Austin Engineering Ltd. is proud to announce it has expanded its operations into a new location to house its growing staff and services.

The Trail, B.C. engineering firm has bought the former J Balfour and Sons Ltd. building located at 1151 Cedar Ave. in downtown Trail.

“We are very excited to continue to grow our business here at home in Trail, and we look forward to continuing to diversify our team,” says Mary Austin, director of business development.

Austin Engineering established itself in 2014; with hard work and dedication the company has positioned itself as a leading national engineering firm specializing in hydrotechnical engineering and dam safety, while also offering structural and geotechnical engineering services to its clientele.

The firm is committed to leading Canada in the use of 3D printed dam and spillway models for hydraulic and seismic testing, which is conducted in Austin Engineering’s in-house lab. The state-of-the-art lab, featuring a shake table and a hydraulics model flume, has been relocated from MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies) to the company’s new building; this puts research and development together with daily business operations all under one roof.

“We are extremely proud of our team; they’ve successfully completed more than 600 projects and our business has received multiple awards and been voted the best engineering company in the Kootenays by our clients. All this in just five years,” says Roger Austin, owner and principal engineer.

Austin Engineering has been steadily increasing its reputation on a national scale. The company was recognized for their advancements in dam safety, winning the Clean Energy BC Operational Excellence Award in both 2017 and 2018 for their 3D modeling and seismic testing and analysis on one of FortisBC’s extreme consequence dams. Roger and team presented the collaborative research at the Canadian Dam Association Conference last year.

While the company continues to grow, it maintains its local pride and a strong connection to the people of the Greater Trail area.

“We value our people and the positive attitude of our team as the cornerstone of Austin’s ability to meet challenging deadlines and provide innovative solutions,” adds Mary.

She is pleased to take over a building that was previously the home for a longtime family-run Trail business founded by Scottish immigrant John Balfour. His plumbing business was started in 1912 under the company name Balfour and Plumm, Plumbing and Heating and Sanitary Engineers. The business was renamed J. Balfour & Sons when John’s two sons, Gordon (Scotty) and Alex (Brick), began working with their dad out of the original single-story family home. The current building was erected in 1948, housing the plumbing and heating shops and storefront on the main floor and the offices of the city’s school board, inspector of schools, and public health nurse on the second floor.

Jack and Joanne Balfour purchased the business in 1978 and maintained the thriving business in the same spot until closing the doors in 2014.

Jack fondly recalls “spending his whole life there,” including walking across the bridge to wash the business’ sidewalks and windows for his allowance.

“It’s an emotional time because I worked there for 40 years and Jack worked there from the time he was a child,” adds Joanne. “We’re happy that Mary and Roger bought it; we know it’s going to be taken care of and it’s in good hands.”