Five Star Contractor – JP Phillips Inc.

JP Phillips, Inc. is a commercial tile contractor located in Pittsburgh, Pa. With over 37 years of experience, JP Phillips has established a strong foundation and reputation for integrity, commitment and teamwork. In 2008, the NTCA inducted JP Phillips, Inc. as one of the first members of its Five Star Program.

The company specializes in the installation of ceramic tile, porcelain tile, quarry tile, paver tile, marble, slate, granite and polished concrete.  To date, JP Phillips has installed millions of square feet of hard surface materials in a variety of sectors including hospitality, casinos/gaming, healthcare, foodservice, industrial, academia, and government.

Predicated on the values of honesty, hard work, and trust, JP Phillips has established itself as a leader in the commercial market based on quality craftsmanship and timely completion. This approach has facilitated market growth throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina and Alabama.

Featured Projects:

Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

In 2010, JP Phillips, Inc. was proud to partner with the Pittsburgh Penguins on the construction of the new Consol Energy Center.  The new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the first LEED Gold Certified NHL arena in the world.  JP Phillips provided glass mosaic tile and porcelain tile in all luxury boxes, porcelain tile in public restrooms and concourses, and polished concrete on upper level concourses. JP Phillips also installed tile in the locker rooms, training rooms, and therapy rooms. In total, JP Phillips installed over 80,000 square feet of tile and stained and polished over 30,000 square feet of concrete.

Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD

The Hilton Baltimore Hotel & Convention center is located near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Md.  JP Phillips supplied and installed ceramic, marble, and granite tile in areas including 754 guestrooms, two full service restaurants, three bars/lounges, and a fitness area including a swimming pool and sauna.

Green Tip – June 2012

Understanding the Technical Criteria of Green SquaredSM/
ANSI A138.1

Section IV: Progressive Corporate Governance

By Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, LEED AP BD+C

Establishing sustainability criteria for products throughout their full life cycle, ANSI A138.1 is divided into five sections. Throughout the past several months, we’ve reviewed several different sections of the standard. This month, we’ll have a look at the fourth section, Progressive Corporate Governance.

Mandatory for conformance to the standard, a manufacturer shall have a written and implemented social responsibility strategy which addresses at least the following:  labor law compliance, forced labor prohibitions, child labor prohibitions, environmental regulation compliance, health and safety regulation compliance, and community involvement.

To obtain an elective credit, the manufacturer may choose to participate in a voluntary safety program such as OSHA Safety Consultation, Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), or OHSAS 18001.

It is mandatory that all green marketing claims made by manufacturers be in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fair packaging and labeling act Green Guides (publicly available) which indicate how the FTC applies Section 5 of the FTC Act, prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices in environmental claims.

As an elective for conformance to the standard, a manufacturer may choose to regularly engage in its community, building upon the community involvement plan established in its mandatory social responsibility strategy.

Also elective for conformance to the standard, a manufacturer may publicly disclose on an annual basis one of the following: utility consumption, registered Environmental Management System (EMS) data, or Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data.

Another elective credit is available if a manufacturer provides a detailed sustainability report each year, conforms to the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), or is selected for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

If a manufacturer has at least one facility with LEED® or Green Globes certification an elective credit is also available.

Finally, manufacturers are required to have an assurance program for current and continued conformance to ANSI A138.1/Green Squared for all pertinent products.

Next month, we will review the criteria of the fifth and final section of ANSI A138.1, Innovation.

Business Tip – June 2012

Are you a “vendor” or a “craftsman?”

By Steve Rausch, USG Corporation

How do you run your business, as a vendor providing tile and stone work, or as a craftsman creating beauty? There is a HUGE difference in compensation and the methods of doing business with your customers.

A vendor is someone who exists just to sell stuff. Nothing else matters except delivering the goods (may include installation) and getting paid. You can expect (negotiate) the low price, sign a contract, and get what you ordered. You can also spend many hours discussing the details of the terms and conditions, etc.

What happens with a craftsman is far different in many aspects. One element of doing business with a craftsman is that the price issue (or low bid) loses its luster. People seek out craftsmen for their skills and talents to create a beautiful statement with their efforts on the customer’s behalf. Price absolutely becomes a secondary by-product of most of those discussions. Time also changes; you don’t rush art by deadlines of time but rather by finishing the look or feel desired.

As we watch our industry still losing businesses to the poor economy, it becomes even more apparent that craftsmen will survive while vendors have a large chance of being pushed from the scene. Just look back over the past two or three years and recall how many businesses have already left the scene. Those companies that ran large crews to do anything and everything quickly and cheaply are mostly gone today; they were the worst offenders in this downward spiral of moving toward the bottom price. Without profit you just cannot stay in business and the very success that drove them to the top of the vendor pile was what did them in.

I ask you to stop today, take time out from “doing” your business, and study your business to see where you are on this scale of vendor versus craftsman. If most of your work is still “low bid”-driven, then you are on the vendor side. If, however, you have chosen to position yourself and your company as a craftsman firm, then you will, I’m confident, be around a long time in this business.

Steve Rausch represents the Substrates and Specialty Products Division of USG Corporation out of Alpharetta, Ga. He’s also the author of the Rausch Ravings blog about business and non-business related topics. Contact him at [email protected] or visit the blog at

Ask the Experts – June 2012


I am a new member of the NTCA and I have an upcoming small project that I need help with.

I do mostly interior residential remodeling. Tile is probably 60% of my projects. I have a client with a concrete porch he would like tiled. The problem is the broom finish has been sealed with an “oil-based” sealer he purchased and applied himself from Lowe’s. As the broom finish is quite deep I don’t think it could be ground down. I can’t find anything in my TCNA Handbook that addresses this.


This is a good question. Many contractors fail to determine that a substrate has been sealed and end up with problems down the road. Both TCNA Handbook methods and ANSI require that a substrate be free of contaminants, curing compounds and sealers. Exterior tilework, which requires the highest performance level of any type of tile installation, requires the best bond, as well as 95% mortar coverage and appropriate movement accommodation. Any sealer on a substrate will act as a de-bonding agent, and give less-than-optimum bonding ability.

You may want to call the technical department of the mortar manufacturer that you want to use and ask them, but I believe they will give you the same answer that is in the TCNA Handbook and ANSI, that you must mechanically scarify the concrete (grind or shotblast) until the contaminant is removed and you have a clean surface to install tile over. Any other method is risking a potential failure.

On your concern that the broom finish is too deep to grind, there are some very aggressive grinders with vacuum attachments available that can cut quickly and in a dust-free fashion.

– Michael Whistler, NTCA Tile & Stone Symposium presenter and trainer

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