The 2012 AWCC SPECIFICATION STANDARDS MANUAL supersedes the first edition of the Standards Manual issued in 1978 and the second, third revised editions issued in 1983, 1993, and 2003 respectively. This version has been updated to be consistent with the technology world we live in and is now available as an on line product. This on line version will allow an efficient method of sourcing the necessary information required related to our industry. It also provides the links to other related products, groups and information. Updates, Improvements will be made as required.

The Specification Standards Manual has been updated to include current code requirements and latest standards and practises of the wall and ceiling industry. The Standards Manual has been prepared, updated and maintained by a Specification Standards committee formed from the AWCC membership with the purpose to produce, maintain and set the highest level of quality performance systems and acceptable standards in the construction industry.

The AWCC Specification Standards Manual is a uniquely volunteer production funded totally by the WCI as a service to the construction industry. The committee members of the AWCC have spent much of their personal time and efforts volunteering to guide, assist and review the preparation of this Standards Manual. The AWCC trusts that Design Authorities will find the Standards Manual a valued asset in preparing project specifications related to the Wall and Ceiling sector.

The AWCC Specification Standards Manual has a long history within the wall and ceiling industry. Changes in the industry and new building code standards make it necessary to continue updating the manual.

The 2012 Specifications Standards Manual Manual 5th Edition is now produced and distributed as an online product. It is available for an annual fee basis to the following groups or categories: design groups, spec writers, engineers, government, training / education, construction, associations, contractors, general public and any other groups or individuals not mentioned herein. This online format will permit updating on a more regular basis whenever necessary to incorporate changes or updates that affect the wall and ceiling industry.

The AWCC/WCI Specification Standards Manual is currently endorsed by the following Associations and Groups:

  • Association of Wall & Ceiling Contractors .
  • B.C. Wall & Ceiling Association
  • Northwest Wall & Ceiling Bureau
  • Gypsum Association
  • Plasterers Joint Management Labor Board
  • Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 38 FTI
  • Alberta Wall & Ceiling Bureau
  • Saskatchewan Drywall & Acoustical Association

The Manual is offered as a public service to those in the construction industry requiring, or specifying lathing and metal furring, interior plastering, stucco, sprayed texture finish, gypsum board and finishing, building insulation, interior steel studs and furring, wind bearing steel studs, lightweight steel framing systems, gypsum shaft systems, sprayed fireproofing, exterior insulation and finish systems, acrylic stucco finish, acoustical ceilings, acoustical wall and ceiling panels, glass fiber reinforced gypsum, glass fiber reinforced cement and access floor systems. The manual also includes a reference guide to fire and sound ratings, quality assurance standards and the glossary of terms and definitions relative to the wall and ceiling industry.

The endorsing Associations gratefully acknowledge the work of the AWCC Specification Standards Manual Committee in the preparation and drafting of this edition of the Manual. The members of the Specification Standards Manual Committee are:

  • P. Gallagher – Gallagher Bros. Construction Ltd & Current President of AWCC.
  • Orval Bernardin – Benton & Overbury Ltd.
  • Jim Hildebrandt of Raicor Contracting Ltd.
  • Artek Group Ltd.
  • Murray Corey – BCWCA

The AWCC also wishes to acknowledge the relationship between the Gypsum Association and the AWCC for the agreement to continue to provide the latest edition of the FIRE RESISTANCE DESIGN MANUAL within this AWCC Specifications Standards Manual. The Fire Resistance Design Manual is published by the Gypsum Association and is the most authoritative document for the design and control of fire rated gypsum systems. The combination of these two documents provides the industry the necessary information to construct wall and ceiling fire/sound rated systems in a correct manner that meets the codes, tested assemblies and industry standards. See www.gypsum.org

The AWCC Specification Standards Manual will be under constant review and as the need arises, periodic revisions will be issued. Suggestions toward the improvement of the manual are welcomed by the A.W.C.C. Such suggestions and any inquiries concerning the contents of the manual should be directed to the AWCC Specification Standards Committee e-mail info@awccbc.org 1-855-924-2922 (1-855-WCI-AWCC)

The AWCC Specification Standards Manual has been prepared to provide the Design Authority with a basic knowledge of the applicable products and application techniques.

Each section of the manual has been divided into four parts as follows:

Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Products
Part 3 – Application
Part 4 – Guide Specification.

Part 1Introduction describes in general terms the history and background of the various materials and systems associated with each particular section.

Part 2Products describes in generic terms products which the AWCC has accepted and established as industry standards. The terminology used to identify each particular product is consistent throughout the manual.

Part 3Application describes application procedures based on industry experience and accepted trade practise which will assure quality workmanship and application.

Part 4Guide Specification In order to provide accurate, concise and consistent project specifications and to ensure the proper use of these standards, a recommended guide specification has been developed for incorporation into project specifications and is included as Part 4 in each section of the manual. The guide specification format will allow the use of abbreviated specifications while still assuring that all the requirements pertaining to each section, as contained within the AWCC Specification Standards Manual are incorporated into the project specification.

A complete description of the contents of the AWCC Specification Standards Manual has been included under the “Scope of Manual” section.
Depending on the geographical region for which the Specifications Standards Manual will be used, the manual has been prepared and printed using metric and imperial dimensions and measurement units. A guide to the conversation to metric measurements used in the standards has been included under the “Metric Guide” section.

For the purpose of this manual the term “Contractor” where used in this standards manual refers to the “General Contractor” or “Prime Contractor”.

The term “Consultant” or “Design Authority” where used in the standards manual refers to the architect, engineer, or other specifying or design authority. The term “Consultant” is that used to describe the design authority in the Construction Document for Stipulated Price Contract – CCDC2 and other CCDC documents.

The Association of Wall and Ceiling Contractors support a pro-active approach to environmental issues, sustainable design and green building initiatives. This Standards Manual summarizes a number of the environmental opportunities available when wall and ceiling industry products are used. Various organizations, agencies, governmental jurisdictions and other sources have defined “sustainable design” and “green” buildings and building materials. Such definitions include:

Green building consists of design and construction practises that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on the environment and occupants in the areas of sustainable site planning, energy efficiency, conservation of resources, safeguarding of water, and indoor environmental quality. - U.S Green Building Council

“Sustainable design” integrates consideration of resource and energy efficiency, healthy buildings and materials, ecologically and socially sensitive land-use; and an aesthetic sensitivity that inspires, affirms and ennobles; sustainable design can significantly reduce adverse human impacts on the natural environment while simultaneously improving quality of life and economic well being. Declaration of Interdependence for a Sustainable Future, UIA / AIA World Congress of Architects, 1993

In the context of construction, a “green” or sustainable building is one that … “satisfies the physical requirements for housing human activity using resources efficiently and with minimum stress on natural systems – offering the highest environmental performance within the site, program and cost constraints.” - Ray Cole Continuing Education in Environmentally Responsible Building Design – Issues Report 1999

A large portion of the requirements for a sustainable building are the recyclability and the percentage of the recycled content of building materials and products. With respect to some basic materials included in the AWCC Standards Manual the following general information on recyclable and recycled content as it applies to “sustainable design” and “green building” is included as a guide only to assist the Design Authority. Additional information on “green” building products and their recyclability or recycled contents can be obtained from the various product manufacturers, Gypsum Association, Steel Producers Association, and Steel Recycling Institute.

Gypsum Board
Most gypsum board is available with up to 20% post-industrial and post-consumer recycled gypsum. Approximately 95% of gypsum waste generated during construction and demolition is recycled in many areas. Synthetic gypsum is a by-product of other manufacturing processes, as well as pollution control devices on coal-fired power plants. The later is often called flue-gas gypsum. Gypsum is banned from landfill disposal in many areas. Depositing gypsum in landfill can result in the release of noxious gases, especially hydrogen sulfide gas, under wet and anaerobic conditions.

Gypsum board using natural gypsum, synthetic gypsum or a blend of the two, meets or exceeds ASTM C36 product standards. The physical properties, fire resistance, finishing and laminating characteristics of board using natural gypsum or synthetic gypsum are identical.

The face and back papers of gypsum board are typically 100% recycled (post-consumer and post-industrial). The use of recycled paper requires 27 to 44% less energy than manufacturing paper from virgin wood.

The cellulose used in fiber-reinforced gypsum panels is 100% post-consumer and post-industrial recycled newsprint and typically comprises approximately 10% of the board by weight.

The main components of jointing components are Calcium Carbonate (limestone), water, clay and perlite. A small amount of latex (glue) is also added to facilitate its adhesion to drywall and drywall-tape. Joint compounds are formulated without asbestos. VOC for drywall compounds are lower than 4 grams per liter.

Steel building materials of all kinds including light gage steel framing (load bearing and non-load bearing) are 100% recyclable.

More steel is recycled each year than aluminum, paper, and glass combined. Steel can be recycled time and time again into high quality products – losing none of its basic properties during the process.

Particular steel products are not necessarily recycled to produce the same product. However, almost all steel used in buildings is recycled after the buildings are demolished or deconstructed.

Zinc coatings can be removed and recycled. Paint finishes on steel complicate the recycling process, and must be removed. Removal of paint releases toxic vapors.

Acoustic Ceilings
Ceiling systems with mineral fiber panels can contain between 18-84% recycled content depending on the manufacturer and product. Recycled content is primarily post-industrial slag wool and newsprint. Fiberglass panels can contain between 28¬31% post-consumer and post-industrial recycled fiberglass.
Steel suspension systems can contain up to 25% post-industrial and post-consumer recycled steel. Suspension systems can be recycled. Rust-prohibiting coatings typically have to be removed prior to recycling.

A large number of building products contain compounds that have a negative impact on indoor and the earth’s atmosphere. The most prominent of these compounds, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contribute to smog generation and air pollution outdoors while having an adverse effect on the health of building occupants indoors. By selecting low-emitting materials, both outdoor and indoor air quality impacts can be avoided and so provide a “green” building. However, some low-VOC materials are more expensive than conventional materials, particularly when the products are first introduced to the marketplace. Low VOC products may also be difficult to obtain for some product types. However, these problems will recede as application of low-VOC products become more commonplace. VOC content of specific building products can be obtained from the product manufacturer.

LEED TM Certification Program
All commercial buildings as defined by standard building codes are eligible for certification as a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) building. Commercial occupancies include (but are not limited to) offices, retail and service establishments, institutional buildings (libraries, schools, museums, churches, etc.), hotels and residential buildings of four or more habitable stories.

The LEED Green Building Rating System is a priority program of the US Green Building Council. It is a voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven building rating system based on existing proven technology. It evaluates environmental performance from a “whole building” perspective over a building’s life cycle, providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a “green building”. It is a self-assessing system designed for rating new and existing commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings. Different levels of green building certification are awarded based on the total credits earned.

LEED is organized into the five environmental categories of Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Indoor Environmental Quality and Materials & Resources. An additional category, Innovation & Design Process, addresses design measures not covered under the five environmental categories as well as sustainable building expertise. To earn certification, the project must satisfy all of the prerequisites and a minimum number of credits to attain LEED certification. Having satisfied the basic prerequisites of the program, the project is rated according to the degree of compliance within the credit system.


Gypsum Association: www.gypsum.org
Steel Recycling Institute: www.recycle-steel.org
Canadian Steel Producers Association: www.canadiansteel.ca
LEED US Green Bldgs: http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/LEED_main.asp
Eco-Design Resource Society: www.vcn.bc.ca/edrs/index.html


1-855-924-2922 (1-855-WCI-AWCC)