Innovative Window Solutions (IWS), has made a name as Geelong’s premium aluminium window and door manufacturer, and is preparing to increase its capacity as it moves its facilities into Fortek in North Geelong (redeveloped Ford factory).
IWS delivers high-performance products to commercial, residential and industrial projects, creating solutions for everything from waterfront homes, schools, aged cares, warehouses and correctional facilities. The business uses only Australian-sourced materials and is known for quality workmanship and attention to detail.
Matthew Drake, a “very much an on-the-tools kind of guy”, founded IWS in 2015 after moving from New Zealand, aged 19.
“We are setting ourselves up to handle more work” Mr Drake tells Geelong Manufacturing Council. “We’ve got about 30 employees and we see ourselves in the next two years employing another 10 fabricators/fitters.”
In the pipeline are new product lines, with more information to be shared on that next year, and IWS has just finished work on the new maximum security prison at Chisholm Road, Lara.
IWS specialises in high-end architectural projects and can custom-manufacture aluminium doors and windows to meet bushfire ratings and other compliance requirements. The team has worked on a huge variety of large-scale projects and homes stretching from Apollo Bay through to the Bellarine Peninsula, as well as Mornington peninsula and King Island.
The practicalities can be extremely challenging. “We do a lot of crane lifts with glass. Especially down the coast on the hillsides, this can be a logistical challenge due to high winds and ever-changing weather,” Mr Drake says.
A residential property on The Esplanade, Torquay recently required extensive engineering of the main front facia window due to its size, including use of reinforced steel inside the frame to support lateral forces. The five by 2.5 metre, 40mm thick unit weighed 630 kilograms, while the highlight weighed 150 kilograms. Local Geelong company Solos Glass supplied the panes.
“Due to the property being close to the ocean and on a main traffic thoroughfare – there were environmental factors and impacts which had to be considered with regard to materials used in the build. We worked closely with the owner to achieve outcomes which are both structurally and aesthetically positive,” IWS says.
IWS windows help meet the required 6-star efficiency rating and can custom manufacture a wide range of products to meet compliance requirements – from high performance glass, thermally broken and BAL40 rated AWS (Architectural Window Solutions) aluminium frames.
Projects recently completed by the IWS team include Lifestyle Mount Duneed, Reservoir Station where all manufacturing took place offsite and then the structures were craned into place, Altona Police Station and the Footscray City Public School Gymnasium.
Never idle, the team are now embarking on work increasing capacity at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and a laboratory in Ravenhall.
In December, IWS wrapped up work on the $13.5 million new indoor stadium at White Street, Torquay at Surf Coast Secondary College which will be available for use by the whole community for sporting competition and local events.
Mr Drake says the demand trajectory is clear, and the COVID period has only fuelled uptake. “It has progressively grown and grown,” he says.
Image: Innovative Windows Solutions installation at Lifestyle Mount Duneed