Mill Bay Company Helps Clients Design And Build Wood Featured Projects

MILL BAY – Each piece of wood tells a story, through its grain, beauty and where it comes from.

Kinsol Timber Systems is built to highlight that in the structures it makes, working closely with customers during the design phase to feature timber and enhance the finished product.

Mike Marshall, left, and Steve Stevenson are partners in Kinsol Timber Systems

Chief Executive Officer Mike Marshall and Chief Operating Officer Steve Stevenson are partners in the company they started in 2017, purchasing the assets of a defunct construction firm they both worked for that was involved in building the famous Kinsol Trestle. Their business has exceeded expectations, and has virtually doubled in size each year of their operation.

“What’s unique about Kinsol is that we have brought what is an ancient craft to bear on modern materials and technologies to implement them in large scale commercial structures,” Marshall notes. “Historically, we see timber used in short-span structures, but only in the last decade has it become common for large scale projects. We are now crafting commercial scale projects in that refined, expressed structural timber genre of architecture.”

Kinsol constructs high-end homes, and commercial and institutional buildings like the Tsawwassen Mills Mall, the new Merridale Brewery & Distillery at Dockside Green in Victoria, Brechin United in Nanaimo, and Vancouver Island’s first-to-market 12 story mass timber tower, Tresah, by Geric Construction.

Kinsol’s experience in timber detailing and construction gives its clients the confidence to use BC wood in some of Canada’s most innovative projects, like the spectacular Malahat Skywalk, an $18 million accessible 750 meter long treetop walk at the top of the Malahat, which is targeted for completion in early 2021. It’s a similar project to the Treewalk they’re also building near Squamish at the Sea To Sky Gondola.

An aerial view of Kinsol Timber Systems’ manufacturing plant at Bamberton, south of Mill Bay

“As we get into the canopy walkway portion of the work, we’re literally working in amongst the trees, and we’re minimizing the impact to the surrounding environment,” notes Stevenson. “We are doing this massive piece of construction right through the forest canopy with the goal of having minimal impact, and when it opens, it will look like it has always been there.”

Mike and Steve have extended their expertise in timber to include children’s natural playgrounds, which is done under the name KinsolPlay.  With more than 30 playgrounds built, KinsolPlay has become Western Canada’s leader in the design and construction of natural playgrounds, some of which include Terra Nova, Clark Park, Douglas Park and Richmond Nature Park.

Stevenson notes that, “We’re creating these world-class projects with local craftsmen and carpenters. We’re building with the skill set from people from within our own community, and it’s a pretty cool environment in which to work,” adding Kinsol is a certified Living Wage employer.

KinsolPlay has become Western Canada’s leader in the design and construction of natural playgrounds

“That is a priority for us,” adds Marshall. “Six months after starting the company, we became a Living Wage certified employer as a staple of the business’ qualifications and commitment to our employees. Every employee makes at least $20 per hour, which is our minimum wage, and we strive for a three to one journeyman to apprentice ratio.”

Stevenson believes Kinsol’s success comes from three things, “We have the right people to do the work we need to do, we have the opportunity to work with progressive clients that are willing to push the limits of what we’re designing and building, and we’ve found a way to balance off the work we do and marrying that to delivering that to make both the project and us successful at the same time.”

Marshall adds, “We knew the recipe for success was to balance our promise to the market with our operational capacity, and we work hard to keep one from getting out of step with the other.”