. AWS B5.17 was developed through an ANSI accredited consensus process by the AWS B5 Committee on Qualification. The B5 Committee is composed of representatives throughout industry and academia who have interests and experience in the qualification of welding personnel and facilities. AWS QC17 was developed by Subcommittee on Certification of Welding Fabricators and the AWS Certification Committee.
For welding fabricators to achieve certification, a process has been defined in AWS QC17, Standard for Accreditation of Welding Fabricators for AWS Certified Welding Fabricator Program. Written by the AWS Certification Committee and administered by the AWS Certification Department, the certification program for companies involves several steps on the road to certification.
Download the forms: CWF Initial Application and technical documents (B5.17 and QC 17) from the CWF home page. You may also request a CWF packet to be mailed to you by calling 1-800-443-9353 (305-443-9353) Ext 273. Study all of the materials to become familiar with the program requirements.
Submit the application along with your quality manual to the AWS Certification Department. An assessor will be assigned by AWS to review your quality manual and work with you to improve it if necessary.
After your quality manual has been accepted, an assessor will contact you and arrange for a date for your onsite audit. The assessor will use the same onsite audit checklist that you have, so you will know what the assessor will be looking for.
The onsite audit will consist of an opening meeting, a review of your facility's quality manual, an inspection and assessment of the facility itself, and a closing meeting to discuss any findings and concerns observed by the assessor.
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 satisfaction of all fees due, your facility will be certified as an AWS Certified Welding Fabricator. This certification shall remain in effect for a period of three years, with annual internal audits in the second and third year, after which the process repeats itself.
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DISCLAIMER: The AWS Certified Welding Fabricator program is not intended to replace any product-specific company certification program. Certification to the AWS program does not indicate the suitability of a company's welding quality assurance program to construct pressure vessels, bridges, or complex high-rise buildings in accordance with procedures approved by organizations such as the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Certification means the company cares enough about what it does that it is willing to invest the necessary resources to put a quality management system into place for its welding operations. It means that the company is willing to have someone else come in and look at what they are doing. It also shows that the company is qualified and committed to fabricate the weldments to required specifications, which results in fewer nonconformance’s to the customer. A certified company’s customers will have the assurance that it is an above-average fabricator.
AWS Certified Welding Fabricators are responsible for control of contract documents and procedures, material control, welding, inspection, and shipment. The welding fabricator is required to operate an internal quality control program, in accordance with a quality manual that meets the requirements of AWS B5.17, Specification for the Qualification of Welding Fabricators. While the specification doesn’t require a welding fabricator to control weldment design or final coating, it does not preclude those activities.
This AWS certification can be an affordable alternative or supplement to ISO-, AISC-, NADCAP-, or ASME-aligned quality systems. And while it has been the certification of choice for some of the largest fabricators, CWF also offers an excellent pathway for the small- and medium-sized facility to be recognized as among the elite group of highest-quality welding fabricators.
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