Alert Notice #13
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 October 29,2008


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. Conferences & Shows
11. Education & Training
12. Computer, Internet & Fun
13. Industry Survey

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Smoke Belching Incinerators, And Other Letters To The Editor

OK, so maybe it's a sign of getting old, or perhaps needing to get a life. But in the last few years I've really started to enjoy reading the Letters To The Editor section in our little local paper. I especially resonate with those that contain wise words from well-reasoned individuals...who express opinions similar to mine (can you relate?). But my ol' dander gets up big time when someone spouts a position supported by nothing other than self-proclaimed facts.

Now my guess is that our little burg has issues and opportunities that are fairly similar to those of most other small BC communities. Many people that now call this way-out-by-the-ferry town home, proclaim they do not want to have their personal peace and quiet disturbed, by growth, or almost anything. They say the reason they moved here was because it was such a peaceful and quiet place. Hmmmm... Wonder if they ever realized that it was even more peaceful and quiet before they (and I) moved here? Anyway, in attempts to prevent growth, change, and any other intrusion into their sacred space, a multitude of opinions and warnings are put forth about horrors and hazards of everything from power lines, housing developments, aircraft noise, skateboard parks, youth centres, and even leaf blowers!

Recently one caring (?) resident emotionally opined that he didn't want to see any "smoke belching incinerators" being built as a solution to our garbage-dumping dilemma. In what I'm sure (NOT) was a spirit of neighbourliness and environmental sensitivity, he suggested trucking it to the U.S. or elsewhere. To me, this didn't seem to be much different than our current care-less strategy of piling it way up over 100" feet high, on top of an ecologically sensitive bog, right at sea level. But it was his smoke-belching comment that got me to thinking. If these incinerators are so bad, how could the residents of Burnaby put up with such horrors for over 20 years, and how come I couldn't recall ever actually seeing smoke belching from that big stack down by the old drag-racing flats. Time for a wee bit of sleuthing.

What better way to find truth than to assemble what might be considered the most tenacious group of false-claim sceptics in our entire BC home building industry? Over the last couple of decades I've watched, and participated, as this entourage of lunatic fringe, genuinely green-minded, fact-finding pit bulls has devoured many a promoter of flaky products and false claims. So off we went, the Technical Committee of our Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, to tour the Burnaby incinerator. I could go on for hours telling you of the many detailed and pressing questions that these dudes (and dudette) laid on the unsuspecting tour guide. But that's not necessary. Each and every testy question was answered to our satisfaction, and then some. Get this.

A fire-breathing 3-furnace behemoth consumes about 20% of the Lower Mainland's garbage, over 80 trucks a day, 365 days per year. It produces steam that powers a nearby paper recycling facility, and electricity that is fed into the BC Hydro grid (enough to power 16,000 homes). As an ISO environmentally-certified waste-to-energy facility, it treats and filters flue gases for mercury, NOx, acid gases, leachable metals, and particulates. Air emissions are regulated by the province, and no measurable impact from the facility has ever been found in continuous monitoring by the Lower Fraser Valley Air Quality Monitoring Network. Waste from the incinerator is used in road building and landfill cover, and scrap metal is recycled into reinforcing steel. The only waste disposed of at landfill is fly ash, and this is currently being considered for use in cement production. Not bad for a so-called smoke-belcher eh?

Methinks I'll keep on reading those letters to the editor. Sure, I'll still prefer to find those that reinforce my own ideas and beliefs. But perhaps more importantly, I might find some others that get my dander up enough to challenge me to check out the facts.

My thanks to Leo Lawson, Ian Gartshore, Ross Power, Doug Harrison, Zigi Gadomski, Mark Gauvin, Sandy Crowe, Angela Cachay, Wilma Leung, Gemma de La Pena, John Chepil, Peter Francis, Sherry Nejmeldeen, Barry Mohring, Herman Rebneris, George Pinch, John Vukanovich, MJ Whitemarsh, and Kevin Hayes for their comments, tips, and resources. I hope you find some value in this newsletter.

Have a "Top Drawer" day.

Ken Farrish

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    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    Free NAHB Handbook Offers Strategies To Counter Impact Fees
    As a tool to help home builders associations and members who are negotiating or fighting impact fees, the US National Association of Home Builders has released the most recent update of the Impact Fee Handbook, available free on their site.

    US Study Highlights Boomers As They Turn 62
    US National Association of Home Builders article provides highlights of a study by MetLife Mature Market Institute covering statistics and trends of baby boomers that will turn 62 in 2008.

    Canadian Home Builders Profits To Decline Again In 2008
    Conference Board of Canada says Canadian builders can expect their second consecutive year of lower profits in 2008, as demand for new home construction weakens. With free registration you can download the complete report.

    Builder Opportunities In Current Down Market
    Custom Home Online article describes some opportunities US builders see in the current down market.

    10 Questions & Answers About US Housing Crisis & Financial Bailout
    Even after the US Congress $700 billion financial rescue plan, many people are still trying to understand how financial institutions got into so much trouble in the first place, and why the government needs to take action to bail them out. The Century Foundation offers straightforward answers to ten basic questions about the housing crisis. (PDF)

    Online Videos On Background & Future Of US Real Estate & Credit Meltdown
    Online videos show a panel of financial experts organized by USC Marshall School of Business and USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development explain what is happening in the markets and identify dangers and opportunities that the US economy now faces.

    2. Business Management

    New BC PST Regulations For Contractors
    BC Ministry of Small Business outlines changes to the application of provincial sales tax (PST) to all real property contracts entered into on or after October 1, 2008. For contracts entered on or after October 1, 2008, there is no longer a need to determine whether the contract is a lump-sum/fixed price contract or a time and materials contract. The default rule is that contractors will be considered the purchaser and therefore responsible for PST on materials and equipment that they install. (PDF)

    Proposal To BC Government To Change Property Transfer Tax
    BC Real Estate Association & CHBA BC has asked the BC Government to restructure the Property Transfer Tax as it stands as a major barrier to affordable housing, and to make better use of housing sector to help residents make greener building choices. (PDF)

    Project Management Course In Vancouver
    This one-day conference in Vancouver on November 20th will give building owners or managers, contractors, architects, or engineers the skills and knowledge to stay on top of their work through a more projectized and productive work environment.

    Secrets Of New Home Sales All-Stars
    Professional Builder magazine article summarizes secrets of 3 National Sales & Marketing Awards Gold winners on how to sell successfully in good times and bad.

    Purchasable Builder Guide To Option Selling For Profit
    US National Association of home Builders book Option Selling for Profit: The Builder Guide to Generating Design Center Revenue and Profit, describes the ever-expanding market of options for new homes. It shows how to: create an option sales program that motivates customers to buy, capitalize on options and upgrades programs to increase bottom line, empower the sales team with tools they need to succeed, cultivate loyal customers, deliver outstanding customer service, and implement a profitable design program no matter the size of the company. $24 USD

    Online Forums On Estimating & Take Off Software
    Journal of Light Construction online forum provides contractors comments on various estimating & take off software.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    Paint Colour Trends For 2009
    Paint Quality Institute new Paint Colour Trends For 2009 says key drivers for 2009 colour choices include aspirations that create a comfortable and tranquil home environment coupled with a return to authentic and sustainable materials.

    Dressing Up A Truss Roof
    Journal of Light Construction article by framer Jesse Christensen shows how using trusses for part of the roof and stick-framing the rest can create deep overhangs, decorative brackets, and California valleys that can transform a plain-Jane roof.

    Opportunities For Creating Liveable Communities For Older Adults
    AARP report discusses most common barriers to creating liveable communities, and offers examples of how some communities have realized increased housing and transportation choices for older adults and other community members.

    Online Calculators For Lighting Design & Energy Costs
    GE offers online lighting calculators including Simple Energy Estimator, Lighting Layout Estimator, Dimming System Watts Estimator, Simple Life-Cycle Cost Estimator, Fixture Replacement Estimator, and Cost of Waiting Estimator.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Ross Power, President, Powerhouse Building Solutions Inc. says: "Nice to see your site is really coming along Ken. What a great job you've done with this!"

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    New BC Code Coming For 6 Storey Wood-Framed Construction
    BC Ministry of Housing has announced that new Building Code requirements will be developed to increase the maximum building height for mid-rise wood-framed residential construction from four to six storeys. The new requirements will come into effect in January 2009 and will be developed in consultation with industry, local governments and the public.

    BC Code Bulletin On Seismic Structural Design For Part 9 Wood-Frame Buildings
    BC Ministry of Housing bulletin clarifies application of Section 9.4. Structural Requirements in the 2006 BC Building Code, specifically for seismic structural design of Part 9 wood-frame buildings that fall within scope of Sentence These Part 9 wood-frame buildings have no specified earthquake or wind loads and are not required by the BC Building Code to be designed for lateral loads. (PDF)

    Canadian National Codes Allows Public Review Of Proposed Code Changes
    Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes invites Code users and stakeholders to participate in the review of proposed changes to the National Model Codes. A national public review, open through to November 28th, covers proposed changes to National Building Code of Canada, National Fire Code of Canada, and National Plumbing Code of Canada.

    HPO Now Provides Online Search Of BC New Homes Registry
    BC Homeowner Protection Office new online search tool allows you to find out if a new home or new home under construction has a policy of home warranty insurance and is built by a Licensed Residential Builder. You can search for single detached homes and multi-unit (including duplex) buildings.

    IRC 2009 Code Brings Changes in How Homes Will Be Built In The US
    US National Association of Home Builders outlines upcoming changes in the new model 2009 International Residential Code including mandate for fire sprinkler systems in one- and two-family homes, carbon monoxide alarms, wall bracing, window fall prevention devices, wall & roof cladding inspections, domestic clothes dryer ducts, a shower liner test in building inspections, new International Fire Code construction & design provisions, and International Energy Conservation Code changes.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Air Barriers vs. Vapour Barriers - And What You Should Use In Walls
    Building Science digest says most of us are not aware of just how differently these two barriers work in building assemblies. This article makes the differences as clear as the polyethylene film that should (or more likely should NOT) be in your walls.

    Summary Of Performance Of Rainscreen Walls In Coastal BC
    Homeowner Protection Office builder bulletin Rainscreen Walls: Field Monitoring and Performance in Coastal British Columbia summarizes results of the study Performance Monitoring of Rainscreen Wall Assemblies in Vancouver. (PDF)

    Online Course On BC Building Envelope Education Program
    Levelton Consultants online course, which provides necessary preparation for the Building Envelope Education Program (BEEP) written examination, covers physical processes associated with flow of heat, air, and moisture through the building envelope; and practical exercises in quantifying, calculating, and predicting impact of environmental loads on the building envelope.

    Building Science Seminars Annual Expert Session
    At Building Science Expert Session on December 17-18, Joseph Lstiburek and John Straube, principals of Building Science Corporation, will host a special 2-day seminar on advanced building science topics to provide thought provoking professional development for experienced building industry professionals.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    ASHRAE Guideline For Ventilation & Indoor Air Quality In Low-Rise
    ASHRAE guideline provides information on how to achieve good indoor air quality (IAQ) that may go beyond minimum requirements for residential buildings that are three stories or fewer in height above grade, including manufactured and modular houses. It covers both ventilation and IAQ relating to envelope and system design, material selection, commissioning & installation, and operation & maintenance. $54 USD

    Maintaining Decks & Balconies
    BC Homeowner Protection Office bulletin on decks & balconies covers information on necessary steps for proper inspection & maintenance, care of membranes, guardrails, guardwalls, drains, gutters, soffits, and vents. It includes a practical checklist for maintenance, suggested actions, and who should be involved. (PDF)

    Canadian Case Study Of Fixing Houses With High Radon
    CMHC describes how a new house near Ottawa with a high radon concentration was remediated using a subslab depressurization system. (PDF)

    Hollow Buildings Create Problems With Air Flow
    Building Science paper says commercial buildings today are hollow and multi-layered with numerous air gaps or void spaces. Problems are created with air flows when chases, shafts, soffits and drops abound because everything is connected to everything else, typically unintentionally.

    Mercury Alert For Plumbing & HVAC Contractors
    US Environmental Protection Agency fact sheets inform plumbing, heating, and cooling contractors who repair or replace equipment containing mercury about health risks and liability issues associated with a mercury release.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Canadian Resource Site On Green Home Building & Products
    Tint of Green offers Canadians information and resources on green home building and products, design & planning, list of green certifiers, incentives & rebates, and a directory of green product suppliers.

    Built Green 2009 Checklist For Rating New Homes
    Built Green outlines their new 2009 checklist for attaining each of four levels of achievement; Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Points are awarded based on minimum EnerGuide rating with additional points taken from each of the seven other areas of the checklist to give a cumulative total. (XLS)

    LEED For Homes In Canada To Be Launched Spring 2009
    Canada Green Building Council is developing a Canadian version of the LEED for Homes rating system for launch in spring 2009.

    BC Construction Solutions Session On Healthy & Sustainable Buildings
    Construction Solutions Conference: Proactive Solutions for Healthy & Sustainable Buildings focuses on constructive and preventative solutions for dealing with building envelope and ventilation solutions for healthy and sustainable buildings of all types. Conference takes place on November 20th in Vancouver.

    US Construction Outlook & Residential Green Trends
    Energy & Environmental Building Association 2008 conference presentation from McGraw Hill describes current US new housing and renovation situation and recent trends in green building, products, and consumers. (PDF)

    US Regulations Start Demanding Actual Data On Building Performance
    Environmental News article says some new US regulations are demanding actual data on not how efficient the building is based on LEED and other standards, but how much energy it really uses.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Online Videos Of New Products From 2008 NAHB Builder Show
    Housing Zone and Professional Builder have 18 online videos that showcase new and interesting products being used at the Show Village in the recent 2008 International Builders Show.

    50 Most Innovative New Products For Remodeling
    Professional Remodeler magazine picked 50 Most Innovative New Products that change the way we approach, bid and execute remodeling jobs.

    Field Experts On Engineered Wood
    Engineered Wood Association Field Services team consists of full-time engineered wood specialists located throughout North America. These engineered wood experts include engineers, architects, and construction experts who are available to provide information and recommendations to construction and design professionals.

    Canadian Lighting Reference Guide
    Natural Resources Canada online lighting guide provides lighting technology information for people involved in purchasing, designing and implementing lighting systems, such as project managers, purchasers, building maintenance personnel, contractors and plant engineers. It describes different technologies available, performance, applications, and worksheets to help calculate life cycles and paybacks on investments.

    Canadian Handbook On Hydronic Heating Systems
    Canadian Hydronics Council new Handbook on Hydronic Heating Systems is intended to assist installers, designers and inspection authorities with information about hydronic heating systems for residential and commercial buildings of three or less storeys with a building area of less than 600 m2. $80 CDN (PDF)

    Articles On Selling To Building Industry
    LBM Journal, a magazine serving the lumber and building material industry, has articles on selling to various sectors of the building industry.

    9. Installation & Procedures

    Finding Location Of Existing Septic Tank
    BC Ministry of Environment brochure describes how to find the location of an existing septic tank.(PDF)

    Online Calculator For Interior Paint Quantity
    Easy 2 DIY site offers an online interior paint quantity calculator with an animated and narrated how-to tutorial with step-by-step directions for using it.

    Questions To Ask Before Installing Technology
    US National Association of Homer Builders describes several critical questions that builders and remodelers should ask their customers, designers, architects and electronic systems contractor about the technology options to be installed and how to maintain their construction schedule.

    Purchasable Book: The Insulating Guide
    Building Science Press sells The Insulating Guide that provides builders and contractors with a variety of proven techniques for properly insulating a home. $18 USD

    10. Conferences & Shows

    Windoor North America: Canadian Window & Door Industry Trade Show
    Canadian Window & Door Manufacturers Association presents Win-door North America, the annual trade show for the fenestration and door industry, held in Toronto Nov 11-13.

    NAHB Building Systems Councils Showcase 2008
    US National Association of Home Builders council trade show November 16-19 features educational sessions, trade show exhibits, award ceremonies, and networking opportunities tailored to manufacturers, builders, dealers, suppliers, and associates in concrete, log, modular, and panelized home building industries.

    11. Education & Training

    Vancouver Course On Blueprint Reading 101
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association Academy of Housing presents Blueprint Reading 101 on Tuesday, November 4th in Surrey. Deadline for registration is October 31st. GVHBA members can register online, and others can call (604) 588-5036.

    Residential Mid-Rise Wood-Frame Construction & BC Building Code
    ICBA workshop on November 13th with Jeff Vasey of the BC Building and Safety Policy Branch will discuss the new Building Code requirements to increase maximum building height for mid-rise wood-frame residential construction from four to six storeys. (PDF)

    Construction Safety Symposium In Richmond
    Construction Safety Network educational symposium is being held in Richmond on November 15. It offers networking and a number of courses and sessions on health and safety for Trade Safety Coordinators, Construction Safety Officers, and Site Safety Coordinators employed on construction sites. (PDF)

    12. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Free Software Reveals CD Key & Serial Numbers
    Softkey Revealer reveals the CD key and serial numbers for software installed on your computer, a great asset if you've lost or misplaced your CD key.

    25 Tips To Tune Up Your Email Marketing
    Lyris lists 25 simple tips you can apply now to all aspects of your email program: message design, content and format; the way you promote your email program on your Web site and other places; sending frequency; and new channels to distribute messages.

    Try Your Eyeballing Skills
    This online game will thrill those of you with good eyeball measurement capabilities. For the rest of us, its just frustrating.

    13. Industry Survey

    Today's Survey:   

    What Are The Chances Of The Canucks Making The Playoffs?

    It's time once again for the annual question that every hockey fan, in every city, starts to ask. Are we really this good...or this bad? What do you think the chances are of our Canucks making the playoffs this year?

    Who cares!

    Last Survey: Would You Use A Place Online To Make Comments On The New BC Green Building Code?

    • 70% Said: Yes
    • 30% Said: No

    Thanks for your participation

    Dittie For Today: On Happiness

    Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling. - Margaret Lee Runbeck

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    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada