Alert Notice #107
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
December 16, 2014


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

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My thanks to Neil Ziola, Chris Steuble, Zena Caul, Louise Dunne, Ryan Coleman, Les Scott, Wilma Leung, Peter Sundberg, Brian Hart, Hannah Finch, Glenn Duxbury, Rick Vlahos, Nat Gosman, and Julie Dunville for their comments, tips, and resources. I hope you find at least a wee bit of value in this newsletter.

Have a “Top Drawer” day.

Ken Farrish

Send Us Your Industry & Product News
These Alerts contain summaries and links to 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, just e-mail me at

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Ken's Top Pick

Plan Review For New BC Building Code Part 9, Lower Mainland
Building Officials Association of BC online slide show presentation describes considerations for plan reviews for energy compliance of Lower Mainland Part 9 buildings. (PDF)

Plan Review For New BC Building Code Part 9, Zone 6 Prince George
Building Officials Association of BC online slide show presentation describes considerations for plan reviews for energy compliance of Prince George Part 9 buildings. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Getting To Groundbreaking In BC
Getting to Groundbreaking, an initiative of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, with participation from the Urban Development Institute and Metro Vancouver municipalities, was prepared by researchers with SFU's Urban Studies program. It makes the case for reforms to streamline municipal development approvals and restrain fees to help home builders keep pace with housing demand and control prices. (PDF)

Research Into Housing Costs In British Columbia
Canadian Home Builders' Association of BC, in an effort to assist housing cost transparency, is collecting data to create a graph showing consumers the cost breakdown of a home. They are looking for CHBA Members to assist by providing average numbers for a standard house. All participants and their individual results will be kept confidential.

Mortgage Rate Forecast December 2014
BC Real Estate Association Mortgage Rate Forecast September 2014 says mortgage rates will be modestly higher in 2015, robust growth in the Canadian economy is tested by falling oil prices, and Bank of Canada likely on hold until late 2015. (PDF)

CMHC To Hike Mortgage Issuer Fees
Financial Post says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is tripling the fee it charges some financial institutions to guarantee loans in the mortgage-backed securities market, a move that could end up costing consumers more.

Economic Analysis of British Columbia November 2014
Central 1 report Economic Analysis of British Columbia November 2014 says economic growth climbs to 2.5 per cent this year, and 2.7 per cent in 2015 before averaging about 3.4 per cent from 2016 to 2019. (PDF)

Heading Into 2015, US & Canadian Economic Indicators Pointing Up
Journal Of Commerce says based on the latest economic statistics, it appears that year-to-date economic growth on both sides of the Canada/US border is stronger than was initially reported by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, as well as by Statistics Canada.

Top Trends For 2015 That Will Shape AEC Industry
Building Online shares Microdesk predictions for the top trends that will shape the architecture, engineering and construction industry in 2015.

Protecting Canada's Farmland, The Right Way
Maclean's magazine says Canada’s agricultural land is being subsumed by development around our biggest cities. But protecting that land comes with its own problems.

2. Business Management

New 3D Home Tour Systems
Housing Wire says sellers no longer have to pay a buyer’s agent commission to get buyers into their home thanks to a product that uses 3D home-tour technology to get them into the home online.

BC New Home Buyers Feel Weight Of Heavy Rebar Tariff
The cost of a trade dispute between steel producers in Central Canada and their offshore competitors is being felt by new home buyers in Metro Vancouver's already super-heated condominium market. Neil Chrystal, president/CEO of Polygon Homes, learned about the international scrap over alleged dumping of rebar when he saw a significant spike in construction material costs.

Get It In Writing
Builder Magazine describes how proper documentation can make or break a home building business.

You Want It Done When? How To Respond
Remodeling magazine describes how to create a timeline that shows a prospect the implications.

Reducing Participation In Underground Economy
Canada Revenue Agency report Reducing Participation in the Underground Economy 2014-2015 to 2017-2018, describes their three broad approaches to reducing participation in the underground economy, over this and the next three years. (PDF)

Taking The Temporary Out Of TFW Program
Canadian Federation of Independent Business calls for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to be replaced with a stronger solution to address permanent labour shortages. Geared towards entry-level workers, CFIB’s proposed Introduction to Canada Visa would simultaneously address critical shortages for small businesses while providing a clear path to permanent residence for foreign workers.

5 Tips For Successful First Nation Recruitment
Indigenous Corporate Training offers some tips on First Nation recruitment.

Asbestos In The Building Trades
Building Officials Association of BC online slide show presentation Asbestos in the Building Trades, Hidden Hazards covers the WorkSafe BC presentation from the 2014 BOABC Fall Education Conference (PDF)

Single Window Initiative For Complying With Customs
Canada Border Services Agency and the United States have each agreed to provide commercial traders with a single window through which they can electronically submit all information required to comply with customs and other government regulations.

Economic Principles For Prosperity
Fraser Institute report Economic Principles For Prosperity describes popular myths that surround many critical issues in Canada and discourage reforms that would benefit Canadians. (PDF)

3. Building Design & Trends

Vancouver Special Reno Proves There's Hope For This Tired Design
Huffington Post describes a very cool renovation to a humble Vancouver Special.

Consumers Expect Smart Homes Sooner Than Later
Builder Magazine says a new survey finds out just how soon consumers expect home automation to be commonplace and what they most want from it.

20% Of US homes Will Acquire Smart Home Device In 2015
Gadget Arena says according to a recent survey by Consumer Electronics Association, 20% of US homes will purchase their first smart home device in 2015. Interestingly enough, 48% of of those surveyed who already own a smart home device are under 35-years-old.

10 Things Americans Want In Their Homes
Market Watch says overall, people are generally satisfied with their homes. But there are some desires, both discretionary and non-discretionary, holding people back from being completely happy with where they live.

2015 Roofing Color Trends: Gravitating To Gray
WBOC-TV says a US national color expert predicts that gray will be the rising color choice for roofs across America in 2015. She believes aging baby boomers and their complete comfort with growing older will lead this marketplace trend.

10 Ideas For Kid-Friendly Homework Hub
HGTV Remodels presents 10 examples of dedicated homework stations.

Three-Quarter Bath In 9 Sq. Ft.
Fine Homebuilding describes an ingenious solution to the common design problem of small bathrooms.

Possibilities For Multi Family Housing Design
Multi-Housing News online video describes takeaways from submissions to Multi Housing News 2014 Excellence Awards. Jobs with straight forward design implementing strong lines and color textures were well received. Also, money continues to move into the amenity spaces.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Neil Ziola, Principal, Surelock Builders says: “Another great edition of the BC Building Info Alert, very good job as always.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Webinar On New Energy Provisions In BC Building Code
CHBA BC three-hour webinar on January 21st will cover New Energy Provisions in the BC Building Code, It will provide an overview of the key changes to prepare builders and designers to conform to Code requirements with minimum disruption to their projects. (PDF)

BC Amendments To OHS High Risk Policy
WorkSafe BC has approved amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety High Risk Policy (D12-196-2), effective on December 1, 2014. The amendments establish six designated high risk violations and simplify the criteria for determining whether other violations are high risk, for the purposes of OHS penalties and warning letters.

A Walk Through Window Technologies
Architect Magazine describes how, in the last century, windows have evolved from drafty single-panes to energy-efficient triple-glazed and coated glass units.

4 NAFS Performance Class Mistakes To Avoid
RDH Building Engineering describes four NAFS performance class mistakes and how to avoid them.

NAFS And The Problem With Mullions
RDH Building Engineering says new Canadian guidelines clear things up for window manufacturers and door prehangers who are confused about NAFS and mullion testing.

Thermal Bridging & Energy Standards
Morrison Hershfield online slide show presentation Thermal Bridging and Energy Standards covers the Building Envelope Thermal Bridging Guide, and current energy codes and standards. (PDF)

CSA Home Inspection Standard Challenged By CAHPI
Property Biz Canada says a draft of the new CSA A770 home inspection standard recently released for public review has raised the ire of Canadian home inspectors who believe it will dramatically increase the cost of inspections and could potentially reduce consumer protection.

Many US Builders Worry About Costs Of Codes Without Benefits
US National Association of Home Builders says many single-family builders are worried about the cost implications of the way building codes are evolving, especially codes associated with fire sprinklers and energy efficiency.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Continuous Rigid Insulation Sheathing/Siding
Building America Solution Center describes features, benefits, procedures and considerations for installing continuous rigid insulation sheathing/siding.

Importance Of Defining The Building Enclosure
Green Building Advisor describes how there can be a murky boundary between inside and outside.

Moisture Risk In Unvented Attics Due To Air Leakage Paths
US Department of Energy report Moisture Risk in Unvented Attics Due to Air Leakage Paths summarizes initial analysis of moisture damage potential in an unvented attic insulated with closed-cell spray polyurethane foam. The results indicate that localized damage due to high moisture content of the roof sheathing is possible under very low airflow rates. (PDF)

Are You Making This Mistake With Humidity?
Energy Vanguard explains that dew point or saturation has nothing to do with the dry air component. It's all about the water vapor and the temperature of the air, which is a mixture of dry air and water vapor.

How To Use The Psychrometric Chart
Green Building Advisor describes how the psychrometric chart provides quick answers to questions that would take longer to calculate if you had to use a formula.

Experts Discuss Hygrothermal Analysis
Energy Vanguard summarizes comments from the recent Building Science Corporation annual Experts Session on hygrothermal modeling.

Permeable Concrete Pavers Eliminate Runoff
Portland Cement Association says findings from a recent study monitoring the performance of permeable interlocking concrete pavement confirm that they eliminate stormwater runoff in cold climates. The study also found that concrete pavers offer an effective tool for removing sediment, nutrients, and metals through infiltration, even during winter months, and verified that permeable pavers do not heave from cycles of freezing and thawing.

Water Systems Of The Future
Plumbing Engineer describes some scenarios of how plumbing engineers can meet the challenge of designing the new water systems that the future will require.

Long-Term Monitoring Of Mini-Split Ductless Heat Pumps
US Department of Energy report Long-Term Monitoring of Mini-Split Ductless Heat Pumps in the Northeast examined electrical, distributions of interior temperatures and humidity when using simplified (two-point, one per floor) heating systems in high-performance housing. It shows that simplified space conditioning distribution using MSHPs can provide excellent performance, however there are some cases and situations that designers should be aware of as potential failures. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

The Science Of Frozen Pipes
Builder Magazine describes what makes pipes freeze and what you can do to avoid it.

When Paint Problems Happen
Journal of Light Construction describes how consistent work habits and best practices can eliminate most paint problems.

What Should I Do With My Old Windows?
Green Building Advisor says it’s often hard to decide whether to replace them, repair them, or leave them just the way they are.

Windows Sweat
Green Building Elements describes what wet windows are trying to tell you.

Protecting Your Home From Radon In Canada
Online manual Protecting Your Home From Radon in Canada, A Step By Step Manual for Radon Reduction is designed to provide sufficient information to a homeowner to make many of the basic repairs that can significantly reduce radon levels in their home. (PDF)

Minimize Risk Of Legionella In Plumbing Supply Systems
HPAC magazine says there is a market need to better understand waterborne pathogens and how to minimize the risk of microbial growth in building plumbing systems that can lead to occupant infection. This article specifically refers to Legionella within building plumbing supply systems.

Soundproofing An Apartment Ceiling
Journal of Light Construction Q & A describers how to stop noise coming through the ceiling and walls of an apartment.

Mechanical & Electrical Equipment Seismic Restraint Guidance
Vibration Isolation and Seismic Control Manufacturers Association provides manual for mechanical and electrical equipment seismic restraint guidance.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Reach Out To Green-Minded Buyers
Builder Magazine describes how, in various types of marketplaces, high-performance homes can set you apart from the competition.

New Ventless Clothes Dryer
Whirlpool has unveiled a new clothes dryer that uses an innovative refrigeration system to dry and recycle the air that a typical dryer would vent. By repurposing air, the dryer reduces energy consumption and eliminates the need for an outside vent.

CHBA BC Amends Partnership With Built Green Canada
As of January 1, 2015, CHBA BC will continue its role as a Service Organization to builders participating in the BUILT GREEN Program, but will no longer serve as the Delivery Agent for the province. (PDF)

2015 Built Green Checklists & Program Delivery Change In BC
Built Green Canada provides information on the new 2015 Built Green Checklists and some program delivery changes in BC.

Increasing Energy Efficiency In BC’s Built Environment
Carbon Talks report Increasing Energy Efficiency in BC’s Built Environment summarizes 30 participants input into research priorities for the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. Participants were invited for their work in building design, planning, technology, utilities, and construction, as well as in the fields of socio-behaviour and policy. (PDF)

2015 Greater Vancouver Clean Technology Expo & Championship
The Greater Vancouver Clean Technology Expo & Championship will be held January 28th, at Surrey City Hall. Forty clean technology companies from across the region will come together at the newly built LEED-Gold Surrey City Hall Atrium for a one day pitch-based competition for the title of Greater Vancouver's Clean Technology Champion.

Technical Seminars For Environmental Professionals
Smart Methods in Advanced Remediation Technologies (SMART) is a series of technical learning seminars for environmental professionals.

Climate Change Knowledge Navigator & Widget
Knowledge Navigator widget is an online application that helps you to find and easily access selected climate change platforms. These platforms, or initiatives, host and link to material from more than one institution or source, and are distinct from an institutional website.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Daesung Celtic Enersys Recalls Tankless Gas Water Heaters
BC Safety Authority describes the joint recall with Health Canada, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and Daesung Celtic Enersys. This recall involves all models of single and dual purpose Coaire and Quietside brand tankless gas water heaters.

Why PVC Pipes Sometimes Fail And How To Prevent It
HPAC magazine says over the years, flexible PVC pipes have become more stable and reliable, achieving a rather low failure rate. However, there are still several ways they can be misused, with the user or installer typically to blame.

Flexible Pipe For Flexible Needs
Plumbing Engineer article gives description of how selection of plastic piping materials can ease planning and installation.

Does Flooding Damage Framing Lumber?
Journal of Light Construction says after drying, wood that was exposed to a relatively short but extremely wet period should not lose structural strength.

Webcast On New Products From International Builders Show
TecHome Builder webinar on February 5th will describe the coolest tech products they discover at the upcoming International Builders Show, from the latest in kitchen appliances to water savers, HVAC systems to telecommunications.

Equipment Airflow Assumptions & Quick Duct Design Methods
David R Blog says quick duct design rules have been around for a long time, and multiple aspects of performance involving the components of the HVAC system are being assumed with these rules. In addition to this, the effects these rules have on proper air delivery are often misunderstood.

IFTTT Becoming Smart Home Powerhouse
Digital Trends article says IFTTT has grown from a little-known Web app to an Internet of Things powerhouse, and it’s only getting bigger. Lately it’s been adding support for connected home devices at a feverish pace.

Detailing For Wood Shrinkage
Woodworks online slide show presentation Detailing For Wood Shrinkage examines shrinkage associated with wall and floor design, how to minimize effects of both shrinkage and differential movement with proper detailing, and how to prevent shrinkage induced construction issues such as drywall cracking, window frame wracking, and compromised plumbing lines. (PDF)

9. Installation Procedures

Hardwood Kitchen Countertops
Journal of Light Construction describes how to make hardwood fitchen countertops that last.

Air Sealing & Insulating Attic Knee Walls
Building America Solution Center describes features, benefits, procedures and considerations for air sealing and insulating attic knee walls.

6 Common Electric Radiator Problems
Fine Homebuilding describes six common electric radiator problems and symptoms that may occur and how to repair them if necessary.

Concrete Walkway Resurfacing
Concrete Network provides design ideas for transforming worn and cracked walkways to look like flagstone, slate and more.

Hidden Pantry Doors
Journal of Light Construction online video explains the 3 basic elements you'll need to consider when taking on a hidden door project.

Installing Radon Fan
Building America Solution Center describes issues and considerations for installing a radon fan to prevent the accumulation of radon and soil gasses in the home.

Should You Reuse Existing Boiler Flue & Chimney?
PM Engineer says one of the considerations when replacing a boiler is whether to re-use the existing flue and chimney. While most installations work without problems, there are a couple precautions that you should consider.

Upgrading To Three-Prong Outlets
Journal of Light Construction says in an older house wired with BX cable, the original two-prong outlets may be able to be upgraded to three-prong grounded outlets.

10. Information Sources

Reports On High R-Value Wall Assemblies
Building Science provides free access to their technical documents on High R-Value Wall Assemblies, summaries of results of their ongoing High R-Value Enclosure research.

Protecting Mechanical Trades From Asbestos Exposure
WorkSafe BC bulletin Protecting Workers From Asbestos Exposure In The Mechanical Trades describes issues and considerations for working in situations where asbestos is present.

4 Steps To Taking Action With Your Depreciation Report
RDH Building Engineering says depreciation reports arm you with a valuable financial planning tool. Strata now need to work with the plan they’ve been given to implement renewals and maintenance projects. (PDF)

Homeowner Guide To Radon
Canadian Real Estate Association online Homeowner Guide To Radon describes issues and considerations for radon in homes. (PDF)

Borrowing A Cellulose Blower From A Big Box Store
Green Building Advisor says if all you want to do is blow cellulose on your attic floor, all you really need is one of those blowing machines that are available at building supply stores.

Google Project Can See Through Walls
Equipment World says a Google project called Tango may create Android phone apps that will take editing to your phone and show you pipes and wires you cannot see.

2014/2015 Natural Gas Prices For North American Heating Season
Natural Resources Canada says for the current winter heating season, running from November 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, consumers can expect relatively low natural gas prices compared to historical averages and also relative to competing heating fuels.

11. Conferences & Shows

Annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show
National Kitchen & Bath Association presents an annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show & Conference in Las Vegas, January 20-22. It is the world’s largest international trade event focused exclusively on all aspects of kitchens and baths specifically serving kitchen and bath dealers, designers, architects, remodelers, wholesalers and custom builders.

2015 Canadian Home Builders Conference In Halifax
Canadian Home Builders Association annual national conference, held in Halifax March 4-6, includes a number of speakers and sessions on business and industry issues, awards presentations, product displays, and social and networking events.

Sustainable Communities Conference & Trade Show
Federation of Canadian Municipalities presents the Sustainable Communities Conference and Trade Show in London, February 10-12. The conference brings sustainability leaders together from across the country to share their challenges and successes, learn from each other, and collaborate to build their own momentum on the path to sustainability.

12. Education & Training

Passive House Design & Construction Course
BC Ministry of Energy and Mines is hosting a Passive House Design & Construction training course January 12-16 in Victoria. It is being presented by the Canadian Passive House Institute West and will provide the tools to set participants on the path to designing and building Passive House buildings.

Updates To NBCC & CSA Structural Design Standards
Structural Engineers Association of British Columbia seminar 2014/2015 Updates to NBCC and CSA Structural Design Standards will be held in Vancouver on January 16. This full day seminar will present updates found in the upcoming NBCC 2015 Part 4, as well as the recently published updated CSA material design standards. (PDF)

Art of Hydronics Fundamentals
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating course The Art of Hydronics Fundamentals will be held in Coquitlam, January 19-20. It covers hydronic system basics, concept of heat loss calculation, and fundamental principles related to today’s hydronic systems.

Communications Skills
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association course Communications Skills, held in Burnaby January 21-22, is designed to teach owners, managers, and supervisors how to communicate effectively and efficiently.

Online Course On Integrated HVAC Engineering
Healthy Heating online course Integrated HVAC Engineering covers how to integrate comfort, health and efficiency to the maximum benefit of the building occupants.

List Of Designated Training Providers In BC
BC Industry Training Authority lists Designated Training Providers that meet their program standards.

Canadian Resource Site On Construction Careers
Careers In Construction gives information on various trades, including details of skills, job requirements, wages, advancement opportunities, educational options, and where to find more information.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Devices Leverage Smartphones & Text Messaging
Engineering News Record describes new offerings from electronics manufacturers that might serve the needs of construction.

Portal Expands Homebuilder Productivity
Constructech says KPI, schedules, job status, bid management, and purchasing management are all available on mobile or desktop devices with a builder portal recently launched by BuilderMT.

Restore Your Faith In Humanity In 4 Minutes Flat
YouTube video proves that people can do the kindest and bravest things.

Dittie For Today: On Knowledge

Some drink at the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle. - Robert Anthony

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© Copyright 2014              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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