Alert Notice #131
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
June 14, 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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My thanks to Kathryn Kubossek, Brandon Dunaway, Brian Hart, Mark Sakai, Ron Zimmer, Matt Horne, Murray Frank, Chris Dorsi, Glenn Duxbury, Gary Hamer, Pat Martin, Christine Gibson, Ed Hudson, Matt Banner, George Pinch, Ted Sheldon, Karen Podolski, Jennifer Christenson, Connie Pedersen, Bob Kennedy and Linden Mackey 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

Online BC Video On Building Smart With Air & Vapour Barriers
HPO online video of their workshop Building Smart with Air and Vapour Barriers covers building science principles, design considerations and practical installation details related to the use of air and vapour barriers in single and multi-unit residential buildings. Speakers examine the challenges and options for improving the durability, safety, comfort and energy efficiency of buildings through the effective use of barrier materials.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC New Homes Registry Report May 2016
HPO online New Homes Registry Report for May 2016 says in the first five months of 2016, 13,598 new homes were registered in BC, up by 9.1% from the same period in 2015, driven by an increase in both multi-unit homes (+1.0%) and single detached homes (+23.1%). (PDF)

BC Housing Market Forecast 2nd Quarter 2016
BC Real Estate Association 2016 Second Quarter Housing Forecast says MLS residential sales in the province are forecast to reach a record 115,000 units this year, well above the ten-year average of 83,000 unit sales. (PDF)

BC Economic Briefing June 2016
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing says residential building permits reached their highest level since December, and housing starts backed off recent highs but remain robust. (PDF)

Interest Rate Forecast June 2016
Central 1 Interest Rate Forecast says there is weaker economic data flow, US rate expectations are diminished, and GDP contraction is ahead for Canada(PDF)

Online Video Of Bob Rennie 2016 Address To UDI
Urban Development Institute online video features Bob Rennie of Rennie Marketing Systems delivering his 2016 address to the UDI.

BC Real Estate Boards Prepare To Vote On Merger
Real Estate magazine says when the members of the British Columbia Real Estate Association cast a ballot this summer to determine whether to dissolve the association plus its 11 associated boards in favour of a new province wide professional standards entity called Realtors of B.C., the vote may be more about what Realtors are willing to sacrifice to get organized real estate to a new, more efficient destination.

Canadian Home Sales Set Record In April
Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales in April 2016 rose to their highest level ever.

Canadian Housing Starts Trend Declined In May
CMHC says housing starts slowed in May, and are now on pace to reach 191,000 units in Canada, falling within the upper range of their housing market outlook forecast for the year.

2. Business Management

BC Owner Builder Authorization Examination Requirement
HPO bulletin Owner Builder Authorization Examination Requirement will be of interest to anyone planning to build a new home in BC as an Owner Builder and others who want to understand the new examination requirement when applying for an Owner Builder Authorization. (PDF)

Sales Leaders, Game On
Builder Magazine offers four steps to leveling up your team’s sales performance.

Activating The Millennial New-Home Buyer
High Performance Building Exchange describes considerations for activating the millennial new-home buyer.

Best Language To Use When Closing The Sale
Qualified Remodeler online video describes the best language to use when closing the sale.

Dispute Resolution In Construction Industry
Journal Of Commerce online video discusses dispute resolution in the construction industry.

Inside The Dance Of Subcontractor Negotiations
Construction Dive describes how negotiating a subcontract can be a tricky process.

Changing Conversation About Careers In Construction
Media Planet says many youths may not realize construction offers the kinds of opportunities they’re looking for, which is why the conversation about careers in the sector has to change.

Power To Engage Employees
Qualified Remodeler says to get employees to do their best, encourage them to learn how.

3. Building Design & Trends

Homes Get Further Out Of Reach In Vancouver
Owning a home in Vancouver gets further and further out of reach with each passing month. Just three per cent of Vancouverites can now afford to buy a house in the city, the UDI/Vancity Housing Affordability Index for the first quarter of 2016 shows. That’s down from five per cent just four months ago.

Untangling Red Tape In Lower Mainland
Journal Of Commerce says a home owner's dealing with Vancouver's lengthy and expensive permitting process has left him with few other options but to leave the home unfinished and return to the east. He anticipates if he were to continue with his Vancouver home project getting approval would take 18 months and cost around $50,000.

2016 Canadian Home Buyer Trends Report
Canadian Home Builders Associations sells their 2016 Canadian Home Buyer Trends Report that describes what home buyers are looking for in a new home, and what features they are willing to trade-off to get what they want. (PDF)

The New Customer-Centric
Builder Magazine explores the bounds of what builders need to learn from customers and what they need to show customers about what they'll want in a new home.

50 Water Features For Any Budget
HGTV describes 50 water features that can help turn a landscape into something special, providing a focal point and attracting wildlife.

How Housing Preferences Differ Between Millennials & Baby Boomers
Realty Biz says millennials are currently entering the housing market as first-time homebuyers in increasing numbers. Their housing preferences are different from previous generations’ preferences though, and many prefer new homes over resale homes.

Desire For New Or Better Amenities Is Top Reason To Remodel
Remodeling Market Index summarizes what US remodelers rated as reasons why customers want to remodel. The reason that received the highest average rating was ‘Desire for better/newer amenities’, followed by ‘Need to repair/replace old components’, and ‘Desire/need for more space’.

Sprout Is Developer Of Tiny Home Community
Construction Dive says Sprout Tiny Homes said these types of tiny house developments can serve as a remedy to affordability and inventory concerns across the US.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Wendy McNeil, VP Marketing & Education, Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association says: “Your newsletter is awesome.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Building Code Appeal Board Decisions
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 recent versions of the BC Building Code.

Lower Mainland Construction Adapts To New Energy Rules
Journal Of Commerce says the construction industry in BC Lower Mainland is adapting slowly but surely to the new and ambitious energy-saving provisions of the BC Building Code and the parallel Vancouver Building Bylaw.

Consultation Sessions Around BC For 2017 WorkSafeBC Rates
WorkSafe BC is holding consultation sessions around the province for 2017 rates. Employers can learn more about the 2017 proposed rates for their industry, injury trends in British Columbia, and what they can do to reduce injuries, claim costs, and insurance rate.

Proposed Changes To WorkSafe BC Assessable Payroll Policies
WorkSafe BC is open for public consultation on whether to clarify and consolidate the core assessable payroll policies so that they are easier to use. Also at issue is whether to assess only those payments to non-registered affiliated firms that are remuneration for work done.

Public Review Of Amended & New CSA Window & Door Standards
CSA has three updated NAFS standards for windows, door, and skylights open for public review. There are two amendments for AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-08 - NAFS-08 and AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-11 - NAFS-11, as well as a new edition of A440.4-16 - Window, door and skylight installation. These are located at the lower part of the page.

Prescriptive Residential Exterior Wood Deck Span Guide
Canadian Wood Council online Prescriptive Residential Exterior Wood Deck Span Guide includes span tables for incised or not incised deck joists and built up beams based on the CSA O86 and the National Building Code of Canada. (PDF)

Formaldehyde Emissions Standard For Composite Wood Products
CAN/CSA-0160, the free formaldehyde emissions standard for composite wood products, applies to composite wood products including unfinished composite wood panels, hardwood plywood (including composite and veneer core), particleboard, medium density fibreboard (MDF) and thin MDF.

Electrical Code Change & Dust Safety Online Courses
BC Safety Authority offers options for taking the 2015 Electrical Code Change and the Combustible Dust Safety Training.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Building Science Word Of The Day: Interstitial
Energy Vanguard says when you hear the word interstitial, think air leakage. Think duct leakage. Think pressure differences, which drive air movement.

Installing Concrete Slab The Right Way
Green Building Advisor discusses whether or not a slab should be poured on a base layer that includes sand.

Optimized Slab-On-Grade Foundation Insulation Retrofits
US Department of Energy report Optimized Slab-On-Grade Foundation Insulation Retrofits found the optimized insulation upgrade package consists of 4 in. of extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) extending from the ground level to the top of the existing sill plate. The below-grade insulation extends to half the below-grade stem wall depth. It consists of one piece of 2-in. XPS laid at an incline, with the space between the XPS and foundation wall filled with pourable polyurethane foam. (PDF)

Window Of Opportunity In Glazing Selection
Home Builder Canada describes how great an effect the choice of window has on thermal performance of the entire wall and the extent to which choosing the right glazing packages influences the cooling loads.

The Best Way To Frame: Less Wood, More Thought
ProTrade Craft online videos, pictures and construction details describe some key techniques for advanced framing.

Kitchen Island Design Considerations For I-Joist Floors
Weyerhaeuser describes how kitchen islands are a common source of homeowner frustration with respect to floor performance.

How To Fix A Leaky, Underinsulated Exterior Wall
Energy Vanguard describes how he fixed a leaky, underinsulated exterior wall.

Building Enclosure Design For Modular Construction
RDH paper Building Enclosure Design For Modular Construction describes building enclosure functions of heat, air, and moisture control in wood-framed residential buildings, as applied to the realities of modular construction. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

Protecting Canadian Homes & Buildings From Toxic Radon Gas
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation Protecting Canadian Homes & Buildings from Toxic Radon Gas discusses issues and considerations for planning on how to address radon in homes. (PDF)

How To Install Radon Stack To Control Radon Gas In Homes
Ecohome online video shows how to add a passive radon stack to prepare a home for better indoor air quality if radon gas is present.

New Tool Being Developed For Selecting Best Wall System
US Department of Energy and some of the world’s top experts on durable high performance wall system design are planning to develop an online tool that can help builders through moisture-managed high performance envelope design decisions. The tool will draw from Building America research projects, lab and field test measurements of high performance wall systems, computer aided risk analysis, and the expert judgement needed to make sense out of all the data.

Canadian F280-12 Standard & Right-Sized HVAC For Net Zero Energy Homes
Canadian Home Builders Association online video describes how using right-sized HVAC equipment and ductwork will prevent on-off short-cycling, prolong equipment life, and increase operational efficiencies, not to mention improve occupant comfort and allow for use of smaller equipment and ductwork, offering more living space.

Performance Of Ductless Heat Pumps In High-Performance Homes
US Department of Energy report Performance and Costs of Ductless Heat Pumps in Marine-Climate High-Performance Homes describes results of field testing, modeling, and monitoring of ductless mini-split heat pump hybrid heating systems in seven homes built and first occupied at various times between September 2013 and October 2014. It also documents observations, lessons learned, and stakeholder recommendations for builders of affordable high-performance housing. (PDF)

Lingering Questions About PEX
Green Building Advisor says researchers still aren't sure how PEX affects water, and certification standards may be failing to test for compounds that affect water quality.

Guide To Glass Balcony Guards & Breakage
REMI Network says in the past few years, there have been many cases of glass balcony guards breaking. An expert explains why this happens and how to mitigate the risk.

In Praise Of Those Who Do The Dirty Work
Energy Vanguard says the people who crawl around under houses, brave the blistering attics, and don the oppressive personal protective equipment necessary to do the dirty work deserve better from us.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Free Webinar On Selling Efficiency, A Consultative Sales Primer
BC Home Performance Stakeholder Council presents a free Webinar Selling Efficiency, A Consultative Sales Primer, on June 28th. Delivered by Mike Rogers of OmStout Consulting, it covers how to become an objective, trusted advisor to your customer and how to use a consultative approach to deliver home performance value.

5 Canadian Net Zero Builder Success Stories
Canadian Home Builders Association online video describes five net zero builder success stories from the NRCan ecoEII Owens Corning NZE Communities initiative. This project aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of building NZE housing communities addressing the challenges specific to production housing, and to act as a platform for the broader adoption of NZE homes across Canada. Participating builders included Mattamy Calgary, Reid's Heritage Homes, Minto Communities, Construction Voyer, and Provident Developments.

Net Zero Energy Certified Residential Buildings
Trim Tab describes innovative net zero homes and the steps that each project took to become one of the most efficient buildings in the world.

Home Retrofit For Net Zero Energy & Water
Whirlpool Corporation teamed up with a number of industry partners to retrofit a home built in the 1920s near the campus of Purdue University to be both net zero energy and water.

Q1 2016 Built Green Canada Newsletter
Built Green Canada online Q1 2016 newsletter provides updates on the Built Green Canada program and related green building industry happenings. (PDF)

Ontario Home Energy Rating & Disclosure Plan
Ontario Home Builders Association discusses issues and considerations for the proposed Ontario Ministry of Energy plan for their Home Energy Rating and Disclosure initiative. It would require Ontario homeowners to get an energy performance rating for their homes and then be required to disclose that rating to prospective buyers.

Energy-Efficient Air Source Heat Pump For Colder Regions
Oak Ridge National Laboratory\, collaborating with Emerson Climate Technologies, developed a prototype for an air-source heat pump for the colder regions of the country—one that heats better and uses significantly less energy.

BC Air Quality, Where Are We Now & Where Are We Going
Business Council of BC report Air Quality, Where Are We Now & Where Are We Going says Canada and BC air quality has improved remarkably since the 1970s and has continued to improve from 2000 to today. There has been a steep decline in the quantities of pollutants including particulate matter, ground level ozone, nitrogen oxides, and sulphur dioxides. As a result, we compare favourably with the United States and most other OECD countries. (PDF)

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Broan-NuTone Recalls L500 Series Fans
In cooperation with the CPSC and Health Canada, Broan-Nutone is recalling 450 ventilation fans. (200 were sold in Canada) The recall indicates that the fan motor can overheat, posing a fire hazard.

Five Technologies That Will Change The Way Houses Are Built
Builder Magazine predicts these five high-tech advances will shape the future of home building.

New Decking Foundation Products
Home Builder Canada describes some new decking and foundation products.

Smart Thermostats
Heating Help says there are some very important differences between the popular smart heating solutions, so it is crucial to check features of every one of them before you make your final choice.

Energy Savings From Five Home Automation Technologies
Fraunhofer report Energy Savings from Five Home Automation Technologies: A Scoping Study of Technical Potential provides results from their research into connected thermostats, HVAC zoning, window covering controls, lighting occupancy controls and circuit-level controls. (PDF)

Top 5 Trends For Smart Home Through 2020
Technavio’s latest smart home market report highlights five key emerging trends predicted to impact the market growth through 2020.

Smartphones Designed For Demanding Construction Conditions
Journal Of Commerce says later this year, two companies with a long history in construction will release smartphones that have been designed for demanding outdoor and indoor conditions.

Dubai Opens World's First Functioning 3D-Printed Office
Reuters says the world's first functioning 3-D-printed office building opened this week in Dubai. The 2,700 ft2, single-story building was built in only 17 days using a 20 ft tall, 120 ft long and 40 ft wide 3-D printer. The printing material was a mix of concrete, fiber-reinforced plastic and glass-fiber-reinforced gypsum. The printer only required one staffer to make sure it was functioning properly. The rest of the 18-person construction crew consisted of installers, electricians and mechanical engineers.

9. Installation Procedures

10 Tips For Building Better Decks
Ecohome offers 10 tips for material choices and construction techniques for decks that will last longer.

Building & Raising Exterior Walls
Journal of Light Construction describes one crew’s methods for running an efficient job of building and raising exterior walls.

Installing Cantilevered-Joist Flashing
Fine Homebuilding describes how to install flashing on cantilevered joists.

Polyethylene Lapped Up Walls/Piers & Secured In Ground
US Building America Solution Center describes issues and considerations for installing crawlspace polyethylene moisture barrier lapped up walls and piers or secured in the ground.

Sizing A Modulating Condensing Boiler
Green Building Advisor describes how to use simple math to avoid common boiler sizing errors.

Prepping Old Yellowed Drywall
Fine Homebuilding describes how to prepare old yellowed drywall for primer and paint.

7 Reasons To Gut Your Bathroom When You Remodel
Energy Vanguard says if you're remodeling a bathroom, there a lot of good reasons to go all the way and gut it completely.

Coiling Extension Cords
Journal of Light Construction says if you coil extension cords right and they can last 30 years.

10. Information Sources

Glossary Of Terms For Spray Foam
Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance online glossary describes terms used in the spray foam industry.

Technical Articles On HVAC Systems & Procedures
DavidR's Blog has technical articles on a wide range of topics relating to HVAC systems and procedures.

Refrigerants Are Changing Again, What Are The Options
Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency says all of the possible next generation refrigerant options have plusses and minuses and must also satisfy regulative hurdles. Thus, trade-offs need to be understood when the refrigerant change is considered.

Best Practices For Real Estate Contract Assignments
BC Real Estate Association describes several things realtors can do to ensure they are using the best practices for real estate contract assignments.

Employer's Roadmap To Hiring & and Retaining Internationally Trained Workers
BuildForce Canada free Construction Employer's Roadmap to Hiring and Retaining Internationally Trained Workers provides information on the role of employment agencies and immigration consultants and an overview of Canada’s immigration programs and the different paths open to permanent residents, temporary residents and workers outside of Canada. It offers advice on how to assess experience obtained in other countries, make job offers, develop orientation programs and retain workers.

Waste Management In Construction, Renovation, Demolition
CMHC says of the wastes generated in construction, renovation and demolition (CRD) activities, 75% are from concrete, steel, wood and gypsum. These case studies describe how builders evaluated their potential for CRD waste reduction and recycling, and the value they obtained from their experience, in training as well as economic and environmental benefits.

Ask The Expert About Reflective Insulation
Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association offers an Ask The Expert service on their website.

11. Conferences & Shows

2016 Plumbing & Heating Annual Business Conference
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating Annual Business Conference 2016 will take place in Banff, June 26-28.

Annual Meeting & Conference For Canadian HVAC Industry
Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada annual industry meetings and conference will be held in Calgary, August 24-26.

Interior Design Show West: Consumer & Trade Show In Vancouver
Interior Design Show West, held in Vancouver September 22-25, invites design enthusiasts to experience what’s new in the world of design, to learn from the wealth of creative talent, and to see inspirational exhibits, influential speakers & leading products in the world of design.

12. Education & Training

PST Issues For Construction Industry
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association breakfast seminar Get the PST Right, PST Issues for the Construction Industry, will be held in Burnaby on June 17. It will help home builders, renovators and trade contractors understand how PST applies to their business, and provide critical understanding of who pays PST, how to pay PST, and more.

Free Webinar On Kitchen Trends
In this free webinar on June 21st, Houzz will review the results from their new research on Kitchen Trends. Data is part of their annual Houzz and Home Study, a survey of of more than 250K consumers on the topics of home remodeling and design.

Project Management & Site Supervision In Cranbrook
CHBA BC course on Project Management & Site Supervision will be held in Cranbrook, June 23rd. Learn how to plan and schedule complex projects, getting people to work as a team, managing the job site to meet WHMIS and Residential Construction waste standards.

HR Essentials For Small & Medium Construction Businesses In Victoria
ICBA course HR Essentials For Small & Medium Construction Businesses will be presented in Victoria, June 23rd. It will cover basic HR functions and an overview of legal guidelines and suggested practices. Participants will leave with information, discussion and sample templates to follow when they return to work.

Free Webinar On Moisture Performance Of High-R Wall Systems
US Department of Energy free webinar Moisture Performance Of High-R Wall Systems, will be presented on June 28th. They will talk about moisture performance of walls such as what we know, what we don't know, and the pros and cons of various water management strategies.

Building It Right: Seminar On The Fundamentals For Builders
New offerings of The Fundamentals Series will be presented around BC in the coming months. Based on an established Building Science Curriculum taught by Murray Frank, the courses are pre-approved by the Homeowner Protection Office for CPD credits.

Trades Training Shifts Online
Journal Of Commerce says some training providers are experimenting with alternative programs that utilize technology to speed up learning and minimize time on campus.

Building Science For High Performance Homes, Whose Job Is It?
Insulation Institute says there is no single, universally right answer for who is responsible for building science on any given job. However, saying “no one” or “I am not sure” are universally wrong answers. For a house to be a high performance home, every project needs a party that is clearly responsible for providing a holistic building science perspective.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Ultimate Security Tools List
Windows Secrets shares their ultimate list of computer security tools for your reference.

Top 10 Mobile Apps For Business Execs, And The 6 Worst
IT Business describes the 10 apps business executives liked the most, and the six that they didn't like at all.

Here's a blast from the past...and still just as much of a time waster. One of the most popular and influential games of the 1980's, Pac-Man stars a little, yellow dot-muncher who works his way around to clear a maze of the various dots and fruit which inhabit the board.

Dittie For Today: On Success

Success is loving whatever you do. - Ron Kaufman

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