Division 6 vs. Division 12
Top Benefits to Choosing Architectural Casework and Specifying Division 12
In the depths of project completion, you face thousands of decisions. The good news, however, is that making specification decisions about your project’s cased goods does not have to be difficult. There are a few key factors that can point you in the right direction for choosing between Division 06 “Millwork” and Division 12 “Engineered Casework”.
Casework vs. Millwork
The Architectural Woodwork Institute establishes that, “The main difference between millwork and wood casework is that millwork is usually bespoke, and built to solve a client’s specific needs. Casework typically–but certainly not always–refers to prefabricated or modular pieces of furniture.”
Division 06, as categorized by The Construction Specifications Institute’s MasterFormat®, includes items like architectural woodwork, rough carpentry, and wood trim. Division 12 occupies the casework category with items including specialty casework, education casework, and healthcare casework.
While both millwork and casework can refer to cabinetry, the specification differences can have lasting impacts on your design practice. Choosing the correct division can ultimately save you time and money while ensuring a quality completed project.
Why Choose Division 12 for your casework?
Factors such as consistency across projects, clarity of specifications, and longer warranties make up some of the major benefits of choosing Division 12 – Engineered Casework. To break these benefits down farther, listed below are twelve specific reasons for specifying Division 12 and how they make your job easier and more efficient.
1. Consistency & Repeatability
The first benefit to choosing engineered casework over millwork is the consistency of your design solutions. By removing the extra work of specifying and detailing that goes into millwork, engineered casework opens the door for simple solutions to be used again and again. This repeatability establishes simple and seamless cabinet construction across your project and portfolio. Especially, if a large project includes several phases, consistency is critical to the overall experience of your design.
Machined for modular flexibility and interchangeability, engineered casework eliminates the hassle of parts and pieces construction that requires extra time in both design and construction administration phases. This kind of flexibility built into a design offers your clients simple solutions across their project, developing familiarity and comfort.
Published and readily available testing data is a bonus to engineered casework solutions. Product longevity, durability of construction, and hardware coordination come into question with the infrequent testing of millwork construction and components. In contrast, lasting performance, appropriate hardware, and overall engineering are elements of the standard and readily available engineered casework testing. As the architect, you can now select a basis of design that falls within the Architectural Woodwork Standards.
4. National Reputation
An overlooked benefit of specifying Division 12 engineered casework is the reality that behind the manufacturer is a longstanding nationwide reputation. Establishing this kind of notoriety takes time and maintaining it takes dedication. This filters down through a company and helps ensure quality at every step of the process, from design to specification to installation.
5. Clear Specifications
The blurriness of custom millwork interpreted by independent builders is frustrating for all involved. In contrast, clear specifications benefit the entire project team. Owner, architect and contractor benefit from standard and recognizable specifications with less confusion, minimized paperwork, and fewer project changes. Eliminating guesswork, engineered casework offers clear readily available specifications for products in specific industries such as laboratories, healthcare, and educational facilities.
6. Cataloged Library
Commercial projects directly benefit from the complete catalog offered by engineered casework. Categorized and organized individual cabinets and assemblies optimize your decision-making process through both aesthetic and functional requirements and benefits. Large institutional commercial projects require large institutional solutions and being able to find that solution easily removes the customization required for bespoke millwork.
7. Liability for Performance
When cabinets are built per architectural details, the liability of performing the design falls onto the architect. When a casework assembly is engineered for specific market and institutional needs, the liability for the performance for that piece shifts to the factory that produced it. Enough said there.
8. SEFA Certification
Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association (SEFA) established in the late 1980s “advances the goal of creating a safe “Laboratory Grade” environment.” SEFA has established ten recommended practices for the production and management of various laboratory equipment, including casework and casework systems. The assurance that a product you are specifying can comply with these certification requirements guarantees a smooth process of approvals for you and your client.
To keep this short and sweet, a lot more can happen in five years than one. With a minimum five-year warranty for engineered casework, your client is guaranteed both a long-lasting product and a peace of mind. Comparatively, most millwork items are warrantied for only one year.
Large projects demand large capacity manufacturing. While a typical millwork shop may only produce fifty or so cabinets a day, a Division 12 manufacturer produces 15 times that amount or more. When casework is often one of the final installation items, timely delivery and shorter lead times keep your project moving along easily and on time.
11. Financial Stability
The last two years have taught us that anything can happen. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the manufacturing industry lost about 1.4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs during the early days of the pandemic. Having seen this reality first hand, being able to rely on the long-standing tradition and financial stability of a manufacturer cannot be overstated.
All design elements and decisions for custom Division 06 millwork rest on the designer. This leaves little room for standardization across those decisions. With a vast selection of standard pre-engineered cabinets, Division 12 manufacturers simplify the design process while simultaneously offering personalization and custom capabilities. You can have your cake and eat it too!
Division 12 Outweighs Division 06
These twelve benefits support the reality that architects can save time and money while simultaneously designing quality spaces. Offering your client timely, reliable, customizable, reputable products for their space does not have to generate hours of detailing and coordinating. With a Division 12 manufacturer partner, quality intent and quality products align. With all of those decisions to make, the choice in specifying Division 12 is simple.