Alert Notice #109
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
January 27, 2015


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

Thanks to our advertisers, these Alert Notices come to you free. Check out what they offer.

vsa-enterprises   VSA Enterprises Inc.
stonetile   StoneTile
powerhouse   Powerhouse Building Solutions Inc.

My thanks to Wilma Leung, Brian Hart, John Galante, George Pinch, Jessica Taglieri, Jack Parsons, Julie Domvile, Chandra Blouin, Glenn Duxbury, Warren Heeley, Zena Caul, Pat Martin, Melissa Broadus, Hannah Finch, Nancy Argyle, Rick Vlahos, John Maus, Peter Francis, Connie Hoe and Rob Viccars 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

************************************************* Advertisement *************************************************


                  Self-Flashing, Exterior Electrical Mounting Blocks
 Fast, inexpensive, patented, Over Air Barrier electrical plug & light mounting  blocks protect the integrity of your building envelopes and rainscreen systems.
  •  Eliminate the need for cutting large holes into the envelope
  •  Divert water from back of wall before it can penetrate the envelope
  •  Save time & labour with a two-in-one application
  •  CSA/UL approved

Ken's Top Pick

RDH Presentations From Canadian Conference On Building Science & Technology
RDH online presentations from the 14th Canadian Conference On Building Science & Technology cover various building science topics.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

2015 UDI Housing Forecast Event Recap & Presentation Slides
Online UDI Forecast Lunch presentations by Brian McCauley of Concert Properties, Neil Chrystal of Polygon Homes, Kevin Layden of Wesbild Holdings and David Negrin of Aquilini Development give insight into the changing retail market, housing sales and immigration trends, the office construction boom, and the importance of working with First Nations groups.

BC Companies Confident About 2015
Journal Of Commerce says a survey commissioned by ICBA shows that BC's open shop construction companies are optimistic about the New Year.

Charting BC’s Economic Prospects In 2015
Business Council of British Columbia describes 10 developments to watch when charting BC’s economic prospects in 2015.

Central 1: Economic Analysis of British Columbia January 2015
Central 1 report Economic Analysis of British Columbia January 2015 presents their BC Housing Outlook 2015-2018. It says home sales and prices will rise modestly this year after strong 2014 rebound and stronger market conditions are expected in larger urban areas and northern B.C. (PDF)

Industry Not Yet Feeling Effects Of Lower Oil Prices
Journal Of Commerce says the price of oil has fallen sharply in the last six months, but its impact on the western Canada construction industry has been negligible so far.

Where Is Affordability Headed In 2015?
CHBA says we can expect house prices and household debt to continue to dominate public discussion in 2015. As the factors underpinning the supply versus demand dynamic remain persistent there is no expectation that affordability will improve over 2015 and going into 2016. (PDF)

Economic Impact Assessment Study Of BC Rental Housing Sector
KPMG study Economic Impact Assessment Study Of British Columbia’s Rental Housing Sector provides estimates of the economic impact in 2013 of BC’s rental-housing industry on the economies of BC and the rest of Canada. (PDF)

Housing Rights Case Shows Positive Rights Are Phoney Rights
Financial Post describes a housing rights case that illustrates why positive rights are phoney rights.

2. Business Management

Financial Assistance Programs For Apprentices
Canada Government describes their financial programs for apprentices including Canada Apprentice Loan, Apprenticeship Grants, and Employment Insurance for apprentices.

New CRA Remittance Thresholds Effective January 1, 2015
Canadian Federation of Independent Business says CRA announced a reduction in the frequency of source deduction remittances. Over 50,000 small and medium-sized employers will see their maximum number of required payments cut in half, with reduced filing frequency for deductions withheld after December 31, 2014.

Higher Minimum Wages Kill Jobs
Journal Of Commerce economist says it has always perplexed him how often politicians and other commentators believe that if you arbitrarily raise the price of a good or a service, the users of the good or service will continue to buy as much as they did previously and will not reduce, cut back and/or search for cheaper alternatives.

11-Step Hiring Process
Remodeling Magazine describes a time-consuming process that not only saves time and money, but yields employees that fit the company culture.

Mobile Tech Impacts Construction
Journal Of Commerce says the rapid innovation in mobile technology has been the driving force in the Canadian construction industry's technological evolution in 2014.

How Come It's Not News When A Homeowner Rips Off A Contractor?
Canadian Contractor asks how come it’s news when a contractor rips off a homeowner, but never when the reverse occurs.

10 Myths Delaying Depreciation Reports
RDH Building Engineering describes the most common reasons some owners use for delaying the commissioning of a Depreciation Report (also called a Reserve Study or a Capital Plan). Included are some reasons why these are based on false assumptions.

Social & Built Environment In An Older Society
US National Center for Biotechnology Information online book The Social and Built Environment in an Older Society discusses social implications of architectural and interpersonal environments for older people. It suggests how society and its structures can enhance the productivity of, and preserve the quality of life for, older residents in a community. The study investigates new approaches to the problem, including new housing alternatives and new strategies for reflecting the needs of the elderly in housing construction.

3. Building Design & Trends

Best In American Living Awards Highlight Design Trends For 2015
US National Association of Home Builders honored single-family homes, apartments and condos, remodeling projects and subdivisions as part of the 2014 Best in American Living Awards. The winning projects demonstrate innovate design and give a preview of design trends home buyers will see over the next several years.

2015 Best Of 50+ Housing Awards Winners
US National Association of Home Builders lists the winners of their 50+ Housing Awards program, with links to their projects. The awards program honors excellence in building, design and marketing of housing for boomers and beyond.

Finalists For 2015 NKBA People's Picks For Best Kitchen
HGTV displays the finalists in the National Kitchen and Bath Association's 2015 kitchen competition.

How To Design Inviting Outdoor Rooms
Builder Magazine says the craving for time outdoors continues to drive the demand for well-designed outdoor rooms.

Great Rooms For Good Times
Custom Home magazine describes a dozen great rooms that are worth celebrating.

Inspiring Ideas For Small Houses
Fine Homebuilding online slideshow shows some inspiring small homes and great tips and ideas for living small.

9 Universal Design Details You're Forgetting
Remodeling magazine describes some thoughtful touches from the Universal Design Living Laboratory to make your next UD home work for everyone in it.

Online Wall Line Bracing Calculator
Engineered Wood Association online Wall Line Bracing Calculator walks you through the evaluation in real time to ensure proper bracing is not only achieved, but also properly communicated to the team. Free site registration required.

Canadian AEC BIM Protocols
CanBIM online AEC BIM protocols provides the beginnings of a Canadian based compliant, platform-independent protocol for designers BIM authoring tools based on internationally recognized standards and adapted only where required to meet the Canadian AEC industry needs. (PDF)

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Steve Riley, President, S.P. Riley Residential Design Ltd. says: “Received my BC Building Info today & as usual it was great! I always find something in each issue that's incredibly useful. Keep up the good work.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Prepare For Changes To WHMIS
HPAC magazine says WHMIS data sheets and hazard symbols may start appearing on construction sites in the spring of 2015.

Vancouver Bulletins & Advisories On Licenses & Inspections
City of Vancouver offers online access to their past bulletins and advisories on licenses and inspections from 2000-2014.

Vancouver Changes To Building Grade Application Process
City of Vancouver is changing its building grade application process starting January 1, 2015. In many cases, building grade applicants will now be responsible for completing the survey and design of building grades. (PDF)

BC HPO Compliance Case Studies
BC Homeowner Protection Office provides online case studies describing real-life stories about people who have (knowingly or unknowingly) contravened the Act in some way, and the compliance actions taken against them.

BC Directive For Custom Built Gas Fire Displays & Uncertified Outdoor Fireplaces
BC Safety Authority directive clarifies when a design registration is required for custom gas fire displays, fire pits, fire bowls and uncertified outdoor fireplaces.

BC Best Practice Guidelines For Contractors Using Concrete Pumps
BC Construction Safety Alliance and BC Ready-Mixed Concrete Association online Best Practice Guidelines for Contractors using Concrete Pumps provides information, diagrams and suggested best safety practices for the concrete pump operator, and also outlines the responsibilities of the Site Super to provide a safe jobsite for all involved. (PDF)

Dual Permit Review Tested In Calgary
Journal Of Commerce says the City of Calgary is trying out concurrent applications, a new way to move developments through the application process quicker.

New Canadian Electrical Code Goes Interactive With Electronic Version
CSA says the 2015 Canadian Electrical Code is now offered in a new interactive version that provides users enhanced ability to locate, interpret and calculate requirements of the code on a tablet or phone.

Wall Bracing To Satisfy IRC Code
Engineered Wood Association online video Wall Bracing is designed to educate builders and designers about the wall bracing requirements of the International Residential Code.

************************************************* Advertisement *************************************************
Pre-Cast Architectural Stone Exterior – CCMC Approved Rainscreen

Stonetile is manufactured to replicate some of the world’s finest architectural designs. Engineered to last a lifetime, it can add meticulous and stunning detail to any home you build or renovate.
Stonetile delivers elegance in look, style, and service.
  Find out more...

5. Building Science & Technology

2015 BC Building Excellence Research & Education Grant Opportunities
BC Homeowner Protection Office new Building Excellence Research & Education Grants program is being offered for the first time in 2015. It supports and encourages externally generated research and education that improve the quality of residential construction and enhance consumer protection for buyers of new homes in British Columbia. Application guides and forms can be found here.

Does A Crawl Space Make Sense?
Green Building Advisor says achieving a safe, dry, unvented crawl space is just as logical and attainable as a safe, dry, full basement.

Flash & Batt Insulation Can Be Good Idea
Journal of Light Construction says the flash-and-batt technique, where an inch or two of spray-foam insulation is applied to the interior side of roof or wall sheathing before fitting rafter and stud bays with fiberglass batts, can be a good way to insulate.

Moisture Performance Of Wood As Material, Product, System
Woodworks online slide show presentation Understanding Moisture Performance of Wood as a Material, Product and System covers the effects of moisture on wood used in construction. (Large PDF)

Unvented & Hybrid Roof Assemblies
Building Science describes issues and considerations for unvented and hybrid roof assemblies.

What Is Comfort?
Green Building Advisor says as designers engage in an arms race to develop increasingly comfortable homes, green builders need to know when to say enough is enough.

3 Types Of Heating & Cooling Loads
Energy Vanguard describes three types of heating and cooling loads including design load, extreme load, and part load.

Ventilation Strategies In New Construction Multifamily Buildings
US Department of Energy report Evaluation of Ventilation Strategies in New Construction Multifamily Buildings describes field validation of performance of four substantially different strategies for providing make-up air to apartments. (PDF)

The Most Expensive Building Assets To Replace
RDH Building Engineering did a study on 1,651 buildings over a 10 year period and details research findings on which parts of a building are the most expensive to replace.

6. Building Performance Issues

Performance Of Cold-Climate Air Source Heat Pump
CMHC research highlight Performance Assessment of a Cold-Climate Air Source Heat Pump looks into its ability to maintain indoor air temperatures, and its energy consumption during cooling and heating season operation. (PDF)

Quake-Resistant House Passes Shake Tests With Flying Colors
Engineering News Record says recent shake-table tests on a wood-framed house, equipped with newly developed low-cost seismic base isolators, confirmed predictions that the two-story house would come through structurally unscathed.

Planning Ahead For Combustion Air
Journal of Light Construction article says when converting a basement to living space, it's best not to kill your clients.

How Replacing A Furnace Can Make You Less Comfortable
Green Building Advisor blog post describes how upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace can make you less comfortable.

Ghost-Busting Heat Transfer In Return Air Plenums
HPAC magazine describes how common sense, a bit of heat transfer knowledge and strict adherence to specifications go a long way to improving the air/hydronic dynamic.

Simple Methods For Measuring Air Flow
Green Building Advisor describes simple methods for measuring air flow including homemade flow hoods, the credit card test, the garbage bag test, and calibrated laundry baskets.

Windows & Water Leakage Testing
Building Science online slide show presentation on Windows & Water Leakage Testing covers window classifications, laboratory test standards, specifying windows and testing, field performance testing, and window & door failures and details. (PDF)

Damp Indoor Spaces & Health
US National Library of Medicine online book Damp Indoor Spaces and Health not only examines the relationship between damp or moldy indoor environments and adverse health outcomes but also discusses how and where buildings get wet, how dampness influences microbial growth and chemical emissions, ways to prevent and remediate dampness, as well as elements of a public health response to the issues.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Builders New Power Play: Net-Zero Homes
Wall Street Journal says industry wants to bring electricity-generating housing to mass market, but potential buyers must be sold on price.

Power Smart New Home Program Changes For 2015
BC Hydro Power Smart New Home Program has introduced ENERGY STAR for new homes as the program standard effective January 1, 2015.

FortisBC New Home Program Changes Effective January 1, 2015
FortisBC says ENERGY STAR for new homes is coming to British Columbia as the standard for the New Home Program, effective January 1, 2015. The EnerGuide 80 and high-efficiency boiler incentives are no longer available for 2015 applications. New incentive offers and application requirements will be available in April 2015.

10 Useful Green Resources For 2015
GreenBiz list 10 Useful Green Resources For 2015 was curated based primarily on whether the site, portal or database in question expands conventional wisdom about how technology can be used to address climate change or sustainable business practices.

Tips On Energy Efficient Lighting
Department of Energy provides tips on types and selection of energy efficient lighting.

Focus Carbon Tax Debate On Economy, Not Environment
Globe and Mail says a carbon tax designed to improve the environment may be bad for the economy if implemented poorly. On the other hand, a carbon tax designed to improve the economy would be good for the environment. It would be helpful, therefore, that this debate focus on the economy rather than the environment.

Home Performance Industry Predictions For 2015
US Building Performance Institute invited industry experts to share their take on what 2015 has in store for the home performance industry.

Top Clean Energy Trends Of 2015
Renewable Energy World describes their top clean energy trends of 2015.

************************************************* Advertisement *************************************************


                  PowerHouse Products Meet BC Rainscreen Codes
  PowerHouse can supply you with a wide range of tested and proven building   envelope and rainscreen products including:
  •  Rainscreen: Driwall, Sure Cavity, and Home Slicker
  •  Housewrap: Typar Housewrap
  •  Commercial Wrap: Typar Metrowrap
  •  Breathable Peel ‘n Stick: GRACE Perm A Barrier VPS
8. Building Products & Suppliers

Best & Most Realistic Smart-Home Tech From CES 2015
Architect Magazine reveals integrated smart devices, new uses for light fixtures, and ultra-efficient appliances from this year's consumer technology trade fair in Las Vegas.

Laundry Gets High-Tech Treatment At CES 2015
Remodeling magazine shows some LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool products with the latest must-have features for the laundry room.

New Products From JLC-Live NW Expo
Journal of Light Construction looks at a host of new products from the JLC-Live NW expo.

2015 Decorative Concrete Trends
Concrete Network describes a number of trend-setting looks for decorative concrete in 2015.

Choosing A Bathroom Vanity Top
National Kitchen & Bath Association describes features of granite & marble, laminate, solid surface material, tile, and wood bathroom vanity tops.

Fixing A Ceiling Stain
Journal of Light Construction discusses whether or not you can ever make a stain in yellowed ceiling boards disappear.

What Code Officials Need To Know About HVAC Design
ACCA online videos on What Code Officials Need To Know About HVAC Design cover load calculations, equipment selection, duct system design.

Cold Weather & Propane
Plumbing & HVAC magazine descries issues and considerations for cold weather and propane.

Building A Japanese-Style Sawhorse
Journal of Light Construction online video describes a super-strong Japanese-style sawhorse he made using all-compression joinery.

9. Installation Procedures

Best Mix for Pumped Concrete
Journal of Light Construction says you don't just add more water to make concrete easier to pump.

Resurfacing Concrete Patios
Concrete Network provides information and design ideas for resurfacing existing patios.

Fundamentals Of Heating & Cooling Degree Days, Part 2
Energy Vanguard says temperature enters as a temperature difference, but it's not the difference between inside and outside of the building. It's the difference between the outdoor temperature and the base temperature. But what is this thing called base temperature?

Rake Wall Framing
Journal of Light Construction describes how to frame, sheathe, and side before lifting the walls.

Mastering The Dutch Hip Roof
This Is Carpentry describes how to cut and stack a Dutch hip roof.

Achieving RESNET Grade 1 Rating With Fiberglas Batts
Owens Corning online video describes proper techniques for installing fiberglass batt insulation to increase the likelihood of achieving a RESNET Grade 1 rating.

5 Steps To Proper Roof Sheathing Installation
Professional Builder describes simple installation steps for plywood and OSB roof sheathing to ensure optimal performance and minimize callbacks.

Best Practices For Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer
Journal of Light Construction says similar to synthetic stucco, faux stone is really nothing more than fat stucco with chunks of concrete in it. And like any stucco, it must be installed as a drainable assembly.

Debris Shield For Drywall Dust
Fine Homebuilding online video describes a better way to drill holes in a drywall ceiling.

10. Information Sources

Listing Of Industry Organizations By Specification Section
Construction Specifications Canada, Vancouver Chapter lists various industry associations and organizations by their specification section.

World Plumbing Council Research Database
World Plumbing Council online research database allows users to investigate what is happening around the globe regarding research efforts pertaining to plumbing and water-related issues.

Drywall History
Wall And Ceiling site provides a history of drywall and its applications.

Performance Labelling Of Window Films
US National Fenestration Rating Council fact sheet describes the NFRC label and how it works for window film. (PDF)

Inviting Housing Options For Aging Population
Dwell online slideshow describes some new advancements in aging-in-place strategies that provide a positive outlook for the long term.

Neighborhoods Focus On Accessibility & Leveraging Existing Assets
American Institute of Architects (AIA) recent Home Design Trends Survey shows that in existing neighborhoods, both projects and designs aim for continuing to provide easy access to employment, transportation and connection with the larger community. At the same time, homeowners continue to favor contemporary styling, choosing low-maintenance materials for exteriors, flexible interior spaces and roofs with solar reflective characteristics.

World's First 3D-Printed Apartment Building
CNET magazine says a Chinese company has successfully 3D printed a five-storey apartment building and a 1,100 square metre villa from a special print material.

3D Concrete Printer
Tools of the Trade article describes how a contractor built an oversize printer to fabricate homes from concrete.

11. Conferences & Shows

2015 Vancouver Small Business Information Expo
The 2015 Vancouver Small Business Information Expo, held in Vancouver on February 3, is a free tradeshow that brings together government departments and non-profit organizations that support BC small business.

BC Home & Garden Show
BC Home & Garden show takes place at the BC Place stadium, February 18-22. Top celebrity experts and over 425 exhibitors will display the latest in new products for the home.

Buildex Vancouver: BC Building Industry Trade Show
Buildex, the BC design, real estate, and construction show, held February 25-26 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.

HVACR & Mechanical Conference For Education Professionals
HVACR & Mechanical Conference for Education Professionals, held in Maryland March 9-11, is an industry-supported event designed to provide instructors, industry trainers, and administrators of apprentice and secondary/post-secondary instructional programs with cutting-edge technical information and teaching techniques that will enable them to effectively train the next generation of skilled workers for the HVACR and plumbing industries.

High Performance Buildings Conference
CxEnergy 2015, held April 27-30 in Las Vegas, showcases building envelope technologies, specialty systems commissioning, energy management, and project financing.

12. Education & Training

New Apprentice Job Match Tool Better Supports Job-Seeking Apprentices
Industry Training Authority and WorkBC have launched a new innovative online Apprentice Job Match tool which will better connect BC apprentices looking for on-the-job training they need to boost their skills and achieve certification in their chosen trade. (PDF)

Construction Business Management
ICBA Gold Seal certified course Construction Business Management will be held in Burnaby, February 10-11. Participants will learn how to improve the management and business systems of their construction company. Topics covered include: Strategic Planning; Preparing a Business Plan; Marketing; Human Resources; Operational Planning; Financial Controls and more.

Free Webinar On Unvented Roof Systems & Advanced Framing Strategies
US Department of Energy free webinar on February 12th covers Unvented Roof Systems and Innovative Advanced Framing Strategies. It will focus on methods to design and build roof and wall systems for high performance homes that optimize energy and moisture performance. Presenters include Joe Lstiburek and Vladimir Kochkin.

Building Smart With Basements & Parkades
BCBEC half-day workshop Building Smart with Basements and Parkades will be held in Vancouver on February 19th. It will focus on the design, construction, maintenance and remediation of basements and parkades in residential buildings. (PDF)

2015 Timber Connections Design Workshop
WoodWorks two-day workshop 2015 Timber Connections Design, held in Kelowna February 19-20, is intended for the experienced structural engineer looking for an opportunity to do hands-on designs of wood connections.

BC Window Technical Conference 2015
FENBC Technical Conference 2015, held in Surrey on February 24th, will cover NAFS and Site Glazed Products, New Energy Requirements of UValue testing for Windows and Doors, NAFS Labelling Conformance, ASTM E1105 site water testing protocols, and Guard Rails.

School Of Development 2015, The Art Of Approvals
UDI course School Of Development 2015, The Art Of Approvals will be held in Vancouver, February 27-28. Instructors will draw from their own experiences to teach you the basics of navigating successfully through the complex municipal process.

Permeable Pavement Design & Construction
APEGBC course Permeable Pavement Design & Construction will be presented in Vancouver, March 3-4. It focuses on what constitutes permeable pavement, design tools and methodologies in designing permeable pavement, the structural and hydrological capacities, and design traffic characterization.

2015 Tile & Terrazzo Tech Expo In Vancouver
Terrazzo Tile And Marble Association of Canada presents its 2015 Tech Expo on April 24th in Vancouver. Topics covered include Creature Comforts, Rebirth of the Ceramic Craftsman, New Generation Bathrooms, Green vs. Blue Tile, Outdoor Living Spaces, Slim Tile for Walls & Floors, and Panel Discussion.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

10 Amazingly Useful Spreadsheet Templates
Make Use Of offers 10 free, amazingly useful spreadsheet templates to organize your life.

Cross-Platform Mobile Messaging App
WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia, and those phones can all message each other.

Just try and watch this whole thing without at least giggling one time.

Dittie For Today: On Goals

It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement. - Mabel Newcomber

Quick Links

Subscription Info


© Copyright 2015              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional     Valid CSS!