Sydney-based Protector Building Systems, a privately-owned company providing large scale industrial and commercial complexes to long-standing clients, prides itself on its honesty, integrity, and efficiency.
Managing Director Robert Glasgow is a mechanical engineer who began working in remote locations such as the Bowen Basin, performing mechanical maintenance shutdowns on large mining equipment. Mr Glasgow now finds himself in the heart of Sydney working for Protector Building Systems on some of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects, for the country’s largest organisations. Mr Glasgow talks us through some of the company’s biggest projects, the general misconceptions surrounding acoustic shed construction, and how he would like to see the government support Australian-made products to assist the growth of manufacturing in the country.
Acoustic shed construction
“We’re a specialist team of engineers, site management, and supervision,” Mr Glasgow says, “that look after the design and construction of acoustic sheds on our tunnelling infrastructure projects.”
The company’s head office is in Sydney, and it runs a satellite office in Melbourne, operating when the company has major projects running on the south coast. These two cities are the main focus of tunnel infrastructure in Australia, and so form the main areas of work for Protector Building Systems.
“Largely, our buildings provide the opportunity for tunnelling companies to work on a 24/7 basis, without interruption from uncontrollable events like weather, and also make sure that the commercial and private residents that live nearby are unaffected as much as possible.”
The main function of the company’s acoustic shed designs is to reduce the amount of noise generated by workers inside the building, leaving the building and making their way to nearby receptors.
“Our clients are generally a joint venture of Tier One companies, like John Holland, CPB [Contractors] and Lendlease. The benefit of working with those companies is that the worksites generally are well-managed and maintained, and this allows us to work to our strengths and really focus on providing the professional product that we endeavour to do.”
The company’s main undertaking in the last few years has been the Sydney Metro Project, which it has been involved with right from the design stage, through bidding and execution, and even with Metro users after completion.
“This has been the flagship project for Protector Building Systems, and I would say the government and the greater population of Sydney as well. The way the [government] has distributed and managed the contract packages has really helped the Tier One joint ventures and ourselves in providing the works that we do.”
From a design and installation perspective, the building the company helped with at Pitt Street Station has columns that go through four levels of a concrete, basement car park, and the cladding is above ground at about 18m above street level.
“That’s arguably one of Sydney’s busiest locations, so as you can imagine that had some challenges just facing that site alone. We had some fairly amazing experiences on [the Sydney Metro] Project.”
Another flagship building for the company sits between two bridges on Hickson Road at Barangaroo, which once constructed finished higher than the two bridges it was placed between.
“An image of this building has the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. This is an iconic picture for us here at Protector Building Systems, as it just gives us a lot of feedback from the work that we’ve done for the city.”
Another project that had reasonable challenges, but remains memorable to Mr Glasgow for the benefits it obtained, is the early works portion of the Metro Tunnel Project that it undertook in Melbourne in 2016.
“The main advantage for this one was the head start that it gave to the main project, due to the site establishment being completed, and allowing the main tunnelling contractor to focus on the main task of the tunnelling itself.”
“This was interesting to say the least, and we were certainly glad to be a part of that. We also really got to enjoy a whole level of acoustic treatment on these two buildings, which is what we really enjoy doing.”
Acoustic shed construction is still relatively unknown to most people, and as such a number of misconceptions around it exist, most notably the belief that acoustic sheds come as a one-size-fits-all solution for structure and acoustic treatment.
“However, it’s usually quite the opposite,” Mr Glasgow says. “Every project, therefore every building, is completely unique. So every design and acoustic treatment is typically bespoke.”
Everything is built with a design intent, and more often than not this is to reduce the amount of noise exiting the worksite. This has resulted in an unrealistic expectation from the general public that noise from these works will be removed completely. The treatments are designed to reduce rather than remove.
“The one thing I’d really like to promote and assist is the growth of industry, wherever I can,” Mr Glasgow says, in conclusion. “I think projects that we are involved with can really help that out.”
From a national point of view, Mr Glasgow would like to see the government prioritise or subsidise the use of local and Australian-made products over products imported from offshore for the Tier One joint venture contracted for the works.
“With a nation that’s arguably in a decline of local fabrication and manufacturing, I think the government is in the right position to be able to do this and let the industry prosper once again. From a state point of view, this could go one step further with priority or subsidy being for the local or regional supplies from that state. I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I think it’s one way the government could assist the growth of manufacturing in the country again.”
Priding itself on its honesty, integrity, and efficiency, Protector Building Systems has proven to be an extremely reliable operator. Find out more about Protector Building Systems by visiting protectbuild.com.au.