Alert Notice #112
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
March 31, 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

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My thanks to Brian Hart, Neil Ziola, Diana Douglas, Joey Fearn, Rick Vlahos, Glenn Duxbury, Les Shuert, Mark Sakai, Wilma Leung, Louise Dunne, George Pinch, Ed Thomas, Travers Lee, Rick Fearn, Connie Howe, Bruce Gray, Robyn Kappula, John Kostelnik, Julie Domvile, Rob Vicars, Ed Hudson, and Nancy Argyle 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

Forty Years Of Air Barriers
Building Science report Forty Years of Air Barriers-The Evolution of the Residential Air Barrier says throughout the postwar years practitioners were taught, incorrectly, that vapor barriers were necessary in cold climates to protect wall assemblies from moisture damage and that it was necessary to install these vapor barriers on the interior of cavity insulation.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Economic Briefing March 2015
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing of March 23 says BC business confidence remains high and steady. (PDF)

Mortgage Rate Forecast March 2015
BC Real Estate Association online Mortgage Rate Forecast of March 2015 says mortgage rates have reached new historic lows. (PDF)

Housing Market Outlook Canada, 1st Quarter 2015
CMHC First Quarter 2015 Housing Market Outlook Report forecast is for starts of 187,400 units in 2015, and 185,100 units in 2016. Their outlook calls for gradual moderation in the pace of new home construction over the next couple of years as employment, disposable income and high net migration continue to support the market. (PDF)

Canadian Home Sales Edge Up In February
Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales activity edged up slightly on month-over-month basis in February 2015.

Are New Starter Homes History?
Builder Magazine says since World War II ended, US builders lured buyers with new houses priced to vie with resale, but better built. They may now be extinct.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Mortgage
Redfin survey shows thirty-eight percent of American millennials (those aged 18-34) reported that they would, or have, put off a wedding or honeymoon in order to afford to buy a home.

Lennar & Toll Brothers Experiment With Rental Housing
Construction Dive says big US builders Lennar and Toll Brothers have detoured from their traditional focus on single-family homes to add rental properties to their product lines.

Future Trends & Marketplace Expressions
US National Association of Remodeling Industry says two key trends capturing consumers’ attention are closely tied to a desire for greater adaptability to meet evolving lifestyle needs, and a search for connections based on shared passions, support and inspiration.

2. Business Management

12 Ways To Market Homes
Builder Magazine offers a dozen stories to help you crank up the volume on your marketing efforts as spring selling season begins.

Dollar-A-Day Mortgage Offered By BC Condo Developers
Business News Network says as Canadian banks slash their mortgage rates to new lows, a developer in BC is offering a dollar-a-day mortgage to interested home buyers in the Metro Vancouver region as incentive to buy in.

Marketing To Women Landscape For 2015
Huffington Post says most managers are well aware of the economic importance of women and recognize that women influence 85 percent of all household purchase decisions. They show how 2015 will generate a renewed interest in marketing to women.

How Millennials Are Transforming Homebuying Process
US News says young homebuyers are more comfortable texting than talking, which means big changes for real estate.

Customer Service: The Forgotten Marketing Channel
Salesforce online graphic presentation describes smart and simple steps to create a successful customer service experience.

Landmark Property Tax Decision For Developers
Urban Development Institute says there has been a recent landmark victory at the Property Assessment Appeal Board on the method of splitting assessed values between residential and business tax classes for mixed-use projects under construction.

Looking At BC Builders Lien Act
Journal Of Commerce says the BC Builders Lien Act is an important consideration for anyone working in the construction industry.

US Prices For Gas Down, Wood Products Sideways, Gypsum Up
US National Association of Home Builders says framing lumber prices have been flat over the last 12 months, OSB prices flattened over the last six months, and prices for gypsum jumped 4.3% in January.

3. Building Design & Trends

2014 Winners Of BC Georgie Awards
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC provides a list and project information for this year's Georgie Awards winners and finalists. Their new home and home renovation projects highlight just some of the quality, skill, professionalism and excellence in BC's residential construction industry.

How Builders Are Redefining Contemporary Design
Professional Builder says contemporary design is subject to a wide range of interpretations, from transitional suburban homes to edgy urban multifamily. They explore its most recent evolution.

20 Modern Kitchens
Dwell presents 20 kitchens that offer a visual feast of design creativity.

Latest Residential Landscape Design Trends
American Society of Landscape Architects survey shows sustainable and low-maintenance design are the top trends for residential landscape projects.

Homes of Retirees: I Want It My Way
Forbes says pretty much everything you think you know about the homes where today’s retirees live and want to live is wrong.

Designing For An Aging Population
REMI says a keynote session at Buildex Vancouver 2015 discussed how the importance of health and wellness in the design process is becoming increasingly important with an aging population.

Housing Options for People with Dementia
CMHC online guide Housing Options for People with Dementia, Volume 1 is an introductory resource on housing considerations for relatives and caregivers of people with dementia. It outlines different housing options and solutions, including locally based initiatives so that people with dementia can remain in familiar surroundings. (PDF)

Lessons Learned With Small Market Units
UDI research study Exploring Best Practices and Lessons Learned with Small Market Units aimed to learn what is working well and what is not working as well with small market housing development from experiences in BC and in other jurisdictions, and how future development can be informed by this insight. (PDF)

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Gary Hamer, engineer at BC Hydro Power Smart says: “I'm continually amazed at the amount of information - and good information - that you pack into an edition. Pretty cool!”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Code Interpretation For Pot Lights & Air/Vapour Barriers
Building Officials Association of BC interpretation clarifies requirements for continuity of air and vapour barriers at pot light penetrations. (PDF)

BC Consultation On New CSA B149 2015 Gas Code
BC Safety Authority is requesting stakeholder input before adoption of 2015 Gas code updates, including the 2015 CSA B149 series. BCSA will propose BC-specific amendments to the 2015 edition of gas codes for adoption into the Gas Safety Regulation.

Flooding Information For Gas & Electric Safety
BC Safety Authority provides tips on gas and electrical safety in flood situations.

Illustrated User Guide NBC 2010 Part 9 Housing & Small Buildings
National Research Council Canada sells the Illustrated User Guide NBC 2010 Part 9 Housing and Small Buildings. It combines two earlier publications, the National Housing Code of Canada 1998 and Illustrated Guide and the User’s Guide NBC 1995 Housing and Small Buildings (Part 9), into one comprehensive document that describes various compliance approaches, including examples and supporting formulas. $180 Cdn

F280-12 Determining Capacity Of Residential Space Heating & Cooling Appliances
CSA standard F280-12 Determining the Required Capacity of Residential Space Heating and Cooling Appliances provides guidelines for contractors and installers on calculating proper heating and cooling system energy capacity for appliances used in housing and small buildings of residential occupancy to which Part 9 of the National Building Code of Canada applies.

7 Essential Tips For Complying With NAFS In Canada
RDH Building Engineering provides seven essential tips for complying with NAFS in Canada.

Codes & Standards For Treated Wood
Canadian Wood Council provides an overview of codes and standards for treated wood.

Volunteers Sought For Canadian Commission On Building & Fire Codes
The search for candidates to serve on the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes is on. The CCBFC oversees nine standing committees that work on the Canadian building, fire, plumbing and energy codes that form the basis of provincial and territorial regulations. They are looking for volunteers to represent all regions of Canada and all sectors of the construction industry that use national and provincial codes.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Forces & Conditions Allowing Air To Flow
Building America Solution Center examines the forces and conditions that allow air to flow into, out of, or within a building, including: controlled versus uncontrolled airflow; causes of air pressure; holes and pathways; effects of air flow.

Building Enclosure Design, Best Practices For Wood-Frame Buildings
WoodWorks online slide show Building Enclosure Design: Best Practices for Wood-Frame Buildings, presented by RDH Building Sciences Inc. Through a combination of building science fundamentals, case studies, and current research, the slide show explores best practices for designing durable, energy efficient building enclosures for mid-rise buildings constructed using traditional light wood-frame construction. (PDF)

Moisture In Fat Walls
Building Science reports that based on the data, calculations, and analysis in their study, all three test walls should have been at high risk of failure and the analytic tools used indicate that these walls should have failed. However, disassembly showed that the walls were essentially undamaged by the monitored moisture exposure. (PDF)

Online Degree Days Calculator
Energy Star online calculator pulls weather station data, including heating and cooling degree days (HDD and CDD), from more than 900 weather stations around the United States and Canada.

Gas-Fired Boilers
Building America Solution Center describes features, issues and considerations for selection and installation of gas-fired boilers.

Home Control Or Automation
Home Energy magazine discusses the difference between home control and home automation.

Following The Nest Thermostat Path To Efficiency
The Energy Collective says the next step in technology-enabled efficiency is to enable thermostats to feed information back to the furnace computer so that the HVAC equipment can run at peak efficiency for as many hours of the day as possible.

How Septic Systems Work
Fine Homebuilding describes how septic systems work. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

Design For Wind Resistance
Engineered Wood Association describes how impacts of the most common high-wind events are easily mitigated by a few wind-resistant construction techniques.

Wind Resistant Design Considerations For Wood-Frame Structures
Woodworks online slide show presentation Wind Resistant Design Considerations for Wood-Frame Structures provides an overview of lateral design for wood-frame structures with a focus on wind resistant detailing. It includes lessons learned from natural disasters, load path continuity, and updates to the International Building Code affecting structural design. (PDF)

Fixing Cracks In Polished Concrete
Journal of Light Construction describes how to make cosmetic repairs to a polished concrete slab, using an epoxy to render unsightly cracks nearly invisible.

CO Alarms Installed For Combustion Safety
Building America Solution Center online guide describes issues and considerations for installing CO alarms for combustion safety.

An Update On Formaldehyde
US Consumer Product Safety Commission online booklet An Update On Formaldehyde describes what formaldehyde is, what products it may be found in, where you may come in contact with it, how exposure to formaldehyde may affect your health, and how you might reduce your exposure to it. (PDF)

Formaldehyde & Engineered Wood Products
Engineered Wood Association technical note describes why PS 1 and PS 2 certified panels easily meet or are exempt from the world's leading formaldehyde emission limits and regulations. (PDF) Free site registration required.

Field Testing Of Compartmentalization For Multifamily
Building Science study Field Testing of Compartmentalization Methods for Multifamily Construction examined the use of the taping of exterior sheathing details to improve air sealing results in townhouse and multifamily construction. The results show no improvement associated with such taping. (PDF)

Can Dominoes Topple A Building?
RDH Building Engineering describes the various human traits and situations in a chain that lead to failure of assets on buildings (or pieces of equipment).

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Six Myths Of Sustainable Design
Huffington Post surveyed hundreds of architects and designers to understand the obstacles to going green, and summarizes the six misperceptions that emerged about sustainable design.

State Of Green Business, 2015
Green Biz report The State of Green Business 2015 is their eighth annual assessment of the environmental performance of companies around the world, along with the trends to watch in the year ahead. Free registration required.

Canada's Greenest Home Posts Energy Data
Green Building Advisor says Canada's student-built net-zero energy spec house now has the numbers to back its energy-efficiency claims.

Climate-Specific Passive Building Standards
Building Science online report BA-1405 Climate-Specific Passive Building Standards main objective is to validate (in a theoretical sense) verifiable, climate-specific passive standards and space conditioning criteria that retain ambitious, environmentally necessary energy reduction targets and are economically feasible. (PDF)

New LED Lights On The Scene
Green Building Advisor says manufacturers of LED lighting products have introduced lamps that are designed to solve the recessed can problem.

2015 Canadian Green Building Conference
Canada Green Building Council's annual 2015 national conference and expo will be held in Vancouver June 2-4. Building Lasting Change 2015 will provide the platform to hear Canadian and global experts share their insights. The focus is on how green building and sustainable neighbourhood development contribute to building resilient cities and enhancing human health and well-being while helping regenerate our natural environment.

Understanding Living Community Challenge
Living Future workshop Understanding the Living Community Challenge will be held in Vancouver on May 8. It provides an in-depth introduction to the Living Community Challenge, and will pay special attention to the Energy and Water Imperatives and their implications at the community scale.

FortisBC Combined Space & Water Heating System Pilot
FortisBC is looking for 100 homes from across BC to participate in a pilot to test the performance and efficiency of a combined space and water heating system. If accepted, you may be eligible for a rebate of either $1,300 or $1,800.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Directory Of Landscape Industry Members In BC
BC Landscape and Nursery Association provides a searchable database of certified companies, designers, landscapers, garden centres, and retail nurseries around BC.

2015 Decorative Concrete Council Award Winners
Decorative Concrete Council, a specialty council of the American Society of Concrete Contractors, displays their winners their 2015 Decorative Concrete Council Awards.

Online Canadian Spray Foam Application Guide
Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association online Canadian Spray Foam Application Guide that was produced to clarify the correct usage of both two pound closed cell and half pound open cell spray foam products. (PDF)

Painting Fiber Cement Siding
Journal of Light Construction suggests the best way to paint fibre cement siding.

Optimize Your Home Lighting Design Based On Color Temperature
Tech Hive says as you think about which type of lighting to use in your home, you should consider how you can use color temperature to optimize your environment.

Monitoring Air Quality At Home
Fine Homebuilding describes some products that allow consumers to choose from a variety of relatively inexpensive, Wi-Fi-enabled devices for monitoring indoor-air quality.

Fine Tuning Standard Tools & What Is In Your Boots?
Home Builder Canada magazine describes some new products for the construction industry.

Practical Design Of Metal Roofing
RCI Western Canada online slide show presentation Metal Roofing, Practical Design covers minimum requirements, design resources, low slope metal roofing, design details, and continuously insulated systems. (PDF)

9. Installation Procedures

Installing Hardwood Floors Over Concrete
Journal of Light Construction describes how installing hardwood over a concrete slab requires extra care and special materials.

Cladding Attachment Over Mineral Fiber Insulation Board
US Department of Energy study shows mineral fiber insulation sheathing is a viable solution for exterior insulation retrofits. It provides a vapor-open insulation that is key to making wall assemblies moisture safe, and it also avoids issues associated with foam plastic insulation such as flammability, petroleum and flame retardant content, global warming potential of blowing agents, and harboring of insects or pests. (PDF)

Thickness & Weight Implications For Concrete Counters
Concrete Network describes thickness, weight and size limitations for cast concrete counters and how contractors create the illusion of massiveness.

Pre-Hanging Exterior Doors
Journal of Light Construction online slide show describes how to prehang your own exterior doors in a way that can be done efficiently and with precision.

Getting Air For Atmospheric Combustion Appliances
Energy Vanguard describes issues and considerations for the problem of getting air for atmospheric combustion appliances.

Conservation Of Heritage Masonry & Wood Windows
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for the conservation of heritage masonry and wood windows. (PDF)

Dry Stacked Stone Walls
American Society of Landscape Architects article describes the craft of building dry stacked stone walls that are usually mortar-less, built of local stone and reflect each areas vernacular architecture and cultural heritage.

Installing A Wood Shingle Roof
Journal of Light Construction describes why wood roofs have gone out of favor and how to install the wood roof the right way.

10. Information Sources

Comprehensive New Home Construction Statistics Tables
CMHC online new home construction statistics include Annual Housing Starts, Completions, Units Under Construction, Units Absorbed, Units Unabsorbed, Life of Inventory, and Price Quartiles and Averages by Census Subdivision, Neighbourhood or Census Tract for Centres 10,000+.

2015 Canadian & Provincial Workforce Forecasts
BuildForce Canada annual Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecasts offer a 10-year scenario of workforce supply and demand by trade, province and region. These forecasts help industry, training providers and government decision makers manage workforce requirements.

Canadian Households & Environment Survey, 2013 Highlights
Statistics Canada highlights from Households and the Environment Survey, 2013 provides good insight on preferences for heating and cooling homes, and the importance of indoor environmental quality and water conservation to home buyers. (PDF)

Case Studies Of Wood Use In Buildings
Canadian Wood Council provides online case studies of wood use in a wide range of buildings.

Community Engagement For Aboriginal Recruitment
Indigenous Corporate Training provides some information on recruitment and retention of Aboriginal employees and how to begin. It's important to get to know as much as possible about a community you want to recruit from before you reach out.

11. Conferences & Shows

Vancouver Real Estate Forum
Vancouver Real Estate Forum, help April 9th, is an annual conference on real estate investment and management issues. It covers key issues and challenges facing real estate investors, developers, asset managers, brokers and other professionals active in every facet of commercial, industrial, residential and investment real estate.

Canadian Water & Wastewater Symposium
Environmental Services Association of Alberta presents WaterTech Symposium 2015 in Kananaskis, April 20-22, It is the premier water technology transfer event for environmental professionals, recommended for all industry sectors that have an interest in the technical aspects of water and wastewater management.

Canadian HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical & Lighting Expo
MCEE, Canada's largest plumbing, HVACR, hydronic, electrical and lighting industry expo will be held in Montreal April 22-23.

The Digital Living Conference & Showcase
Connections Connected Home Conference will be held May 19-21, in San Francisco. It focuses on innovative technology and business solutions for the connected consumer, and features consumer research and market strategies to monetize digital content, mobile applications and services, value-added services, connected consumer electronics, and home systems.

Construction Specifications Canada Conference 2015
Construction Specifications Canada annual conference will be held in Winnipeg, May 27-31. It offers a wide range of educations opportunities, association meetings, and sponsor displays.

Fenestration Canada 2015 AGM & Conference
Fenestration Canada will hold its 2015 AGM and conference in Vancouver June 4-6.

12. Education & Training

BC Webinar On Energy Star For New Homes
CHBA BC is presenting a webinar On Energy Star For New Homes on April 14th. It covers what is required in building a qualified home, EnerGuide Rating and mechanical requirements, administrative procedures, new incentive programs, and consumer focused marketing tools. (PDF)

Free Information Sessions On Enhanced Licensing System For BC Builders
BC Homeowner Protection Office is holding free Information Sessions around the province, on the new Enhanced Licensing System for BC Builders.

Free Webinar On Existing Building Commissioning
ASHRAE free webinar New Tomorrows for Today's Buildings: Existing Building Commissioning will broadcast live on April 23. It will feature industry experts who will define the benefits of existing building commissioning for the environment, occupants, operations staff, and overall ownership costs.

Steep Slope Roofing Safety Symposium
WorkSafe BC presents the Steep Slope Roofing Safety Symposium in Victoria on April 25th. It includes sessions on safety responsibilities in the roofing industry, fall protection planning and procedures, and regulatory requirements for roof inspections.

Course On Automation & Controls
BC Electrical Association six hour course Automation and Controls will run over two evenings, Wednesday, May 6th & Thursday, May 7th in Burnaby. Topics to be covered include introduction, automation components, networks, and summary.

Morning Seminar On Energy Code Explained
CHBA Okanagan morning seminar on May 8th features Richard Kadulski presenting the new energy code changes and updates.

Building Science Fundamentals Seminars Throughout US
Building Science presents Building Science Fundamentals seminars in various US cities, designed to provide high-quality, up-to-date building science information to all professionals in commercial, institutional and residential building sectors.

New ITA Advisors Starting To Build Industry Connections
Journal Of Commerce says the Industry Training Authority has hired two new apprenticeship advisors to support local skilled trades apprentices and employer sponsors in the Lower Mainland.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Online Course On 3D Printing
Builder Online says Underwriters Laboratories new online training will help builders and architects understand the real world applications of this growing technology.

5 Must-Have Apps For Remote Workers
IT Business slideshow describes five apps for the remote worker that could make being a road warrior less of a battle.

Catch Me If You Can, Or Go Away
In this episode of an ancient tale we might call “Primates are masters of the universe,” a gibbon drives two young tigers from his forest kingdom.

Dittie For Today: On Wisdom

Wisdom is made of two parts: 1) having a lot to say. 2) not saying it. - Benjamin Franklin

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© Copyright 2015              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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