Monty Wensel of Failsafe House Lifting B.C. stands underneath the home at 3218 Glasgow Avenue that his company recently lifted. The company uses a new system to lift homes higher to improve access and safety. Submitted

Saanich housing company gets off the ground

FailSafe Housing Lifting B.C. uses patented system for lifting homes

Saanich has become the test ground for a house lifting company that hopes to build on the tight housing market in the Greater Victoria area with the help of its patented lifting system.

FailSafe Housing Lifting B.C. is currently replacing the basement of the house at 3218 Glasgow Avenue after lifting it during its first foray into Greater Victoria using the ATLAS 5 House Lifting System.

Company founder Monty Wensel said his company chose Victoria because its housing market characteristics have created a demand. The combination of low vacancy rates and high housing costs have made it appealing for home owners to add more living space, he said.

“If you are going to add a suite to your house, often the best place is underneath,” he said.

The roots of the company reach back to Regina, where basements require frequent repairs, thanks to the city’s geology. Its clay base — the remains of an ancient sea bed — exposes basements to a continuous, damaging cycle of freezing and thawing.

As a contractor, Wensel worked with traditional housing lifting techniques using wood cribs, but eventually found them to be unsatisfactory.

One defining incident happened in 2006, when a house lifted on wood blocks nearly injured the people working underneath following the failure of the house lifting equipment. This incident inspired Wensel to develop a more secure method that eventually culminated in its ATLAS 5 House Lifting System.

Its core consists of four lifting towers, two primary lifting beams and two secondary lifting beams that can lift one, two and three story houses ranging from 500 to 3,000 square feet up to 18 feet into the air. It can accommodate additional towers and beams to increase lift capacity.

Wensel said it takes about 10 hours to set up the system and another five hours to lift a house. The entire system weighs 31,000 pounds and fits on a single tractor-trailer.

Wensel said this system offers several advantages. It offers greater safety and movement of freedom for crews and their equipment underneath lifted buildings, said Wensel. These advantages add up, he said. When you make it easier and safer to access the underneath of a house, the work becomes faster and more affordable, he said.

Wensel’s company also offer package deals that combine lifting a structure with performing the work underneath it. This eliminates working with different contractors and having to coordinate them.

“It makes it a lot easier and less stressful for the home owner and more affordable,” he said.

The company has also sold the ATLAS 5 House Lifting System to contractors across North America. Because of its systematic nature, contractors unfamiliar with lifting houses themselves can eventually perform the work themselves. While the system requires a higher initial investment upfront, it will save money down the line.

“It allows projects to go so much smoother, so much faster,” he said.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Sooke couple’s elaborate Christmas display

Couple has been adding to tiny village display for past 11 years

Otter Point Fire Department hosts 26th Polar Bear Swim

Annual event takes place Jan. 1 at Whiffen Spit beach in Sooke

William Head fence debate a big deal out of nothing says officials

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns met with William Head warden Thursday

CRD divided over fire dispatch, agrees to investigate single site option

‘Saanich taxpayers have been subsidizing fire dispatch in the region for several years’

UPDATE: Sooke resident gears up to break world record in squats

The day is fast approaching when Sooke resident Kris Winther will attempt… Continue reading

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15- to 19-year-olds, including one in Vernon

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

VIDEO: Colquitz students cram Saanich Police cruisers with food

Food literally burst out of the door from Const. Lisa Bruschetta’s cruiser

Esquimalt Drydock awarded millions in contracts for North Island ferry upgrade

BC Ferries vessel Northern Sea Wolf arrives this week from Athens, Greece

Most Read