Alert Notice #1
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 January 16, 2008


1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends
2. Business Management
3. Building Design & Trends
4. Codes Standards & Regulations
5. Building Science & Technology
6. Building Performance Issues
7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency
8. Building Products & Suppliers
9. Information Sources
10. Conferences & Shows
11. Education & Training
12. Computer, Internet & Fun
13. Industry Survey

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Cement Association Of Canada

Death...And The True Value Of An Ol' Babble Buddy

We'd known each other since childhood, walked similar paths, overcame comparable challenges, and grew closer while apart. But it was not until he died that I finally realized how truly special our friendship really was.

My ol' buddy "D" & I grew up together, in more ways than one. We were friends in our teenage years back in our little home town in Ontario; we spread our wings together out in the wild west; we lived, worked, and partied as a pair; and we kept in contact after he moved back home. It was a friendship that grew ever-stronger as time ticked on and hair fell off. But the real foundation of our connection was not based on manly, boys-of-the-hood wars nor wins. We were buds because we babbled, and not about the news, weather, sports, or local gossip.

I don't know about you, but I can count on one hand the number of men with whom I can pour out my heart and share my deepest fears and feelings. Over the years, dialogue between D & I evolved beyond the usual male topics of how fast, fabulous, and famous-in-our-own-minds we were in the old days. With each re-connection, we became more and more at ease with genuine sharing of life's living and lessons. We babbled on and on about how we dealt with, and what we learned from, our experiences with; trials and tamings of our free spirits; parenting truly "special" children; near-death situations of our wives; battles with the bottle; failures and successes; fatherhood; challenges and life-saving value of strong women/wives; and much, much more.

D & I often discussed how fortunate we were to have somehow survived a few of our earlier escapades in life. We felt that there must be a reason the creator decided to keep us around for at least a little while longer. Just maybe, we agreed, it was so we might find ways to support others who may be going through challenging situations. And that he spades. At D's funeral and wake, there was an obvious, common thread in the stories and comments that people offered. His wife, children, family, relatives, and friends, all proudly recalled the many times D had; taken time out of his day for them; listened; offered help; shared his thoughts and resources; looked after their children; told tales & jokes; been a joy to be with; and lots more of the same. These were not the usual platitudes about simply being a nice guy. They were about a man who cared, shared, and made a difference.

During some of our babble, we would wonder aloud why we had to learn a few of our lessons the hard way. After pondering on this for a while, we always concluded that certain people simply do not learn from mere words and warnings. Some of us must actually touch the stove to see if it really is hot. And then we would find mutual solace in recognizing that OK, maybe we were a wee bit crazy, but we were not evil. I recall how relieved and joyful he was when he found out he was not alone on this one. As he was succumbing to the rapid spread of cancer, even though it was difficult for him to speak, he relayed to me in a forced, low, raspy voice, with his usual hint of humour; "Hey Ken, the priest just told me that even some of the saints were wilder when they were young". At that moment, something told me he was truly at peace with who he was.

Now, when thoughts of D flash into my mind, they are not of his death, nor of despair. They are fond memories of our good times, life experiences, lessons learned, and most of all...our great babbles. May you be so fortunate as to have at least one ol' babble buddy, such as was my pal D, in your own life.

My thanks to Brian Hart, Doug Harrison, Wilma Leung, and Herman Rebneris, for their tips and resources. I hope you find at least a wee bit of value in this, our very first Alert Notice.

Have a "Top Drawer" day.

Ken Farrish

Update On The New BC Building Info Site
"Where the BC building industry finds and shares information"

New Alert Notices Replace BC Building Info Newsletter
BC Building Info is growing and changing. This is the very first issue of our new Alert Notice, which replaces the previous BC Building Info newsletter. The newsletter, with 73 issues published over the last 5 years, contained links to online sources of information on building technology. Since we are now regularly adding those types of links to our new online Directory, the content of our mailouts has changed, hopefully providing you value.

Our thanks go out to all of you who subscribe to BC Building Info, and to the many who provide your tips and resources for inclusion in our mailouts. We hope these new offerings assist you in some small way.

Send Us Your Industry & Product News
These regular (usually monthly) e-mail Alert Notices will contain brief summaries of, and links to, recent industry news, events, issues, information, products, resources, and more. If you have any new products, events, or information that you would like to have included in our Alerts, just e-mail it to me at

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    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    New Reports On Canadian Housing Forecasts & Analysis
    CMHC has new, free, online reports for major centres across Canada on housing market forecasts and analysis including Housing Market Outlook, Housing Now, Rental Market, Renovation & Home Purchase, and more.

    Canadian Construction & Labour Forecasts
    Canadian Construction Sector Council new Web site for Construction Forecasts provides forecast data on residential and non-residential construction investment activity and labour supply and demand at the national, provincial and regional levels.

    US Housing Market Index From Builders
    US National Association of Home Builders online US Housing Market Index gives weighted, seasonally adjusted builder response ratings for past, present, and future projections of single-family home sales.

    2. Business Management

    Details Of Federal GST Tax Rate Reduction For 2008
    Canada Revenue Agency has posted questions and answers on the federal government reduction in the GST rate from 6% to 5%, effective January 1, 2008. They provide details on the new tax rate for businesses, consumers, and real property.

    Seminars On Managing Risks & Maximizing Opportunities In An Over-heated Market
    The next Western Canadian Construction Superconference, held in Calgary on January 21st and 22nd, provides practical advice on the current challenges and critical construction law issues around managing risks and maximizing opportunities in an over-heated market.

    US Data On Cost Vs Value For Remodeling Projects
    The Remodeling Online site from Hanley Wood provides data on cost Vs. value for different types of remodeling projects in various markets across the US.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    US Study Profiles Home Of The Future For 2015
    This Home of the Future study, conducted in 2006 by NAHB Economics Group, based on polls of architects, designers, marketers and manufacturers, provides a detailed view of what buyers can expect to find in an average home and an upscale home in 2015.

    Designing New Urbanist & Traditional Neighborhoods
    James Hardie newsletter says one of the most talked-about "manuals" to adopting New Urbanist and Traditional Neighborhood Design principles is SmartCode. Created by a Miami-based urban planning firm, SmartCode is an off-the-shelf template of zoning language and guidelines that cities can integrate into their master plan.

    Remodeling For Aging In Place
    Journal of Light Construction article describes challenges and solutions for efficiently and cost-effectively transforming a home into a suitable space for seniors, so they can live out their lives in their own homes, rather than in a facility.

    Free, Easy, 3D Modelling Program For Building Design
    Google Sketchup is an easy-to-use 3D modelling software that enables the creation of 3D models of houses, buildings and many other objects, using an array of drag and drop tools and materials in a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing environment.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Richard Kadulski, Architect, and publisher of Solplan Review says; "BC Building Info is a neat and concise source of information. Lots of useful information that is technically sound."

    Feel free to let others know about BC Building Info.

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    New BC Green Building Code Proposals
    Although the period is over for public review of the new BC Green Building Code proposals, the BC Office of Housing & Construction Standards lists their planned; Energy Efficiency Requirements for Single Family Houses & Smaller Multi-Family Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Buildings; Energy Efficiency Requirements for High-Rise Multi-Family Residential Buildings and Larger Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Buildings; plus Water-Efficiency Requirements.

    BCBEC Presentation On Energy Efficient Buildings & BC Green Building Code
    BC Building Envelope Council luncheon presentation on January 18th will focus on the BC government's strategies for energy efficiency for new and existing buildings, with an overview of proposed energy efficiency standards for the BC Green Building Code.

    CHBA Says Regulation Is A Misuse Of The EnerGuide Rating System
    Canadian Home Builders Association newsletter article says there should be concern about the potential misuse of the EnerGuide for New Homes rating system if it is used to regulate new home construction. (PDF)

    CCMC Product Evaluations Evolve For New 2005 Building Code
    Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) evaluates construction products and systems. In 2005 a number of significant changes were made to the CCMC evaluation process that are expected to be of benefit to manufacturers, building officials and evaluation officers.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Technical Documents On Building Science & Building Enclosures
    Dr Joe Lstiburek & Dr John Straube have online handouts from their 2007 Building Science Fundamentals seminars covering building enclosures, history, environmental separation, rain control, air control, pressures & IAQ, heat air & moisture, walls, insulation, roofs, foundations, HVAC, slabs & flooring, windows, and more.

    Slide Presentations On Building Science Fundamentals
    These 2007 Building Science Fundamentals seminar slide presentations detail fundamentals, environmental separation, rain control, air flow, pressures & IAQ, heat air & moisture, walls, insulation & thermal bridges, cathedrals & conditioned attics, foundations & basements, HVAC, crawlspaces slabs & flooring, windows & curtainwalls, retrofit & rehabilitation, and green buildings & sustainability.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Tool For Simulation Of VOC Emissions, IAQ, and Ventilation Strategies
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construuction software (IA-QUEST) has a database of emissions of 90 target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from 69 building materials, plus a simulation tool to predict indoor air concentrations for given materials from the database, and recommend ventilation strategies.

    BC Construction Details For Rainscreen Wall & Wndows
    National Home Warranty online "Reference Guide of Typical Rainscreen Wall & Window Details" contains detail drawings for rainscreen wall and flashing components that meet the new 2006 BC Building Code Part 9. (PDF)

    BC New Best Practice Guide On Fire Stops & Their Sound Transmission
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construuction online Best Practice Guide On Fire Stops provides technical solutions for fire resistance and sound transmission aspects of fire stops and fire blocks.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Vancouver Island Green Building Conference & Show
    The Building Green in a Changing Climate conference and tradeshow, held March 4th & 5th in Courtenay, will be showcasing industry leaders, case studies, and product suppliers in the Vancouver Island green building movement.

    Net Zero Energy Home Workshop In Vancouver
    The Light House Sustainable Building Centre – in collaboration with BC Hydro, CMHC, Real Estate Foundation of BC and Terasen Gas – is presenting the Net Zero Energy Home Forum on February 26 in Vancouver. A net zero energy home is capable of producing as much energy as it consumes over a year, coupling a highly energy-efficient building envelope with integrated renewable energy options. This forum is targeted to homebuilders, engineers, architects, utilities, real estate brokers, financial institutions, government, college and universities, residential services and product suppliers.

    Built Green Platinum Level For New Homes Available As Of January 2008
    Built Green builders, members, and home buyers now have the flexibility of choosing an additional level of participation. Bronze represents the minimum of achievement level, Silver is the next level, and Gold is the thrid level of recognition. As of January 1, 2008 the Platinum level is the highest level of achievement in the Built Green program.

    New Green Format For Standard Reporting Of Green Attributes Of Construction Products
    Construction Specifications Institute is developing Green Format, which will provide a standardized format for reporting information about sustainable attributes of construction products. This information will be stored in a Web-accessible database that allows users to sort and view the data in various ways. The database will offer manufacturers a way to present clear, consistent, and concise information on the lifecycle qualities of products to specifiers.

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  •   Guide to Sustainable Design with Concrete – Version 2
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  •   Cement & concrete history, facts, products, and applications
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  • Find out how cement and concrete can help you achieve sustainability


    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    New Panelized Wall & Floor Systems Offered In BC By Mitsui Homes Canada
    Mitsui Home Canada Inc., drawing from their many years of experience with wall panel operations in Japan, is now offering factory-assembled panellized walls and floor systems to BC builders and developers of condominium and townhouse projects. Mitsui, and a growing number of manufacturers, are seeing a rapid increase in the use of panellized building components as builders see potential for lower costs of labour & materials, shorter framing schedules, better quality control, less material theft, fewer weather delays, plus reduced site waste & cleanup, with this "greener" approach to building.

    Safety Notice Issued For Venmar HRVs
    Venmar is implementing a Product Safety Upgrade Program for certain Heat Recovery Ventilators that it manufactured, as thermal protectors on some motors may not be effective and might result in a potential fire hazard. This Product Safety Upgrade Program affects only units manufactured between October 2006 and August 2007.

    Reports On Current Lumber & Panel Prices For Canada & US
    Madison's offers online updates and a weekly newsletter with current Canadian and US lumber and panel prices, plus a directory of Canadian sawmills, lumber re-manufacturers, wholesalers and more, plus special reports on the softwood lumber industry.

    List Of Registered BC HVAC Systems Installers & Designers
    To help builders and renovators find qualified HVAC companies, the Thermal Environmental Comfort Association of BC has a list of their Quality First Registered Hydronic System Designers, Registered Forced Air System Installers & Designers, and Certified Ventilation System Installers and Designers.

    9. Information Sources

    Builder Resource Site On Building Technology, Products, & Issues Has Expanded
    Toolbase, the technical resource site of the US National Association of Home Builders now offers even more information on innovative building technologies, field results, technology tips, hot topics, best practices, and design & construction guides.

    Free Online Videos On Professional Building Techniques Now Available On JLC Site
    Journal of Light Construction site now has free online industry videos demonstrating professional building techniques for drywall, tile, framing, finish carpentry, and more.

    Clearance Sale On Business Management Books For Builders
    Builder Books, an official site of the US National Association of Home Builders, is now offering clearance sale prices, with savings of up to 80% off the original price, on a number of books covering a wide range of business management topics..

    10. Conferences & Shows

    BC Construction Show In Vancouver On February 13 & 14
    BC Construction Show, February 13 & 14 at Vancouver Convention Centre, features products, services, information, and education related to the management, design and renovation of commercial buildings, single family, multi-family, condominium, and community developments.

    International Builders Show In Orlando Florida, February 13 - 16
    US National Association of Home Builders presents The International Builder's Show, the largest in North America, in Orlando from February 13th to 16th. This major show features over 1800 exhibitors of building industry products, innovations, and demonstrations, plus almost 300 educational sessions.

    BC Real Estate Convention In Vancouver On Feb 25 & 26
    BC Real Estate Convention in Vancouver, February 25 & 26 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, offers free admission to its showcasings of the BC real estate market and industry, suppliers of products and services, seminar speakers, and opportunities in the real estate market.

    11. Education & Training

    Courses For Certified Residential Builder & Renovator In Lower Mainland
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association is presenting 4 courses as part of the Certified Residential Builder & Certified Renovator programs. Courses include BuiltGreen, financial management, sales & marketing for builders, and project management. (PDF)

    BC Seminars & Professional Development Events For Developers
    Urban Development Institute offers this online calendar listing their regular Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna chapter seminars and events that cover current industry issues, opportunities, market updates, and business management topics for the land developement industry.

    Workshop On Effective Communication
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association presents Effective Communication: The Key to a Productive Workplace. This interactive workshop will offer you strategies and tools to increase your customer satisfaction, decrease mistakes on the job, and ultimately increase your bottom line. It will benefit anyone who interacts directly with staff and customers. (PDF)

    Small Business Seminars Offered In Vancouver
    Small Business BC offers, at their downtown Vancouver training facility, a wide range of business seminars for those at the thinking, launching or growing stage of a business.

    12. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Free Service Allows You To Access Your E-mails From Any Computer
    If you are out of your office or away from your own computer, Mail2Web free service allows you to access your e-mails on any computer, from anywhere that you can connect to the Internet.

    Free Firefox3 Browser Has New Features For Surfing The Net
    The increasingly popular, and free, Firefox browser version 3.0 development is in its Beta 3 preview phase of testing. Here you can review a list of all the expected new features, which features are complete, which have been cut, and which are at risk of not being included.

    Game Of Big Foot Stomp On Gods Playing Field
    Here's a little diversion that will test your focus, speed, depth perception, and mouse skills. Just move the big foot over top of the moving targets and then flatten 'em. Naturally, just when you experience sensation of success and the puffed chest of victory, it throws more challenging levels of play at you.

    13. Industry Survey

    Today's Survey:   

    Will The Use Of Prefabricated Building Components Increase?

    Yes, we will see more and more of these
    No, most things will always be assembled on site
    Not sure

    • Last Survey: Do You Agree With The Proposed New BC Green Building Code Requirements?

      67% Said: Yes
      21% Said: No
      12% Said: Undecided

    Thanks for your participation

    Ditty For Today

    Count no day lost in which you waited your turn, took only your share, and sought advantage over no one. - Author Unknown

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    © Copyright 2008               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada