Alert Notice #113
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
April 21, 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 Andrew Mattock, Zena Caul, Les Scott, William Rybolt, Dawn Sondergaard, Bob Joseph, Robby Schwarz, Sonja Riediger, Diana Douglas, Rick Vlahos, Melissa Pound, Kevin Holland, Wilma Leung, and Julie Domvile 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

Archives Of Past Learning About Building Science Events
Building Science Consulting Inc. offers online summaries of their past Learning About Building Science presentations. These provide an overview of key presentation points as well as links to additional resources.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

March 2015 Rennie Review
Rennie Review March 2015 provides a detailed look at the real estate marketplace in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, as well as nationally. It examines the labour force, migration, economy, market stats by neighborhood, current Rennie Marketing Systems projects, team profiles and more. (PDF)

BC Housing Market Update April 2015
BC Real Estate Association online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discusses the March 2015 statistics.

BC Briefing April 2015
Central 1 online BC Briefing says BC construction intentions are holding steady as February building permits recovered from a sharp January retrenchment. (PDF)

Canadian Home Sales Climb In March
Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales activity was up on month-over-month basis in March 2015.

Canadian Interest Rate Forecast
Central 1 Interest Rate Forecast report of March 2015 says Canada’s economy awaits the much-needed export lift to create faster growth and the normalization of interest rates. In the near term, growth is likely to disappoint causing the BoC to take out an additional insurance policy. (PDF)

Canadian First-Time Homeownership Study
Genworth Canada recently released new survey data on first-time homebuyers across Canada. It shows that the typical first-time homebuyer is well-educated, employed, has consulted with mortgage industry professionals and has purchased a home within financial reach.

Why Millennials Are Leaving The Urban Core
Multifamily Executive magazine says contrary to popular opinion among many in the multifamily industry, Gen Y is already starting to abandon city living.

Web Giants Look To Home-Services Market
Fine Homebuilding says installing new faucets, fixing balky electrical switches, and performing a variety of other routine household chores are part of a giant home-services market that could be worth more than $400 billion, and it's an area of growing interest for big internet powers like Google and Amazon.

2. Business Management

2015 VRCA Construction Salary Guide
VRCA & Hays 2015 Salary Guide provides a cross section of average salaries, with a minimum-typical-maximum range for construction management professionals as well as an overview of some of the trends from the industry. (PDA)

Construction Cost Guide 2015
Altus Group annual Construction Cost Guide 2015 provides construction costs covering the scope of Canadian markets, current analysis, unit rates, measurement and application of cost per square foot, and detailed data and descriptions including a breakdown of costs by 13 different building types. Free registration required.

Five Ways To Attract & Retain Top Talent
Builder Magazine says Millennials and Gen Xers are two groups that have a different outlook on employment and the workplace than today’s leaders, many of whom are Baby Boomers.

Powering Up Women In The Trades
Journal Of Commerce says tradeswomen tend to bring enhanced communications skills, a co-operative work ethic, and great attention to detail and instructions.

Secrets Of Construction Superintendents
Field Lens recent survey shows construction professionals believe that the hardest job in construction industry is the Superintendent. Superintendents also find their work highly satisfying and are embracing mobile technology.

Integrated Project Delivery Method Gains Traction
Journal Of Commerce says the Canadian Construction Association held a panel discussion called IPD (integrated project delivery) from a Trade Contractor's Perspective where experts offered their advice on the unique project delivery method that is catching on in Canada.

Who Millennials Trust & Don't Trust
Washington Post says we're witnessing the rise of companies predicated on trust among strangers at the same time as general trust in society is actually falling.

Savvy Remodelers Use Photos To Sell Projects
US National Association of Remodeling Industry describes why pictures are valuable when it comes to promoting your business.

3. Building Design & Trends

Consumer Design Interest Remains Solid For Kitchens & Baths
American Institute of Architects 4th Quarter 2014 Home Design Trends Survey Report shows that as the housing market recovery resumes, sustainability and accessibility continue to be priorities for kitchen and bath features and products.

Hottest 2015 Home Design Trends From Pinterest
Proud Green Home infographic is a compilation of the most popular trending topics in home décor predicted for 2015 by Pinterest’s own blog posts and from Pinterest user boards.

Housing For Older Canadians: Definitive Guide To Over-55 Market
CMHC series Housing for Older Canadians, The Definitive Guide to the Over-55 Market was developed to address the housing needs of Canadians aged 55 and older and is intended for developers, project sponsors and industry stakeholders. The five online volumes include Understanding the Market, Responding to the Market, Planning the Project, Designing the Project, and Services & Amenities.

4 Great New House Plans Under 2,000 Sq. Ft.
Builder Magazine describes four plans with open layouts, efficient use of space, and unexpected details that will delight your buyers (like pretty exterior accents and large kitchen islands).

Catering To Millennials
Las Vegas Review-Journal says millennials, armed with the latest data on decor and a passion for personalization of their ideas, are swarming into the home marketplace. It’s turned designers from contractors into collaborators as the latest generation rolls up its sleeves to play a larger part in defining its world, from chair fabrics to carbon footprints.

8 German Kitchens That Make You Love Sleek Design
House To Home shows examples of German kitchen design that are sleek, precise, high quality, and also about great ergonomics.

Biggest Bathroom Renovation Trends
Houzz Survey shows what’s trending in bathrooms and toilets.

3 Award-Winning Affordable Multifamily Developments
Building Design & Construction presents three 3 award-winning affordable multifamily developments to be honored in AIA's 2015 Housing Awards.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Graham Finch, Principal, and Building Science Research Engineer at RDH Building Engineering says: “Thanks Ken. Always informative and thanks for the links.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

New Qualification Requirements For Residential Builders
BC Homeowner Protection Office special edition of their Building BC newsletter explains important changes to the Homeowner Protection Act Regulation that were announced on March 4, 2015. It's intended to help builders understand the enhanced licensing system and answer questions about the new requirements. (PDF)

Imperial U-factors To Remain In Fenestration Specification
Fenestration Canada says NRCan announced that the U-factors in imperial units will remain in the specification criteria tables to determine zone qualification as an acceptable alternative to the U-factors in metric units. The elimination of the imperial U-factors was to be effective January 1, 2016 but has now been cancelled.

NAFS Labelling For Large Buildings
RDH Building Engineering provides an opinion on whether or not a window manufacturer can provide the NAFS label information on the shop drawings instead of putting individual labels on the products.

Province Seeks Energy Code Compliance Feedback From Professionals
APEGBC says the Province of British Columbia, in partnership with BC Hydro, is conducting a province-wide formal survey of industry professionals and building officials that design, build, or review plans for large buildings.

IAQ Guideline Open For Public Comment
ASHRAE says public input is being sought into it's proposed revision of their residential indoor air quality guideline.

Evolution Of Fire Life Safety In Building Codes
WoodWorks online slide show presentation Evolution Of Fire Life Safety In Building Codes looks at the history of development of our building codes and safety opportunities to facilitate wood design initiatives. It covers techniques for mitigating fire damage and reducing fire spread while describing how an understanding of code intent can be used to argue equivalent fire performance when wood solutions lie outside typical code approved applications. (PDF)

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5. Building Science & Technology

Heat Recovery Ventilation Guide For Houses
BC Homeowner Protection Office online Heat Recovery Ventilation Guide For Houses consolidates best practices for the design, installation and maintenance of heat recovery ventilation systems in single family, semi-detached and row housing. It is intended to assist builders, renovators and owners gain a better understanding of heat recovery ventilators (HRV) and energy recovery ventilators (ERV) and how they can support a healthy indoor living environment. (PDF)

An Energy Recovery Ventilator Is Not A Dehumidifier
Energy Vanguard says a common misconception about the energy recovery ventilator is that it's good for humid climates because it helps to dehumidify a home. It's usually the better choice for a humid climate when you're trying to decide between an ERV or an HRV (heat recovery ventilator) but not because it's a dehumidifier. It is not a dehumidifier. Here's why.

How Would You Insulate A New House In Thunder Bay?
Green Building Advisor answers a prospective homeowner on how best to insulate the walls and foundation of his new house in chilly Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Lessons In Building Science & Air Leakage
Journal of Light Construction article says vapor diffusion gets a lot of air time, but it plays second fiddle to air leakage.

Manufactured Stone Installation Doomed To Fail
Fine Homebuilding says the single layer of housewrap under this veneer of manufactured stone is not enough to protect the moisture sensitive OSB sheathing underneath.

Leaky Air-Conditioner Coil & Condensate Drain
Journal of Light Construction article describes how to deal with a leaky air-conditioner coil and the condensate drain.

Building Smart With Basements & Parkades
BC Building Envelope Council online video of their workshop Building Smart with Basements and Parkades focuses on the design, construction, maintenance and remediation of basements and parkades in residential buildings.

Ship Shape Shipping Containers
Building Science describes issues and considerations for properly insulating shipping containers for use as a house.

6. Building Performance Issues

Re-Thinking Ventilated Attics, How to Stop Mold Growth
RDH Building Engineering describes issues and solutions for mold growth on the underside of sheathing in the Pacific Northwest.

Nine Key Steps To Building A Healthy Home
EcoBuilding says from radon mitigation and proper ventilation to moisture control, these strategies are often overlooked in builders' battle for superior indoor air quality.

Nail Stains & Mahogany Decking
Journal of Light Construction describes possible causes and solutions for stains around stainless steel deck fasteners.

Frozen Pipes
Fine Homebuilding describes issues and considerations for frozen pipes.

Advances In Fire Protection for Light-Wood Framing
Journal of Light Construction says in the wake of recent apartment fires, the wood industry pushes forward solutions for protecting light-weight wood framing.

Durability Of Liquid Applied Water-Resistive Barriers
Construction Specifier describes results of a study that evaluated performance of 17 liquid applied weather resistive barriers (new and old) that were tested in various common construction details, along with accessory products (flashings, tapes, and sealants). This long-term study is ongoing, but has already yielded important observations.

Inadequate Requirements For Water Pressure In Codes
PM Engineer says one of the reasons for inadequate pressure-control requirements in the codes is the lack of understanding in the plumbing world regarding pressure.

Maintenance Prioritization On Limited Budgets
RDH Building Engineering says within the realm of building asset management, there are three ways in which we establish priorities for the stewardship of assets (such as roofs and boilers).

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Delivery Of BC Energy Star For New Homes
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC has announced that as of April 1, 2015, they are licensed to deliver Energy Star training and certification to builders in the province. (PDF)

Energy Efficiency Products Top Homeowner Clean Energy Purchases
Energy Efficiency Markets says US homeowners may swoon over solar, but it’s energy efficiency products they buy, according to national survey results.

2015 Builder Brand Use Study Highlights Energy-Efficient Brands
EcoBuilding pulse article says Builder magazine surveys those in the building industry across the country to find what brands are most trusted by builders. This study highlights which brands are most familiar, most used, and pinpoints the highest quality rating for every product category from kitchen cabinets to central vacuums.

Marketing Zero Energy Homes
Zero Net Energy Homes report explains as a builder or realtor selling a Zero Energy Home, it is important to recognize what people are thinking, feeling and valuing when they are in the process of purchasing a home.

Solar Energy Potential For Northern Sustainable Houses
CMHC report Solar Energy Potential for the Northern Sustainable Houses provides a set of solar design guidelines for designers and builders who want to better utilize and integrate solar energy systems into their designs. (PDF)

Vinyl Is The Counterintuitive Cladding
Green Building Advisor says vinyl siding experiences contradiction between popular lore and the most stringent certification programs. Because intuition can be wrong, and how we feel about a product, like it or not, does not always reflect the truth.

Green Renovations To Basements
CMHC says green basement renovations afford many opportunities to build in features and technologies that will improve the performance of the renovated space.

Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum
Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum is set for 13 - 15 May, in Vancouver. It will be is a key gathering of leaders and professionals working on the implementation of renewables and energy efficiency in cities.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

FAQs For Decorative Concrete Overlays
Concrete Network provides answers to common questions about overlay application, appearance, performance, and maintenance.

Choosing The Right Deck Finish
Fine Homebuilding says the options in penetrating exterior finishes may seem confusing, but there are some clues to help you choose.

Proper Water Heater Selection
US Department of Energy strategy guideline Proper Water Heater Selection provides step-by-step procedures for evaluating preferred cost-effective options for energy efficient water heater alternatives based on local utility rates, climate, and anticipated loads. (PDF)

How Green Condo Occupants Use Ventilation Systems
Many residents of new condominiums don’t fully understand the technology available to them and aren’t taking advantage of the mechanical ventilation systems in their suites.

7 Home Lighting Mistakes
Good Housekeeping describes seven common lighting mistakes to avoid.

EIFS Systems In 2015
Wall And Ceiling feature article says EIFS today is not the same as the EIFS of the 90s. The industry has moved well beyond the provision of an economical cladding, and is positioning itself to deliver a durable and environmentally responsible insulating enclosure strategy to meet the demands of the twenty-first century.

Google's Ideas For Smart Home Doorknobs & More
Venture Beat describes new patents that detail Google’s ideas for smart home doorknobs, doorbells, wall switches, and more.

China Builds First 3D Printed Villa & Tallest Apartment Building
3D Printer News article says China has built the world's first 3D printed villa and tallest 3D printed apartment building.

9. Installation Procedures

Windows Can Be A Pain
Building Science report Windows Can Be A Pain, Continuous Insulation and Punched Openings says whether windows are installed as innies or outies the water control layer of the wall has to connect to the water control layer of the window.

Roof Venting Done Right
Fine Homebuilding describes issues and considerations for proper roof venting.

Cleaning Grout
Journal of Light Construction provides some tips for cleaning tile grout.

Finishing Interior Woodwork
Prep To Finish online video on finishing interior woodwork covers fastener depth, nail hole filling, prep sanding, grit stepping, primer application, grain raising, caulking tips, finishing, application methods, as well as flashing.

Siding With Cedar Shingles
Journal of Light Construction says the secret to shingles is a tight weather barrier and a few smart production techniques.

Brush-Painting A Steel Door
Fine Homebuilding describes procedures for brush-painting a steel door.

Performing A Hydronic System Rehab
Plumbing & HVAC magazine describes how a professional contractor fixes somebody else’s mess.

Nailing Into MDF
Journal of Light Construction describes how to minimize mushrooming from the fasteners in MDF.

10. Information Sources

Advanced Framing Details
US Department of Energy factsheet High Performance Building Details: Advanced Framing describes advanced framing techniques for two and three stud corners, T-intersection, and window header. (PDF)

Online Videos On Asbestos In Construction
WorkSafe BC online video series focuses on asbestos exposure in construction. It shows the reactions from workers, contractors, and a homeowner to the dangers of asbestos.

Top 10 Smart-Home Stories Of 2014
Builder Magazine presents their 10 most popular smart-home stories of the last 12 months, as voted on by the clicks of their site users.

Stucco FAQ
Stucco Manufacturers Association FAQ provides answers to common questions about stucco products and applications.

Seismic Assessment & Retrofit Guidelines For Single-Family Dwellings
Applied Technology Council provides their webinar handouts on US FEMA reports Simplified Seismic Assessment and Retrofit Guidelines for Detached, Single-Family, Wood-Frame Dwellings.

Canadian Association of Radon Scientists & Technologists
Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists is the national trade association for the radon industry.

11. Conferences & Shows

Building Officials Association Of BC Spring Education Conference
The Spring Education Conference of the Building Officials Association of BC will be held in Richmond May 24-25. It will feature plenary sessions and workshops on a number of building topics. (PDF)

2015 GeoExchange BC Conference & Trade Show
GeoExchange BC presents their 2015 Conference & Trade Show in Surrey, June 4-5.

Tile & Terrazzo Annual Convention & Trade Show
Terrazzo, Tile & Marble Association of Canada presents its Annual Convention and Trade Show in Quebec City, June 11-13. (PDF)

Pacific Coast Builders Show
Pacific Coast Builders Show, held in San Diego June 24-25, offers a trade show, educational programs, pre-conference intensives, executive-level programs, and more.

12. Education & Training

Events Listing For Learning About Building Science
Building Science Consulting Inc. lists their Learning About Building Science (LAB) Events. These are monthly training and networking opportunities that are interactive, hands-on, casual events for architects, engineers, and anyone interested in building science.

Managing Construction Risk
Vancouver Regional Construction Association workshop Managing Construction Risk will be held in Vancouver May 4-5. The Gold Seal Certified course puts project risk into context and provides the methodology for managing it.

Construction Contracts, Bidding Administration Logistics & Claims Avoidance
APEGBC course Construction Projects Contracts, Bidding Administration Logistics and Claims Avoidance will be presented May 4-6 in Vancouver. It sets the standards for construction administration, field management and claim avoidance and examines the principals of project administration procedures from the viewpoint of a resident project manager or project engineer on a construction or engineering project.

BC Building Regulation Update
UDI Vancouver breakfast session Building Regulation Update will be held in Vancouver on May 12th. It covers the introduction of the Building Act, changes to how Building Officials will be regulated, and Homeowner Protection Office regulation which sets out licensing and continuing professional development requirements for builders and developers who construct residential buildings.

Building Science/Construction Techniques For Energy Efficient Homes
Victoria Residential Builders Association seminar Building Science/Construction Techniques for Energy Efficient Homes will be held in Victoria on May 13. It includes Building Science/Construction Techniques for Energy Efficient Homes, Building Envelope Issues Arising in our Climate, and Achieving Energuide/Built Green/Energy Star Ratings.

Pre-Construction Planning
ICBA course Pre-Construction Planning will be held in Burnaby on May 19. This Red Seal course will assist participants in developing a formal pre-construction planning process that extends through the three project stages: bidding, pre-construction and project execution.

Professionalism Of Home Builders & Renovators
Canadian Home Builders Association new Professional Development Committee terms of reference and mandate include: Promote the continued professionalism of home builders and renovators; Encourage continuous advancements in labour force development and industry productivity. (PDF)

Skilled Trades Need More Women To Train
BC Government says a great opportunity for women to help drive the economy is through careers in the skilled trades. They list a wide range of information and resources for women in the trades.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Collaborate For Business
Dropbox now allows you to collaborate inside Microsoft Office files with the new Dropbox badge, exchange feedback without sending emails, control who sees what, and more.

The Best Ways To Save Webpages To Read Later
How To Geek describes some of the best ways you can save webpages to read later. My 2 cents...Pocket rocks!

Online Games
Arcade Panic has a number of online games that can help you pass the time.

Dittie For Today: On Motivation

The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps—we must step up the stairs. - Vance Havner

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© Copyright 2015              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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