Alert Notice #133
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
July 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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My thanks to Brian Hart, Ted Sheldon, John Galante, Joey Fearn, Darcy Goddings, Mark Sakai, Joshua McNab, Mark Gauvin, Ron Zimmer, Dan Bradley, Janice Costa, Wilma Leung, John Maus, Glenn Duxbury, Jessica Stoikes, Sabine Just, Melissa Broadus, Jennifer Christenson, Patrick O'Toole, Laura Dunlop, and Danielle Watson 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 Slide Show Presentations On Building Science
Building Science offers free access to their online slide shows from many of their past seminars and presentations.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

What Happens Next To BC Home Prices?
BCREA Market Intelligence Report `examines periods of rapid price acceleration, defined as 20 per cent or higher year-over-year growth, which are far from unusual in Vancouver.

BC Economy Remains On Solid Growth Path Despite Muted Global Backdrop
Business Council of BC says against the backdrop of a subdued global economy, BC looks poised for healthy growth over 2016-17, continuing the pattern of last year. While parts of our economy will be held back by depressed prices for some key commodities, exports of non-resource goods together with many services – including tourism – are enjoying a lift from the low Canadian dollar. The province’s housing market also remains buoyant, supported by rock-bottom interest rates, better job growth and steady inflows of immigrants and foreign money.

BC Economic Briefing July 2016
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing says June housing starts surge to annualized pace of 48K as builders respond to strong market conditions. (PDF)

Widespread Easing In Canadian Housing Sales In June
Conference Board of Canada says sales fell in 15 of our 28 markets between May and June, including drops in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montréal. For Vancouver, this was the fourth straight monthly drop.

Understanding Unaffordability
Builder Magazine says low mortgage rates are a boon for home buyers, allowing them to borrow more money but pay less for it in interest charges each month. In other words, low mortgage interest rates are masking what could be a much worse affordability situation given rapid home value growth and anemic income growth. If and when mortgage interest rates begin rising again in earnest, many pricey markets could be in for a rude awakening.

Canada Housing Problem Is Impeded Supply, Not High Demand
Fraser Institute says higher home prices are strongly associated with restrictive land-use regulations.

Unless Supply Increases, House Prices Will Go Higher
Urban Development Institute says despite strong growth of net migration, the pace of new home construction in Vancouver has remained unchanged over the past 15 years. The only means of boosting the supply of new homes, is to increase density.

Impact Of Land-Use Regulation On Housing Supply In Canada
Fraser Institute study, The Impact of Land-Use Regulation on Housing Supply in Canada, spotlights 68 Canadian municipalities and finds that onerous municipal regulations for residential development are reducing the supply of new homes in Canada’s biggest cities and contributing to rising home prices.

2. Business Management

Elevate The Team's Game
Builder Magazine describes six levels to building a home building culture of mastery.

Guide To Word Of Mouth Marketing
Remodeling magazine says this low-tech marketing technique is a great way to get the publicity you need.

Customer Reviews Count
Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency says a report shows 90% of online consumers trust reviews from people they know, and 70% trust reviews from people they don’t know.

How To Launch A Community Before It's Built
Builder Magazine says with the right marketing plan social media can help generate interest in a pre-sale launch.

10 Tips For Improving Cash Flow
Journal of Light Construction says a healthy cash flow means you can keep up with your bills and stay on good terms with your subs and suppliers, as well as take advantage of date-driven discounts. They offer 10 simple tips for keeping your business in the black.

Understanding Your Right To Correct Deficient Workmanship
Kuhn LLP says a recent decision by the BC Supreme Court limited a homeowners’ ability to claim a reduction in a contractor’s unpaid invoices based on deficient workmanship where the homeowner had refused him the opportunity to correct his own work. (PDF)

How To Manage Necessary Evil Of Change Orders
Construction Dive says general contractors and subcontractors have different considerations when faced with a directive to perform work outside of their original contracts. According to industry experts, it pays to be a stickler for the contract, but it also can be worth it to take a more flexible approach at times.

CRA Targeting Unregistered, Small-Town Contractors In Tax Evasion Crackdown
Financial Post says Canada Revenue Agency campaign against the underground economy has come to roost in small-town Canada, where special audits have confirmed the pervasiveness of tax evaders in the construction industry.

3. Building Design & Trends

2017 BC Georgie Awards Call For Entries
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC invites all CHBA BC member companies involved in the residential building industry to participate in the 2017 Georgie Awards.

Boomers Rank Their Seven Must-Have Housing Features
Builder Magazine says home repair services and low-income housing are most important to boomers, yet the majority lack those options in their current home and community.

Top 10 Senior Housing Trends For 2016
Redfin describes 2016 wants and needs of seniors when it comes to housing.

What Moms Look For When Buying A House
Market Watch says among other things, moms want open floor plans, a mud room, and an office so parents can keep tabs on their kids.

Open Space Layouts Continue To Dominate Single-Family Design
Builder Magazine says demand inches up for larger homes and lots as buyers prioritize exterior home space.

Building Success With Smaller, More Boutique Homes
Builder Magazine says Taylor Morrison discovers the true formula in building homes for the 55-plus crowd.

13 Sidewalk Landscaping Ideas
HGTV shows 13 ways to create a memorable pathway, or fix a trouble spot.

Landscaping A New Home
Zillow says you may think of it as a blank canvas, but your new yard requires some deep thought before you dig in.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Remy at Dunn Wright Systems says: “I found the information on this site to be accurate. I recommend this site.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

WorkSafe BC announces preliminary 2017 Rates
WorkSafe BC announced that the average base rate for 2017 is projected to drop from 1.70% to 1.66% of employers' assessable payroll.

New BC Building Act Governs Code Consistency, Competency, Innovation
BC Building Act is dedicated just to building and construction, designed to modernize and streamline the building regulatory system by describing requirements for consistency, competency, and innovation.

What Local Governments Need To Know About BC Building Act
Province of BC has posted two new sections of the Building Act Guide online: Section B1 What Local Governments Need to Know about the Building Act; and Appendix to B1 Changes for Local Governments Under Section 5 of the Building Act. Section B1 explains how local governments will be affected by the three main changes the Building Act introduces. The Appendix provides detailed information about the changes to local government authority to set technical building requirements by bylaw in their jurisdictions.

Competency Requirements For BC Building & Plumbing Officials
BC Government says the Building Act introduces qualification requirements for building and plumbing officials to support the competency and professionalism of those in this occupation, and to improve consistency in how the BC Building Code is interpreted, applied and enforced.

Geotechnical & Shoring Design, 1-2 Family Homes In Vancouver
City of Vancouver bulletin Geotechnical and Shoring Design, 1-2 Family Homes clarifies additional requirement for a detailed geotechnical report and shoring design for excavations in peat, liquefiable soils, and deep excavations. (PDF)

Changes In Part 9 Of Canadian NBC 2015
National Research Council summarizes the most significant changes affecting housing and small buildings in the Canadian National Building Code 2015 (NBC).

New Items In Canadian National Plumbing Code
Canadian National Research Council says a number of changes align the requirements in NPC 2015 with advancements in technologies and materials in order to increase design and material choices.

Canadian National Master Construction Specification Now At NRC
National Research Council says they have assumed ownership of Canadian National Master Construction Specification (NMS).

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5. Building Science & Technology

High Performance Wall With Mineral Or Stone Wool
Building Science describes design and installation considerations for a high performance wall using mineral wool or stone wool insulation, for a hot humid or mixed humid climate.

Exterior Insulation Strategies For 1½-Story Roof
US Department of Energy report Project Overcoat, An Exploration of Exterior Insulation Strategies For 1½-Story Roof explored solutions for older homes at risk for heat loss and ice dam formation. This three-part exploration was focused on identifying an exterior approach for the roof portion of 1½-story homes with the potential to provide cost-effective, long-term, scalable solutions. (PDF)

Online Presentation On Continuous Foam Insulation
Building Science online webinar presentation Continuous Insulation addresses relevant building science principles, materials & methods of construction, practical insights and useful resources related to the appropriate integration of foam sheathing (continuous insulation) onto wall assemblies for code compliance and durable performance. (PDF)

ICF Field Testing Report
ICF online Field Testing Report summarizes a study in which ICF wall assembly details are developed, constructed and thermal performance evaluated through full-scale field testing. The aim of this study is to develop standard construction procedures with water and air penetration resistance levels comparable or better than conventional building systems. (PDF)

Best Practices For Architectural Coatings
Building Research Information Knowledgebase online Best Practices For Architectural Coatings demystifies architectural coatings by describing the removal, selection, and application of paints, waterproofing coatings, protective products, and other surface treatments. (PDF)

10 Hydronic Lessons Learned
Plumbing and Mechanical magazine article by John Siegenthaler describes 10 lessons he has learned over the last 20 years. All have influenced the way he designs systems, and deals with clients.

Mockup Small-Diameter Air Distribution System
U.S. Department of Energy report Mockup Small-Diameter Air Distribution System investigates the feasibility of using a home-run manifold small-diameter duct system to provide space conditioning air to individual thermal zones in a low-load home. (PDF)

Cross Laminated Timber House Design That Could Change Everything
Canadian Contractor says renowned Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal has pioneered a CLT structure that outperforms traditional home building techniques.

6. Building Performance Issues

Understanding Gas Safety Risks
BC Safety Authority says between 2007 and 2014, a total of 76 carbon monoxide (CO) incidents were reported to and investigated by BC Safety Authority. During this eight-year period, CO incidents resulted in nine fatalities and 149 injuries. One incident even resulted in 27 industrial facility employees taken to hospital and reported to have CO poisoning. Similarly, in 2014, an incident affected 15 people who went to hospital after some residents reported experiencing symptoms of CO exposure. (PDF)

Radon Is A Big Deal
Fine Homebuilding says radon is a serious and under-appreciated issue, as it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer, after tobacco smoking. When you’re building a new house you don’t know how it will test until it’s almost done, so you need to plan ahead.

Inside Placement Of Air Handlers
Building Science says move the air handlers inside, and increase attic insulation levels. But you have to compensate for the changes in relative humidity.

Common Failures For Fibre Cement Siding
Journal of Light Construction describes how to avoid errors that will cause a fiber-cement job to fail.

Balancing Air Pressure In A House
Ecohome describes how, at any given time, the air pressure in your house may be out of balance and either drawing air in or forcing it out.

Applying Universal Design Principles to Multi-Unit Developments
CMHC report Applying Universal Design Principles to Multi-Unit Developments says by applying universal designs at the unit scale, more and more people can have access. When done right, these features look no different than a standard unit making it attractive and marketable to everyone. (PDF)

Cost Of Including Accessibility Features In New Homes & Apartments
CMHC research study The Cost of Including Accessibility Features in New Homes and Apartments was conducted on the incremental cost of adding 60 universal accessibility features to the design and construction of new homes and apartments. It showed that 57 per cent of these accessibility features cost less than $100 and in some even have no added extra costs. (PDF)

Designing For All Children
American Society of Landscape Architects says that disability is contextual, and environmental contexts can reduce or exacerbate disability.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Where Sustainability & Livability Come Together
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association says it’s an exciting time for housing development in Metro Vancouver. To understand the direction of residential building here, it is important to understand what is shaping the homes of today and what will ultimately determine the future of Metro Vancouver.

Accelerating Progress Towards Sustainable Built Environment In BC
Real Estate Foundation of BC online report from their Sustainable Built Environment Initiative, Accelerating Progress Towards a Sustainable Built Environment, summarizes a workshop that brought together 72 leaders, planners and experts from 52 organizations from diverse sectors to discuss how they can work together to accelerate progress on built environment sustainability in BC. (PDF)

Staff Presentation On Proposed Vancouver Zero Emissions Building Plan
City of Vancouver online staff presentation describes their proposed Zero Emissions Building Plan. (PDF)

Caution On New Vancouver Greenhouse Gas Building Emissions Strategy
Urban Development Institute recommends some caution as Vancouver plans to implement their new greenhouse gas building emissions strategy.

Concerns About City Of Vancouver Zero Emissions Building Plan
Fortis BC says the City of Vancouver’s proposed Zero Emissions Building Plan is impractical as it has the potential to increase costs for energy users and stifle innovation over the long term. If the suggested policies are implemented, the City would force all 108,000 natural gas customers in Vancouver to transition to other energy sources by 2050. They are urging the city to engage the broader community on the impacts of this plan, before moving forward. (PDF)

Applications Invited For Canadian Net Zero Energy Housing Council
CHBA members are invited to apply for membership on Net Zero Energy Housing Council for the 2-year term starting on November 1, 2016. There are a total of 20 seats available in the 4 categories of Silver Sponsor, Bronze Sponsor, Builder/Renovator, General, and Academia. (PDF)

Bright Future For Renewable Energy On Display At Giant Solar Show
Financial Post says it has been said that renewable energy is the energy of the future and always will be. But the tipping point is nigh, thanks to Germany’s leadership, China’s pollution catastrophe and technological advances in battery storage, materials science and software.

Green Energy Future A Long Way Off
Business Council of British Columbia says important shifts in energy production and consumption patterns are undoubtedly underway. However, the timing of any overall global energy revolution is likely to be considerably slower than many believe. Rising global energy demand, and the tens of trillions of dollars of embedded capital that underpin current energy production and consumption systems, are among the factors that stand in the way of rapid change.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

21 New Tools From DeWalt
Tools Of The Trade online slideshow provides a glimpse at what DeWalt recently introduced, including the new line of Flexvolt 60v Max and 120v Max tools due to launch this fall.

33 New & Cool Tools From Milwaukee
Tools Of The Trade describes some of the more interesting things they found at the recent Milwaukee New Product Symposium.

Selecting Exterior Caulk
Journal of Light Construction says the best type of caulk for the job depends largely on the materials to which the caulk must bond.

Online Tool To Select Adhesives & Sealants With Condensation Resistance
American Architectural Manufacturers Association online Condensation Resistance Factor (CRF) Tool is intended to provide general guidance on suggesting a minimum CRF for adhesives and sealants based on a project-specific set of environmental conditions.

Cold Climate Air-To-Water Heat Pumps
PM Engineer says electrically powered heat pumps, in many varieties, are destined to play an increasingly important role in heating and cooling buildings around the world.

History Of Wood From Stone Age To 21st Century
EcoBuilding online infographic tracks the history of wood as a construction material.

Massaging Your Way To A Healthier Home
TecHome Builder says for luxury builders who want to provide their clients with elaborate packages focused on health and relaxation, there are brands of massage chairs currently on the market that will accomplish just that.

Over 20% Of Home Builders Have Already Used Aerial Drones
US National Association of Home Builders survey of single-family builders shows that a majority of them (66 percent) are aware that unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e., drones) have been used on construction sites, and 22 percent have already used a drone in their own construction business at least once.

9. Installation Procedures

Four Ways To Shingle A Valley
Fine Homebuilding describes three conventional ways and one new method to weatherproof this crucial roof detail. (PDF)

Staking Ground Poly
US Department of Energy online video describes how to install and secure a polyethylene vapor barrier on the floor of a crawlspace.

Air Sealing At Foundations & Bottom Plate
Journal of Light Construction describes several methods and products to air seal between the bottom plate and concrete foundation.

Insulate Your Basement With Rigid Foam
Fine Homebuilding online video explains the why and how of using foam insulation on masonry walls, and demonstrates how to properly insulate the rim joist area with rigid foam and batt insulation.

Do Not Mount Baseboard Heaters Off The Floor
Green Building Advisor says an apartment owner should not consider mounting electric heaters well off the floor and using ceiling fans to distribute heat.

How To Layout A Paneled Fireplace Wall
Fine Homebuilding descries issues and considerations for layout of a paneled fireplace wall.

Detection & Repair Of A/C Refrigerant Charge
US Department of Energy report HVAC Fault Detection, Diagnosis, and Repair/Replacement investigates the role that measurement uncertainty can have on refrigerant charge verification. There is a large missed opportunity in underperforming residential air conditioning systems and trained home performance contractors may have skills to diagnose and, in some cases, correct major defects. (PDF)

Purchasable Guide To Shotcrete
American Concrete Institute publication ACI 506R-16 Guide to Shotcrete covers materials and properties of both dry-mix and wet-mix shotcrete, and shotcrete process including application procedures, equipment requirements, responsibilities of shotcrete crew, preconstruction trials, craftsman qualification tests, materials tests, and finished shotcrete acceptance tests. $80 USD

10. Information Sources

Online Videos On HVAC Products & Technology
BC Thermal Environmental Comfort Association online videos of past meeting presentations cover a wide range of HVAC products and installation procedures.

Flood Safety & Preparedness Resources
American Red Cross has information and resources on flood safety and preparedness.

Guides To Concrete Style Palettes
Concrete Network offers downloadable guides for using concrete for various indoor and outdoor design schemes.

BC PST Information For Contractors
Province of British Columbia provides PST rules and information for contractors.

Purchasable BC Construction & Renovation Contract Documents
CHBA BC sells seven different types of contracts for purchase, including construction agreements, renovation agreements, and builder and sub-contractor agreements.

Canadian National Housing Statistics
Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales fell 0.9% from May to June, actual activity came in 5.2% above June 2015, the number of newly listed homes rose 2.2% from May to June, MLS Home Price Index rose 13.6% year-over-year in June, and the national average sale price climbed 11.2% in June from one year ago; net of Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver, it advanced 8.4% year-over-year.

Long Term Canadian Household Projections
CMHC report on Long Term Household Projections to 2036 says it is expected that between 2.3 million to 6.1 million new households will be created in Canada and the total number of households in Canada is expected to increase from 15.9 million in the lowest growth scenario, to 19.7 million in the highest. The report includes projections of households by age-group, household type, dwelling type and tenure for Canada as well as for the provinces and territories. (PDF)

Superhero Secret Power Of Women In Real Estate
UDI Editor at Large David Allison recaps his experience at the Women Celebrating Women 2016 event. (PDF)

11. Conferences & Shows

2016 BC Building Envelope Conference In Vancouver
BC Building Envelope Council 2016 conference, with theme Evolution of the Building Envelope: Past Experiences to Innovation, will be held in Vancouver on September 14th. Topics will include discussions on new liquid applied waterproofing membrane research, upcoming implementation of stretch codes, forensic investigation of glass failures, requirements on structural glazing, roofing insulation considerations, and case studies on high-profile building envelope projects.

Home Electronic Technology Tradeshow
CEDIA 2016, the annual trade show for the home electronics industry will be held in Dallas, September 10-13.

Canadian National Design-Build Conference
Canadian Design-Build Institute presents their 2016 CDBI National Design-Build Conference in Winnipeg, October 12-14.

2016 Building Envelope Technology Symposium
RCI presents the Symposium on Building Envelope Technology in Houston, October 17-18. It offers application-based technical information for design professionals, architects, engineers, and facility managers. The program’s peer-reviewed presentations provide information valuable to anyone involved with designing or maintaining modern or aged building enclosure systems.

12. Education & Training

New Details Series For Builders Presented Around BC
Building It Right is presenting The Details Series at various locations around BC. It features meat and potatoes sessions focusing on construction details from foundation to roof & everything in between.

Introduction To Blueprint Reading
ICBA course Introduction To Blueprint Reading will be presented in Burnaby, August 24th. Using both residential and commercial samples of blueprints, participants will gain experience and practical knowledge for their day-to-day work in construction companies. This Red Seal course is ideal for those who have little or no background in blueprint reading.

Fall Protection Comprehensive
VRCA course Fall Protection Comprehensive will be presented in Vancouver, September 16th. In this one-day comprehensive program, participants will gain a good general understanding of fall protection systems. While various fall protection options exist, this course will identify which options best meet your business needs, and provide tools and knowledge to work at height safely.

UDI Project Delivery Models Course
UDI presents their Project Delivery Models Course on September 27th in Vancouver. Bringing together leading experts in the field, this conference will give you the tools needed to prepare you for the bidding and tendering process, lead you through the potential benefits and risks associated with different models of project delivery, and provide practical insight in selecting the best model for your project. You will come away with the tools necessary to make smart decisions, set construction projects up for success, and best protect your interests in construction contracts.

Codes Canada 2015 Seminars In The Works
National Research Council will be offering seminars in various cities across the country on technical changes to the 2015 editions of Codes Canada. Participants will learn about changes to the National Building Code, National Fire Code, National Plumbing Code and National Energy Code for Buildings.

Vancouver Requesting BC To Require Mandatory Certification For Asbestos Removal
Vancouver City is proposing that the BC government require mandatory licensing, certification and enforceable compliance in safely handling asbestos and other hazardous material for all demolition, renovation and environmental remediation contractors. (PDF)

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

7 Free Tools to Recover Deleted Files
Bob Rankin describes seven free tools that can help you recover those lost files.

Performance Of Free Collaboration Web Apps
Georgia Tech researchers have tested the most widely adopted free collaboration apps on the web to identify how well they work based on established design principles for interactive interfaces. The team found overall that the 20 selected apps provided a high level of usability for the most common tasks found across workplaces, such as e-mailing, scheduling events, managing calendars and videoconferencing.

The Known Universe
The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang.

Dittie For Today: On Worry

If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you'll never enjoy the sunshine. - Morris West

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© Copyright 2016              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

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