Alert Notice #125
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
January 26, 2016


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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HPSC BC Home Performance Stakeholder Council
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My thanks to Joey Fearn, Wilma Leung, Brian Hart, Zena Caul, Glenn Duxbury, John Maus, Ken Sinclair, Sabine Just, Matt Horne, Murray Frank, Ron Zimmer, and Wendy McNeil 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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                                     New BC Home Performance Stakeholder Council
   A group of industry players are working to advance home performance in BC. They have formed a
   Stakeholder Council to share ideas & resources, and to invite input from residential energy retrofit
   contractors, trades, suppliers, manufacturers, associations, and industry experts. You can...
  • Stay connected by adding your name to their mailing list to receive regular news or updates
  • Provide your thoughts & ideas on issues that you see as important for industry development
  • Get involved by attending future meetings or events to network with other industry players
  • Actively participate as a member of an Industry Sector Council
                                                                   Find out more…

Ken's Top Pick

Flow-Through Wall Assemblies & Vapour Barriers
Building Science says a wall is supposed to keep the outside out and the inside in. That is the way things are supposed to work. The premise relating to the vapor control layer in the perfect wall is that it is for all intents and purposes completely impermeable, a true vapor barrier. But do we even need the vapor control layer at all?

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC New Homes Registry Report December 2015
HPO online New Homes Registry Report December 2015 says in 2015, 30,505 new homes were registered in BC, up by +11.3% from 2014, driven by growth in both single (+4.4%) and multi-unit (+16.1%) segments. (PDF)

UDI 2016 BC Forecast Speaker Presentations
UDI presents online slide show presentations from speakers at their recent 2016 January forecast luncheon. (PDF)

Five 2016 Key Economic Predictions For BC
Business Council of BC presents their five key economic predictions for 2016.

Helmut Pastrick Economic Outlook & Forecast For 2016
Central 1 Credit Union chief economist Helmut Pastrick presented an economic outlook and forecast for 2016 and beyond to the BC chapter of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies. Pastrick covered the decline in the Chinese economy along with the rise of the United States from the financial crisis of 2008 to its present state as the dynamo of the world economy. He also explained how a low Canadian dollar both benefits and harms various sectors of the Canadian and BC economy.

Economic Analysis of British Columbia January 2016
Central 1 report Economic Analysis of British Columbia January 2016 says the BC economy will weather global economic turmoil, and consumer spending and housing gains will underpin GDP growth of three per cent this year. (PDF)

Built Environment In BC: Status, Trends, Future Prospects
Real Estate Foundation of BC report The Built Environment in BC: Status, Trends and Future Prospects Discussion Paper tells a complex story that includes frustratingly slow progress in some areas, pockets of incredible innovation and progress, and some hopeful signs that attitudes and practices are changing for the better. (PDF)

Housing Market Assessment For 15 Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas
CMHC quarterly Housing Market Assessment provides updated results that evaluate the extent to which there is evidence of problematic housing market conditions in 15 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA's). (PDF)

Canadian Home Sales Edge Lower
Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales activity edged slightly lower on a month-over-month basis.

2. Business Management

Changing Landscape Of Construction Management
Macleans magazine says new bachelor programs in construction are turning out grads who can run a job site.

My Financial Turning Point, By Bob Rennie
Bob Rennie describes how he faced adversity head on and worked around the clock to get his career back on track.

Impact Of Higher Minimum Mortgage Down Payments
CIBC assesses impact of higher minimum mortgage down payments. (PDF)

Sell Is A Four-letter Word...Like Care
Qualified Remodeler says whenever an interaction between two or more parties takes place, for the purpose of establishing new ideas, exchanging goods or services, or the development of a relationship, some form of selling will occur and the skills of the communicator will determine the outcome.

BC Career Fair For Engineering, Trades & Technical Studies
BCIT is presenting Engineering, Trades and Technical Studies Industry Day on March 9. The event is aimed at students and alumni from the following Schools at BCIT to help them connect with employers in their industry: School of Energy; School of Construction and the Environment. Employers present will be actively recruiting students and alumni for current and upcoming vacancies.

CHBA BC Industry Advocacy Issues
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC online Advocacy Summary provides an update on some of the key industry issues that have evolved over the last year. (PDF)

3. Building Design & Trends

Architects Predict 10 Major Residential Design Trends For Next 10 Years
American Institute of Architects predicts the top 10 residential design trends for the next decade. They say adaptable, connected homes are here, but changes in scale and function will define the home of the (near) future.

6 Cozy Modern Interiors
Dwell describes six cozy modern interiors with clean lines and minimalist design.

Design Trends To Attract Millennial Buyers
Construction Dive discusses the impact millennials have on the housing market, as well as what specific design trends younger buyers prefer.

24 Laundry Room Design Ideas
HGTV slide show presents ideas for laundry room storage and organization.

6 Modern Spaces For Entertaining & Hosting
Dwell describes six modern spaces for entertaining and hosting. From expansive, open spaces that blur to line between kitchen, living room, and dining room, to cozy seating around a fire pit, these residences were made for gatherings of friends and family.

The Big Deal About Tiny Houses
Fine Homebuilding describes four principles of intentional living from the tiny-house movement.

Examples Of Tiny Houses
Gizmag describes 10 of the most attractive, innovative, and downright interesting tiny houses they have come across in the past 12 months.

Tiny Apartment Technology Means Living Big
TecHome Builder describes some tiny apartments that prove having all the latest smart home tech doesn't mean living in a huge space.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Jim Jennings, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Academy of Building Sciences says: “I find BC Building Info insightful and a much-needed commodity. Keep up the good work.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Code Appeals & Interpretations
The BC Building Code Appeal Board resolves disputes about interpretation or application of the BC Building Code in specific situations. It operates independently from government in its decision-making capacity. This site lists the interpretations they have made on the most recent version of the BC Building Code.

New NAFS-Related Amendments To BC Building Code
RDH Building Science article says last month Code Santa gave BC a NAFS-related present: a significant update to the BC Building Code with considerable changes to address difficulties related to NAFS compliance.

Vancouver Says 2x6 Wall + 2lb Spray Foam Without Exterior Rigid Insulation Not Accepted As R-22
City of Vancouver, based on this letter from RDH Building Engineering, says use of 2lb spray foam with 2x6 framing without additional exterior rigid insulation will not be accepted as compliant with the Vancouver Building By Law R-22 effective requirement. (PDF)

New BC Gas Contractor Notification Requirements For Completion, Installation, Alteration
BC Safety Authority updated directive Gas Contractor Responsibilities Gas Notification Requirements For Completion, Installation Or Alteration is being issued by a provincial gas safety manager. Upon completion of each phase of the gas system, the holder of a permit or the gas fitter that represents the holder of the permit must immediately inform BC Safety Authority that regulated work has been performed in accordance with the Act and request an inspection.

Proposed Amendments To BC OHS For Lead & Silica
WorkSafe BC has released two proposed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation., with consultation phase to provide feedback open until March 31st. The proposed amendments cover Section 6.58.1, Substance Specific Requirements, lead, and Section 6.110, Substance Specific Requirements, respirable crystalline silica and rock dust.

PMI & CIPH To Develop Joint Canadian-US Plumbing Standards
Plumbing Manufacturers International and the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating have announced a mutual effort to further advance the development of joint Canadian-United States plumbing standards.

2016-2018 Business Plan Of BC Safety Authority
BC Safety Authority has released its 2016-2018 Business Plan, outlining its goals for the next three years and defining how it will measure success.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Spring 2016 BC Building Excellence Research & Education Grant Opportunities
BC Homeowner Protection Office has now opened its Spring 2016 intake period for their Building Excellence Research & Education Grants program. 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.

Guidelines For Building Science Education
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory online Guidelines for Building Science Education are for training organizations, universities and certification bodies that would like to self-certify that their programs include the most important aspects of building science in their curriculum. Core building science competencies that are integral to the guidelines include: integration of the whole building system; building science principles related to enclosure, operations and maintenance; and building testing and certification. (PDF)

Best Indoor Relative Humidity In Winter
Energy Vanguard discusses what the best indoor relative humidity is in winter.

Dry Livable Basements
High Performance Building Exchange says whether you're building new, or hoping to turn an existing basement into occupied space, you need to understand the science of dry basement construction.

Foundation Plan For Snowy Climate
Green Building Advisor discusses how much distance should separate wood framing and grade to prevent rot when building on a slab.

Wood Roof Framing Systems
WoodWorks online slide show presentation Wood Roof Framing Systems provides an overview of wood structural framing systems including rafters, metal plated wood trusses, engineered wood products and hybrid roof systems. (PDF)

Radiant Heating May Not Be Best For Super-Insulated House
Heating Plumbing & Air Conditioning magazine say full coverage radiant floors may not be the best choice for heating a super-insulated house.

Choosing A Superinsulated Wall System For Canadian Home
Green Building Advisor looks at options for exterior walls on a Canadian high-performance home.

6. Building Performance Issues

Stucco Materials Compatibility
Stucco Manufacturers Association says when designing or installing a plaster (stucco) wall system, a designer or installer has many options and it is critical to consider compatibility between products and that the products are being used for their intended purpose. (PDF)

How To Prevent Your Garage From Making You Sick
Energy Vanguard describes what you can do if you have an attached garage that may be making your indoor air quality worse than a home without an attached garage.

Luxury Vinyl Tile Not As Simple As You Might Think
BC Floor Covering Association says use of luxury vinyl tile has exploded over the last few years. It is the cause of a lot of discussion including everything from great value, fast to install and very durable, to shrinking, buckling and peaking at the seams. (PDF)

Health & Safety Issues With Use Of Water Heaters In Hydronic Applications
Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating information bulletin on the use of water heaters in hydronic applications says water heaters are being inappropriately installed in all jurisdictions of Canada. In many instances, this is creating health and safety issues. (PDF)

Designing For Durability With Wood
WoodWorks report from reThink Wood describes strategies for achieving maximum durability with wood-frame construction. (PDF)

Mid Rise Design Opportunity & Implementation
Woodworks online slide show presentation Mid Rise Design: Opportunity and Implementation provides an overview of design, detailing, and construction considerations. It covers heights and areas including allowable increases, fire resistive design, detailing for performance, shrinkage, structural framing, acoustics, and fire rated assemblies. (PDF)

Asset Assessment From A Bird's Eye View
RDH Building Engineering describes how the right combination of timely and relevant assessments can help you understand how your assets are performing.

Warning Signs Of Asset Failure
RDH Building Engineering describes some tools available to help you avoid the shock of building asset replacement and minimize your risks.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

7 Wishes For A Green 2016
Energy Vanguard gives their wish list for the built environment and beyond in 2016.

Outlook & Predictions For Energy Efficiency In 2016
Mike Rogers, President of OmStout Consulting, LLC., a nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency offers up his outlook for 2016 in the residential energy-efficiency and renewable-energy world.

Most Popular Green Homes Of 2015
Dwell describes five of the most-viewed green homes from 2015.

Fifteen Renewable Energy Things To Watch Out For In 2016
Renewable Energy World describes fifteen things to watch for in 2016.

2016 Canadian Sustainable Design & Green Product Directory
Sustainable Architecture & Building magazine offers a searchable directory of Canadian sustainable design and green building products.

Residential Energy Efficiency Course In Burnaby
BCIT course CESA 0198 - Residential Energy Efficiency will be presented in Burnaby, January 30-31. It covers how homes use energy, how to track energy consumption, history of construction practices, house as a system concept, evaluation of retrofit strategies, behavioural changes, and building components and technologies.

BC Seminars On Pathways To Building More Energy Efficient Homes
Community Energy Association is presenting Pathways to Building More Energy Efficient Homes: Workshops for Builders, Building Officials, and Architects. Held in February & March, workshops in Kelowna, Prince George, Dawson Creek, Cranbrook and Campbell River will cover energy efficiency in new homes, Section 9.36 of the BC Building Code, EnerGuide, ENERGY STAR for New Homes, and utility support.

Free BC Webinar On Economic Tools For Climate Change Adaptation In Real Estate
UDI says the Fraser Basin Council is presenting a free webinar Economic Tools to Promote Climate Change Adaptation in the Real Estate Sector, on February 17th. It focuses on three stages in the real estate development process (land packaging, occupancy and renovations & redevelopment), and for each explores barriers to efficient adaptation decisions and the possible economic instruments that governments in BC could use to overcome them.

Webinar On Getting Enclosures Right In Zero Energy Ready Homes
US Department of Energy webinar Getting Enclosures Right in Zero Energy Ready Homes, featuring Joe Lstiburek, will be presented on February 16th. Attendees will learn best practices for High-R assemblies including specific recommendations for ensuring the four critical building science control layers that minimize risk of moisture problems and maximize performance.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Five Cutting-Edge Building Materials To Watch In 2016
Architect magazine article describes five products and technologies that draw inspiration from the natural world.

Day 1 Product Finds At 2016 International Builders Show
Remodeling magazine describes some of the hottest new products they found at the recent 2016 International Builders Show.

9 New LED Products For Indoor & Outdoor Applications
EcoBuilding describes nine lamps, light sources, and luminaires that round out some of the innovative products to incorporate LED technology during 2015.

Whole House Surge Protection
TecHome Builder says electric surges can strike a home’s appliances at any time, with reasons ranging from an internal wiring problem to lightning strikes.

HVAC Zoning Decision Guide For Builders
NRCan online Zoning Decision Guide for Builders helps builders and their mechanical designers to define, communicate, discuss and finalize design features of zoned heating and cooling systems. (PDF)

21 New Tools From DeWalt
Tools Of The Trade slide show describes new DeWalt tools that include corded and cordless power tools, hand tools, lasers, storage, and accessories.

Concrete Countertop Color Options
Concrete Network describes various concrete countertop colour options.

History Of Windows Over Last Century
EcoBuilding Pulse describes the evolution of window styles and technology over the last century.

9. Installation Procedures

Importance Of Furnace Commissioning
Mechanical Business magazine article by Ecolighten titled The Importance of Furnace Commissioning says although proper equipment selection and installation get much of the performance credit, it’s the commissioning side of a high-efficiency furnace that is often overlooked to ensure a system is operating at its peak. (PDF)

HVAC Zoning Checklist For Builders
NRCan Zoning Checklist for Builders is designed for use by builders to brief their mechanical designers.

Benefits & Drawbacks Of Skylights
Energy Vanguard says you should be aware that when incorporating skylights into a home you can end up with high energy bills, rooms that are unusable at certain times of the year, or expensive repairs due to moisture problems.

5 Things To Ask Your Smart Home Systems Integrator
TecHome says smart home technology requires a seamless partnership between all parties involved in the homebuilding process, which means knowing how and what to communicate to each other.

Multifamily Individual Heating & Ventilation Systems
US Department of Energy case study Multifamily Individual Heating and Ventilation Systems describes conversion of an older Massachusetts building into condominiums using a safe, durable, and cost-effective solution for heating and ventilation systems that can potentially benefit millions of multifamily buildings. (PDF)

Connection Options For Wood-Frame & Heavy Timber Buildings
Woodworks describes connection options for wood-frame and heavy timber buildings, including effective solutions that provide strength, stiffness, stability and ductility. (PDF)

Developing Wood-Based 3D Printing Technology
3D Print article says a Swedish research team Would Wood is exploring wood-based 3-D printing, hoping to eventually produce large-scale wood structures and objects to contribute to the sustainable cities of the future.

10. Information Sources

Change In Assessments Around BC
BC Assessment online map shows tables of how much the average assessed value has changed in various towns/cities around the province.

Where & How To Insulate A Home
Insulation Institute, a service of North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. shows where and how to insulate walls, attics, above ceilings with unheated spaces, basement walls, floors above vented crawl spaces, cathedral ceilings, floors over unheated garages or porches, knee walls, and in between interior walls (especially bathrooms), ceilings or floors.

Complete Guide To Windows & Doors
Sill To Sash describes windows, doors and skylights and all the factors relating to choosing a well-installed, top quality, energy-efficient product. All this information has been prepared for and vetted by the leading associations in the fenestration industry.

Homeowner Maintenance Manual
National Home Warranty online Homeowner Maintenance Manual covers: Seasonal Maintenance Calendar; Monthly, Semi-Annual and Annual Maintenance; Homeowner Maintenance Inspections Checklist; New Home Installations and Maintenance Procedures; Homeowner Maintenance Recording Log; Contractor Maintenance Recording Log; Appliance Service Records and Contacts; Home Maintenance Repair Contractors; Glossary of Terms. (Large PDF)

BC Small Housing & Advanced Urbanism Advocate
Small Housing BC contributes to research, knowledge transfer, education, and the achievement of excellence associated with small forms of housing and related advanced urbanism.

2016 Predictions For Internet Of Things & Smart Homes
The Next Web says in 2016 smart home companies like Nest, Ecobee, August and Ring will become household brands versus being seen as cool-but-not-necessary luxury tech products.

11. Conferences & Shows

2016 Vancouver Small Business Information Expo
Small Business BC presents the 2016 Vancouver Small Business Information Expo in Vancouver on February 1st. The free tradeshow brings together various government departments and non-profit organizations that support small BC business. It also offers free educational panels and the opportunity to meet face-to-face with experts who provide valuable programs and resources to small businesses.

2016 Conference For Residential Design & Design/Build Professionals
American Institute of Building Design 2016 Spring Conference and Trade Show will be held March 4–5 in South Carolina. The conference and workshop for residential design and design/build professionals features educational sessions, presentations, keynote address by, trade show, and more.

2016 World Of Modular Conference
Modular Building Institute conference 2016 World of Modular will be held in In San Diego, March 17-20. It provides professionals in the commercial modular building industry a place to network, exchange ideas, learn from experts, discuss issues, and display new products.

2016 Canadian Radon Conference
Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists 2016 Conference will be held in Montreal, April 24-26. It offers presentations on research and networking opportunities.

12. Education & Training

BC Seminar On The Fundamentals For Builders
The Fundamentals Series: Essential Knowledge for BC Builders will be presented in Vancouver on February 1, and Surrey February 11. Based on an established Building Science Curriculum taught by Murray Frank, this series for residential home builders helps them know why things are done, and makes it easier to avoid costly mistakes.

Micro Combined Heat & Power
Thermal Environmental Comfort Association dinner presentation on February 11th, in Burnaby, covers Micro Combined Heat & Power. It will discuss the many applications from custom residential to commercial and institutional installations. Comparisons with other technologies such as Air Source, Ground Source, Water Source and Condensing Boiler technologies will be shown while demonstrating the significant advantages for this technology as well as its drawbacks.

Free Contractor Breakfast On Buried Services
BC Common Ground Alliance free contractor breakfast on buried services will be held in Vancouver, February 16th. The consequences of damage to buried infrastructure can be devastating, so BCCGA and operators of these buried facilities invite you and your crews to a free contractors breakfast, where they will share important safety information, along with a hot breakfast and prizes.

Building Smart With Air & Vapour Barriers
British Columbia Building Envelope Council and Homeowner Protection Office half-day workshop Building Smart with Air and Vapour Barriers will be presented in Vancouver on February 18th. It will focus on the use of air and vapour barriers in single and multi-unit residential buildings. A panel of building envelope experts will share building science principles, design considerations and practical installation details. Speakers will examine challenges and options for improving the durability, safety, comfort and energy efficiency of buildings through the effective use of barrier materials.

Construction Law
Construction Industry Training Network says ICBA course Construction Law will be presented in Burnaby, February 22-23. Participants will develop an understanding of contract law as it relates to construction and the various CCDC/CCA and other contracts used within the industry, and will also learn how the BC Builders Lien Act works and the other legal means to resolve construction disputes and avoid litigation.

BC Window Technical Conference 2016
FENBC Technical Conference 2016, held in Surrey on February 23, will cover recent BC building code changes, and rating and labelling products with mullions.

Earn All Your 2016 CPDs At BC Builders Super Week
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC allows you to earn all of your Homeowner Protection Office CPD Credits at one event, Builders' Super Week. Held in Vancouver, March 8-10, course topics include Service & Warranty, Building Science for New Homes, and Leadership in Safety.

Instructor Guide For Essential Skills
BuildForce Canada online Instructor Guide For Essential Skills is intended to support instructors in improving performance and success rates in technical training by demonstrating and teaching how to integrate Essential Skills into training materials and worksheets.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Best Password Managers
Bob Rankin says if you’re not using a password management program, you’re probably committing at least one of the cardinal sins against security best practices. search Engine For Online Radio search engine to online radio brings listeners to their sought-after songs in the exact moment it airs.

Michael Jackson On Beer Bottles
If you like beer, you'll like this. If you don't like beer, you'll like this.

Dittie For Today: On Challenges:

Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant. - Paul Coelho

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© Copyright 2016              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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