AWI & SMA Release Wood Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems Standard for Review & Vetting 

The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) and the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association (SMA) are excited to announce that the AWI SMA 0643 – Wood Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems Standard has been completed by the SMA Quality Standards Committee.

The AWI and SMA teams are now preparing to begin the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process, during which the standard will open to public comment. At the completion of this process, the AWI and SMA teams will address any comments or suggestions submitted.

AWI SMA 0643 – Wood Stair, Handrail, and Guard Systems provides standards and tolerances for the quality fabrication and field installation of wood stair, handrail, and guard systems. Further, it establishes minimum aesthetic and performance requirements intended to provide a well-defined degree of control over a project’s quality of materials, workmanship, and/or fabrication.

The standard draft is available for public comment at both AWI ( and SMA (, effective January 31 through March 16, 2020.

Individuals and organizations that wish to participate in the upcoming canvass must complete the pre-canvass registration form, regardless of whether the individual/organization has participated in any previous canvass processes. To register for the canvass body, please complete the Pre-Canvass Registration Form. For additional assistance or information, please contact Cheri Dermyre at or Terra Erb at

Regarding the development of the standard, AWI Executive Vice President Doug Hague said, “I am grateful for the collaboration between our associations to produce a standard now beginning the canvass process that will enhance the entire industry. My thanks go to the volunteer experts from SMA who contributed their time and knowledge to create this standard. SMA’s work is appreciated and will leave an imprint on our industry for many years to come. I look forward to following this standard through the ANSI process and celebrating the day it is released with an effective date.”

Terra Erb, Executive Director of the SMA stated, “The SMA is thrilled to join forces with AWI to create a standard for stairs, handrails and guard systems that aims to provide clarity across the spectrum. The proposed standard will aid in ensuring all involved in the stair design process, from planning to execution, are aware of the standard for stair creation. This clarity will allow for streamlined processes and increased customer satisfaction as all design members work from the same standard.”

The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) has produced and collaborated on the development of standards in accordance with its mission since its founding in 1953 to the present day. AWI is an ANSI-accredited Standards Developer Organization. AWI’s mission is to continually improve Standards for architectural woodwork and related interior finishes, provide education and opportunities for collaborating and sharing resources, improve AWI’s member benefits, and cultivate and strengthen relationships within the industry.

The Stairway Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) was formed in 1988 to insure the growth and prosperity of the group’s industry and craft. In 2014 the name of the association was changed to the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association to more clearly reflect its constituency of more than 70% professional stairbuilding companies from the smallest one-man shops to those among the largest in the industry. SMA Mission is: Building the greatest resource of knowledge and tools contributing to the success of our members and the stair industry.

Founded in 1918, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system and is committed to strengthening its impact, both domestically and internationally.  The Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 270,000 companies and organizations, and 30 million professionals worldwide.