Alert Notice #10
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 August 20, 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. Installation Procedures
10. Information Sources
11. Conferences & Shows
12. Education & Training
13. Computer, Internet & Fun
14. Industry Survey

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I'm Only 14 Months Old...And I'm Having Flashbacks & Hot Flashes

Man, how time flies. It seems like only yesterday that post-birth I was strutting proudly out of the hospital, pompously displaying the world's biggest grin on my new/old face. All of a sudden, in what seems like warp speed, this ol' newborn is over 14 months old, and experiencing multiple flashbacks & hot flashes.

Notwithstanding those of you who might mutter that yours truly has always acted like a little kid, full permission to be such was self-granted the very moment I was re-born as Gramps. And for the last 14 months, this ol' dude happily fulfilled his role by snatching each and every opportunity to crawl, cuddle, play, giggle, jump, dance, and do whatever fit the fancy of his wee granddaughter, Baby Kate. By the way, if by chance you care to have proof of said spoofery I would be glad to forward you any of the now-two-thousand-plus pictures I've taken. But recently things have reached a different stage of growth for both Gramps and his little Kate Angel (formerly Baby Kate). Strangely, and intriguingly, this new stage is starting to bring back some long-lost, loving memories.

Throughout the past baby-year my Angel's Mommy (still Daddy's little girl) gradually succeeded in training Gramps to reach new levels of competence in child care. It was during these times, as she patiently schooled me in proper baby feeding, diaper changing, bathing, babysitting and more, that I first experienced hot flashes, I mean flashbacks, no I mean both! Images started popping Into my mind of me as a new Daddy way back 30 years ago, being nurtured by my similarly-patient wife to do exactly the same things to our then-new baby girl, now my grownup Gramps-teacher. And I got all warm and fuzzy inside.

The gentle, boundary-setting lessons that Mommy offered when free-spirited Gramps was caught allowing Kate Angel to play in the dirt or under the deck, eat sand, walk through the corn patch, or climb over the fence, brought back memories of identical directives delivered my way in times past by my loving wife. As I observed the transformation of our career-minded daughter into a stay-at-home mom, I recalled my lifelong mate experiencing that same joyful stage of life - way back when. And every time I see Angel's Daddy doing his best to figure out how to be a dad, and how to more-gently treat a wee woman, I flash back to yours truly going through exactly the same challenges.

But the biggest flashback, and the hottest flash, just happened this past weekend. I was teaching Kate Angel to touch flowers without pulling them off, when she hit me with the big one. My Angel, now with a wee hint of Devil in her eyes, slowly gripped the big beautiful flower, started to tug, and gazed straight at me to judge just how far Gramps would let her go. As painful as it was, I dutifully followed instructions previously given me by Mommy, and firmly raised my voice to set the boundaries. She stopped immediately, and proceeded to deliver the big one. Her lovely little eyes locked into mine, her bottom lip dropped into a heart-melting pout, she slowly moved her head closer to mine, and then gently laid a great big warm kiss on ol' Gramps lips. Awwwwww, come on Angel - NOT FAIR! And I really mean not fair. Because, you see, that was exactly what her Mommy used to do to me 30 years ago. I melted then, I melt now, and will probably melt forever.

I can't help but think that if I've had so many flashbacks and hot flashes in my first 14 months, imagine what it's going to be like all the while I'm growing up. Lucky ol' Gramps!

My thanks to Innes Hood, Mark Gauvin, Bob Sloat, Herman Rebneris, Ben Van Nostrand, Aliya Tejani, George Pinch, Gemma de La Pena, John Vukanovich, and John Chepil for their comments, tips and resources. I hope you find something of value in this newsletter.

Have a "Top Drawer" day.

Ken Farrish

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

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Directory Topics With New Links Added
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1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

New Canadian Mortgage Regulations Coming In October
Government of Canada, in an effort to protect and strengthen the Canadian housing market, is making adjustments to the rules for government guaranteed mortgages. Planned to take effect October 15, 2008 these include: fixing maximum amortization period for new government-backed mortgages to 35 years; requiring minimum down payment of five per cent for new government-backed mortgages; establishing consistent minimum credit score requirement; and introducing new loan documentation standards.

Report On BC Construction & Labour Markets 2008 To 2016
Canadian Construction Sector Council provides a number of industry reports, including the recent Construction Looking Forward: An Assessment of Construction Labour Markets from 2008 to 2016 for British Columbia and other individual provinces.

Video On 150 Years Of Housing In British Columbia
BC Homeowner Protection Office online video provides a history of 150 years of housing in BC. It shows how housing has evolved as an expression of social, economic, cultural and environmental aspirations of British Columbians.

Data Shows US Housing Collapse Not As Bad As Media Says
US National Association of Home Builders article says fears of a huge loss in home values for most home owners — and especially for middle-income home owners — across the United States, and fears of the devastating losses by financial institutions that would accompany them, are greatly overblown.

Causes Of US Housing Bubble & Global Financial Crisis
The study, The U.S. Housing Bubble and the Global Financial Crisis: Housing and Housing-Related Finance, examines how a combination of government policy errors and private sector miscalculations and mistakes underlie a credit expansion that fuelled a huge bubble in the U.S. housing market, and how the popping of this bubble destabilized the international financial system.

2. Business Management

Managing Changes In Construction Process During Projects
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction report discusses change management process that occurs during construction projects. It presents causes, impacts and correction actions for managing changes, and proposes a generic change process model which has five stages in a sequence: identify, evaluate & propose, approve, implement and review. (PDF)

BC Consumer Information About Pre-Sale Protection
Urban Development Institute Pacific Region provides new consumer information on pre-sale protection, plus a Presale Transaction Cross Reference List from British Columbia Real Estate Association.

How to Market Homes Using Social Networking Sites
US National Association of Home Builders article describes how to properly use modern sales tools such as social networking sites, video hosting sites, and Web blogs to help increase your online exposure and credibility.

Summary Of Cost Vs Value For US Remodeling Projects
Hanley Wood Remodeling Online site provides cost vs. value trends for different remodeling projects in various markets across the US.

3. Building Design & Trends

Articles On Cost Effective Design
Builder Magazine provides access to its online archive of articles on cost effective design and best selling communities.

Purchasable Canadian Guide To Building For Over 55 Market
CMHC guide to the over 55 housing market for housing professionals covers planning, designing, developing, marketing and managing 55+ housing. The book incorporates the results of surveys across Canada which asked older Canadians what they wanted to see in new housing. $50 CDN

US Survey Of What 45+ Consumers Want In Homes & Communities
US National Association of Home Builders study says the 45+ age-group is not monolithic. Rather it is a collection of market segments that vary not only by generation and income, but also by the types of homes and communities desired and the price people are willing to pay for a home. People in these markets may be single or married, first-time home buyers or second-home buyers, working or retired, gardeners or golfers.

Free 3D Model Viewer & Printer Software For Google Sketchup
QuickARC 3D free computer software model viewer reads Google Sketchup files directly and converts them to the 3D Print format without any user manipulation. The Google Sketchup user can now easily turn design concepts captured in Sketchup into real physical 3D printed scale models with a simple Save As operation.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Peter Simpson, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association says: "BC Building Info is a credible source of concise, practical, easy accessible data that should definitely be explored."

Please feel free to let others know about BC Building Info.

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Climate Action Team Recommendations That Affect The Building Industry
BC Climate Action Team recommendations for strategies and interim emissions targets for 2012 and 2016 that affect the building industry include items: 9. Update BC Green Building Code at least every three years to ensure BC is a leader among North American energy codes. 10. Work with local governments on strategy to ensure high level of compliance with energy codes through proper building code enforcement. 11. Introduce new regulations under BC Energy Efficiency Act to adopt leading North American and international standards for energy performance of appliances and equipment. 12. Require that, by 2016, all new publicly-funded buildings in the province have net-zero GHG emissions and that by 2020 all new houses and buildings have net-zero GHG emissions. 13. By no later than 2012, require all houses and buildings to have a current energy efficiency rating or label when they are sold or transferred. 14. Introduce an aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy program for houses and buildings, combining incentive and regulatory approaches and co-ordinated across governments and utilities. (PDF)

BC Government Proposing Adaptable Housing Standards For BC
BC Building & Safety Policy branch is looking for public feedback, until September 22, 2008, into its proposed new Adaptable Housing Standards that will apply to single-storey suites in new residential, multi-unit buildings. Adaptable Housing Standards have been drafted for the following areas: building access; suite doors & doorways; bathrooms; kitchens; outlets, switches, other environmental controls; patios & balconies.

BC Discussion Paper On Building 6 Storey Wood Framed Structures
Building Officials Association of BC provides scoping paper on proposed 6 storey wood frame construction from the Building Policy Advisory Committee discussion of multi-level wood-framed structures. (PDF)

Upcoming Changes To BC Energy Efficiency Regulations For Building Products
Homeowner Protection Office builder bulletin outlines the upcoming changes to BC provincial energy efficiency regulations for thermostats, gas fireplaces, gas boilers, gas furnaces, and windows. (PDF)

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5. Building Science & Technology

Online Presentations On Building Science Topics
Building Science Seminars allows online viewing of many slide shows and presentations including 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, green buildings & sustainability, and much more.

Free Online Calculators For Building Components
Blocklayer has online calculators for roofs, concrete, gazebo, concrete block, stairs, brick, arches, round walls, circular walls, mitres, and more.

Book On Renovating & Restyling Older Homes
Renovating & Restyling Older Homes book reveals secrets of a builder who has been putting these techniques to work on Victorian and Craftsman houses for twenty years. It covers what to repair, what to replace, and what to leave, so you can remodel or restyle older homes for the least amount of money and the greatest increase in value. $34 USD

6. Building Performance Issues

Options In Selection Of Materials For Basement Construction
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction bulletin discusses some key materials issues in basement construction and reviews options for available materials and methods, including recent developments that enhance performance and efficiency.

Site Grading & Drainage To Achieve High-Performance Basements
Canadian Institute for Research In Construction bulletin describes current construction practices for basements, key issues & deficiencies, and practical suggestions for improving drainage and construction with proper site grading and foundation drainage strategies.

Water Management Details For Residential Buildings
Building Science digest covers water management details for residential buildings including water management concept, building paper & housewraps as the drainage plane, flashings, window installation details and examination of the most common window installation failures, conclusion, and downloadable detail drawings.

Accessible Kitchens By Design
CMHC fact sheet discusses universal design kitchen which considers efficient design, efficiency of effort, adaptability, ease of cleaning, audibility, and safety in order to provide a comfortable and safe space for all family members.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

BC Real Estate Industry Resource Site On Green Building
BC Real Estate Association site provides the real estate industry with information, references and links as a set of tools to help learn more about the environmental and sustainability perspective of real estate as it relates to clients, product and profession.

Online Presentations From 2008 Living Future Green Building Conference
Cascadia Region Green Building Council offers online access to presentations from their 2008 Living Future industry conference on green building.

Micro Combined Heat & Power Systems In Residential Application
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction project at Canadian Centre for Housing Technology examined residential combined heat and power issues such as thermal storage, grid connection, optimal fuel cell sizing, natural gas use, electricity and heat outputs, contribution to space and hot-water heating, and supplementary heat (natural gas) requirements.

Solar Domestic Hot Water Installer Workshop In Vancouver
Canadian Solar Industries Association workshop is an approved training course for the certification of CanSIA SDHW System Installers and provides a review of installation procedures, practises and requirements. This course will be held in Vancouver on Saturday, September 20th.

Do LEED Rated Buildings Actually Save Energy?
Henry Gifford, of Gifford Fuel Saving Inc., describes background and procedures of the LEED standard for green buildings, and questions whether such green buildings actually save any energy. (PDF)

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Canadian Online Buyers Guide For Heating Plumbing & Air Conditioning
Canadian HPAC magazine has an online buyers guide where you can search for manufacturers and wholesalers of heating, plumbing and air conditioning products.

Overview Of Deck Fastener Options
Fine Homebuilding article covers deck fastener cost, quality, corrosion resistance, materials compatibility, and a description of each fastener's pros and cons.

Innovative Tools & Building Products Of 2008
Journal of Light Construction lists its annual pick of products designed to help you work smarter, faster, and better.

Weil-McLain Gas Boilers Recalled Due To Carbon Monoxide Hazard
US Consumer Product Safety Commission recent recalled approximately 32,000 cast iron, gas-fired Weil-McLain CGs and CGi boilers because of a risk of CO leakage.

Recent UL Warnings For Potentially Hazardous Electrical Products
Underwriters Laboratories has recently issued several warnings about potentially hazardous electrical products including Econo-Heat wall-mounted heaters, HotShock 600 electric fence controller, and Mager submersible fountain pumps.

9. Installation Procedures

Unvented Roof Assemblies For All Climates
Building Science Corporation digest on Unvented Roof Assemblies for All Climates provides a brief description of different types of unvented roof assemblies, benefits of unvented roof construction, and how closed-cell spray polyurethane foam can be used to create an unvented roof assembly that works in all climate zones.

Common Errors In Framing & Sheathing
Journal of Light Construction article describes common framing and sheathing errors and how to prevent them to avoid inspection failures and customer callbacks.

New Ways To Calculate Cabinet Space
Qualified Remodeler magazine article from National Kitchen & Bath Association book Kitchen Planning presents a revised system for determining cabinet storage.

Crawl Space Remediation Strategies
CMHC study demonstrates that well-planned remediation projects can turn highly deteriorated crawl spaces into functional and durable building components that ensure the long-term stability, performance and sustainability of the building. (PDF)

Installing & Flashing Replacement Windows
Fine Homebuilding article on installing replacement windows says if they do not include housewrap, use a sill pan, and flash the flanges, the work is far from watertight.

10. Information Sources

Purchasable Books On Building Science
Building Science Press provides books including builder's guides, controlling moisture, building enclosures, psychrometrics, and ventilation.

Free Canadian Newsletters On Wood Products & Industry
Canadian Wood Council offers free newsletters on wood products & industry including Technical Publications, Non-Technical Publications, Software Releases, Wood Design Awards, CWC Events, Wood IN Site, Sustainability, and more.

Newsletter On Building & Construction Products
Global Spec, an engineering industry site, offers a free newsletter on building and construction containing news & trends, research, new technology, product releases, career information, fun facts, games and more.

11. Conferences & Shows

BC Annual Building Envelope Conference In Vancouver On September 26
British Columbia Building Envelope Council annual conference provides industry seminars and networking opportunities.

Multifamily Industry Conference In Denver, September 17 - 19
Multi-Housing World produces this conference & expo that covers multifamily housing investment, development, affordable housing, marketing, property management, technology and training.

BC Conference & Show On Erosion & Sediment Control In Delta On September 18 & 19
The 2008 BC Erosion & Sediment Control Conference brings together working practitioners, product suppliers, and specialists in ESC for seminars & presentations, field demonstrations, and trade show.

12. Education & Training

Seminar On Fundamentals Of Building Science To Be Held In Vancouver October 1 & 2
Building Science Seminars master presenters Dr Joe Lstiburek and Dr John Straube deliver this building science advanced course, two-day seminar on building science topics ranging from fundamentals, such as the control of heat, air, and moisture in buildings, to applied sessions on disaster management and building investigations.

BC Gold Seal Course In Construction Contracts & Contract Law
Independent Contractors & Businesses Association of BC Gold Seal Certified Course in September is designed to teach and familiarize owners, managers, supervisors and project managers with construction contracts and contract law, liabilities and responsibilities of all parties to a contract, compiling and submitting proper extras and claims, and ways and means for leaders to avoid conflict with contracts, owners, trades, and labour. (PDF)

BC Seminar On Claims On Construction Projects
Independent Contractors & Businesses Association of BC is presenting this seminar on how to properly handle construction project delay claims. Held in Vancouver on September 26th, it is aimed at educating owners, consultants, contractors and trades. (PDF)

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

How Global Positioning Systems Work
PC Magazine describes how global positioning systems work & how GPS receivers work

Top Specialty Search Engines For Finding Information & Resources
Alt Search Engines is a directory of specialty search engines, arranged in various categories, with a brief description of what each provides.

Short Dictionary Of Construction Terminology
Net Funny offers up this short dictionary of construction terminology that is a collection of tongue-in-cheek construction terms.

14. Industry Survey

Today's Survey:   

Are your customers becoming more concerned about energy prices and energy efficiency?

Given the recent dramatic increase in oil and fuel prices, are your customers showing more interest in energy efficient products and houses?

Yes, more of my customers are showing an interest in energy efficiency
No, I have not seen an increasing interest

Last Survey: Are you taking a holiday this summer?

  • 92% Said: Yes
  • 8% Said: No

Thanks for your participation

Ditty For Today: On Challenges

He that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose. — Anne Bronte

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© Copyright 2008               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada