How Tecassist® Supports The People Who Support Our Customers

Perspectives: How TecASSIST® Supports The People Who Support Our Customers

Decades of experience as an Acoustical Engineering Consultant accidentally led Jim Fowler to become Technical Consultant on USG Boral’s TecASSIST® technical hotline, supporting our customers and staff for seven years and counting.

Jim Fowler thought he’d retired in 2010 after 10 years with Victoria’s Environmental Protection Authority and 23 years as an Acoustical Engineering Consultant in a firm of 10 engineers and scientists. A year later he got married, and one of his wedding guests was a Boral Plasterboard manager for whom he’d worked as a consultant over many years.

The manager mentioned a three-month part-time role as a member of Boral’s TecASSIST team that might suit Jim – who was already wondering whether he was really ready for retirement. Seven years later, Jim looks back on his experience with fond memories…


USG Boral’s TecASSIST hotline has become a critical component of its strategy of innovation. The service makes technical experts available to answer questions from architects, designers, developers, builders, contractors and tradies – even end-consumers – about USG Boral products. Many of the incoming questions are about how to solve problems – and some of them push the corner of the envelope, resulting in innovative solutions to construction challenges.

As longest-standing member of the TecASSIST team, Jim keeps statistics on where calls come from, and is delighted that over a third originate from USG Boral staff. “Our customer account people are out and about fielding questions from our customers on construction sites all over Australia. If they can’t answer a technical question definitively, we’re their first port of call. I’d much prefer that to them telling their customer to call us at TecASSIST, because that wouldn’t be truly supportive.”

He sees USG Boral’s salespeople as the ‘primary customer interface’ and is more than happy to support them in that role. “I believe it’s important that the people who have the closest relationship with our customers don’t just relay the problem but understand and own the solution too. That way, our partnerships within the design, engineering and construction industry are strengthened on an on-going basis to everyone’s benefit.”


Jim’s statistics also monitor the USG Boral products that attract the most TecASSIST calls. “Firestop® fire-resistant plasterboard is the topic of the largest proportion of calls. After that it’s Shaftliner™ – another fire-resistant plasterboard. I put this down to the complexity and critical importance of fire resistance compliance in construction projects today. A large number of queries and requests for workable wall and ceiling solutions also relate to steel studs for wall framing and domestic party walls.”

The TecASSIST team has been deeply involved in USG Boral’s Specification and Value Engineering (SAVE) initiative to add value to construction projects.

“SAVE is a methodology we use to help the industry innovate the way complex projects are designed, specified and constructed. It’s especially useful in complex projects involving lots of different compliance requirements such as hospitals, multi-residential, commercial and retail developments because it delivers multiple third-party tested and code-compliant solutions for walls and ceilings that architects, engineers, builders and contractors can trust and rely on.”


Jim readily admits that a call to TecASSIST won’t always answer a question instantly.

“We have a lot of technical information at our fingertips, so we can provide some solutions fast. For the rest, we can fall back on scores of technical and engineering experts within USG Boral and our partners overseas. Then our job is to monitor the resolution progress and ensure the correct answer is delivered as quickly as possible – ideally via the customer’s own relationship manager.”

See more industry perspectives in this occasional blog series.