Architecture and Design is proud to announce TPS as the official sponsor of the ‘Commercial Architecture (small)’ category at the 2019 Sustainability Awards. 

In the lead up to the Sustainability Awards, we spoke to Steven Woolcock, the Director at TPS, to discuss the company’s multifaceted commitment to sustainability and their plans for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Including your background, position and role at TPS? 

I originally started in the construction industry in 1994 after completing my science degree, and was lucky enough to be part of the original expansion of insulated fire rated glazing systems into Australia by Forster and Pilkington way back in 2003.  TPS was started in 2010 to further develop the fire rated glazing market by becoming the exclusive agent for Forster profile systems (swiss based supplier of steel door and window framing profiles) and also becoming the exclusive Australian processing partner for Pilkington fire rated glass.  With the changing market for both energy and steel window systems, we have continuously expanded our product offering to meet our customer’s demands.

What is the role of TPS in the industry and how do your range of Pilkington, Forster Profile Systems products separate you from other suppliers?  

We are the wholesalers for both Forster and Pilkington products through a network of approved fabricators that are trained and supported by our office, and obtain their product either from our comprehensive local warehouse and glass processing facility, or by direct shipment to their factory.  Fire doors and windows are always approved as a ‘system’, and so, by providing access to both frame and glass from the one source, we are better able to support the door and window industry to ensure that only certified products are provided.

What is the TPS approach to sustainability and how has this changed and developed over the company’s history? 

We have partnered with two international companies (Forster and Pilkington) who have sustainability front and centre in their product and business approach – Steel frames from Forster are all fully recyclable, and Pilkington glass is also fully recyclable. 

At TPS, we extend this further by concentrating our product range to focus on energy conservation solutions, as well as highlighting the benefits of fire rated glass compared to alternatives that require ongoing maintenance and the guarantee of unrestricted and supply of water to provide fire safety.

Our internal operations always preference reused packaging over new, and always preference recyclable materials.  Our very small wastage footprint is actually the by-product of 10 years of efficient and continuous product supply. This approach has allowed us to be the largest and longest continuous processor of fire rated glass in Australia. Our company philosophy is for high quality, high performance products, supported by the best service and knowledge in the industry.  This approach significantly reduces material and energy wastage supply, reduces the likelihood of ongoing maintenance and replacement costs, and ensures a long, cost and energy effective lifespan.

Since Grenfell, fire resistant materials are front and centre of the collective conscious. How do TPS products work for fire resistance?  

All of our products are rigorously tested to many international standards, and of course meet the requirements of our local standards.  We ONLY support products where performance is evidenced by tests – we do not support products that are not backed by tested performance, and do not supply components to be used in non-tested scenarios. In the fire protection industry, this this can literally be the difference between life and death.

Offering fire and cyclone resistant framing systems, TPS is particularly suitable for the Australian climate. How do you respond to the changing environmental demands within both and Australian and global context?

Australia has lagged behind most other developed countries in relation to energy conservation and the use of fire protection glazing, but the last 10 years has seen a rapid improvement in the understanding and use of glass for a variety of high performance applications, especially in relation to commercial fire and bush fire protection.

As market demands for energy, security, and fire protection (for example) mature, TPS can draw on the extensive knowledge and product range from our two partner companies to ensure that we continue to offer the most comprehensive range of products to meet our changing demand.

What are the environmental credentials around steel?

Thankfully the production of raw steel is becoming less environmentally polluting in many countries through the use of alternative smelting techniques which have greatly reduced CO2 emissions.  When also considering the ease of reclamation and reuse of steel products, this allows for an incredibly long life cycle, with a very low life-cycle environmental footprint.  The strength and durability of steel (which means less material is required) is also a significant factor in justifying the environmental benefits of steel.

Windows and doors play an essential role in maximising the energy efficient of buildings. Can you expand on this?

Windows and doors have always been the bridge between the outside and the inside.  With an improved understanding of energy movement via thermal and radiant processes, improvements in building and product design and performance haves allowed for more efficient use of light, temperature and air to improve building liveability, without sacrificing safety and aesthetics.  The products offered by TPS add to range of solutions that enable designers to push the boundaries of design, without compromising safety and performance.

What role do you think the Sustainability Awards play in informing conversations and attitudes towards Sustainability?  

Awards are a great opportunity to showcase the new and exciting products and ideas that allow for more widespread use of sustainable design and construction, which then in-turn promotes continuous development of both product and demand.

TPS is sponsoring the Commercial Architecture (small) category at this year’s awards. Commercial Buildings need to be able to deliver on performance, functionality and form. How do you think this sector can grow and change in response to concerns around sustainability? 

In my experience, smaller commercial architecture tends to be the breeding ground for big ideas, as clients of these developments are more willing to invest in new ideas, new technology, and push the boundaries of commercial return.  I would encourage all stakeholders in this segment to keep pushing for more – more performance, more options, more safety and more sustainability.  By pushing the design and performance envelope, astute suppliers will respond by investing in product development to meet the changing opportunities of the market.