Alert Notice #134
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
August 23, 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, Joe Thomas, Mark Sakai, Sabine Just, Zena Caul, Wilma Leung, Patrick O'Toole, Wanda McCombe, John Maus, Jenifer Christenson, Mitch James, Karen Podolski, Christine Gibson, Glenn Duxbury, and Tracy Wells 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

Exhaust-Only Ventilation Does Not Work
Building Science says exhaust-only ventilation does not work in tight building enclosures and certainly not in new houses, apartments, townhouses and row houses.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Housing Market Update August 2016
BC Real Estate Association online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discusses the July 2016 statistics.

BC Economic Briefing August 2016
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing says MLS housing sales fell 5.6 per cent in July as a sharp drop due to Lower Mainland-Southwest contraction. (PDF)

Canadian Housing Starts Trend Increases In July
CMHC says July housing starts continued to pick up pace, as construction strengthened in BC and Ontario's multi-unit segments. This reflects continued strong demand for lower-priced homes and low inventories of completed and unsold new units.

Canadian Home Sales Post Third Consecutive Decline In July
Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales declined for a third consecutive month in July 2016.

Impact Of Price Growth In Vancouver & Toronto On Canadian Market
CMHC says overvaluation and overbuilding continue to be the most problematic conditions across the 15 centres covered by the HMA. Overvaluation is detected in nine centres while overbuilding is detected in seven.

BC Construction Industry Optimistic For 2016 Except In North
BC Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are optimistic for increased work volumes and wages in 2016, according to the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC annual survey. However, Northern BC projects a decline in growth despite increased activity. (PDF)

Residential Real Estate A Big Economic Engine In BC
Business Council of BC says the data tracking economic output by sector confirms that real estate-related activity has become a critical factor underpinning economic growth in the province.

Allow Housing Supply To React To Housing Demand
Fraser Institute says we should allow housing supply to react to housing demand in Toronto, Vancouver and beyond. Unfortunately, the discussion on housing affordability has been dominated by handwringing over foreign homebuyers and low interest rates.

2. Business Management

New Penalties For BC Property Transfer Tax Evasion
UDI says the Superintendent of Real Estate is warning developers that under newly introduced Property Transfer Tax legislation they would face significant fines and/or imprisonment if they provide incorrect information intended to avoid the tax changes.

Get Ready For The Canadian Tax Man
Home Builder Canada says the 2016 Federal budget could bring scrutiny to real estate trading.

Choosing A Lawyer To Represent Your Business
Canadian Federation of Independent Business describes six things to consider when you’re choosing a lawyer.

Don't Be Afraid To Tear Up That Contract
Remodeling Magazine says working with clients that aren't a good fit can be a waste of your time and a source of lost revenue.

Getting Facts Straight On Seattle Minimum Wage Study
Fraser Institute says Seattle minimum wage increase has hurt job prospects, and failed to produce higher earnings for low-wage workers.

Hiring Questions For Every Job
Remodeling magazine provides some on-target questions that will help you find out more about a person's abilities.

Be A Modern Day CEO Warrior
Plumbing & Mechanical magazine says after a few years of owning a service business, many owners start to develop a nagging feeling that something isn’t right in their business, even if they don’t know what it is. They feel something could (and should) be better.

Best Apps For Vehicle Operation & Maintenance
Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency describes 16 apps for iOS and Android devices to gauge fuel expenditures and keep track of maintenance schedules and related driving related expenses.

3. Building Design & Trends

CARE Awards Finalists Announced For Vancouver Island
Victoria Residential Builders Association has announced finalists for their 2016 Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence. They represent Canada’s leaders in sustainable West Coast design and construction showcasing the very best in new homes, renovations, kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living spaces.

2016 Winners Of BC Landscape Awards of Excellence
BC Landscape & Nursery Association presents winners of their 2016 Landscape Award of Excellence, an annual competition that honours the outstanding workmanship of BC landscape professionals in various project categories.

What Boomers Want Most
Builder Magazine says Hanley Wood and home builder Taylor Morrison have just unveiled new research on what buyers in the 55+ age group want when purchasing a new home.

Bringing Flexibility Home
Urban Land Magazine says an emerging twist in the design of open residential floor plans is an attempt to reduce their openness by breaking up the layout or adding flexibility in a variety of ways.

Four Plans For Super-Social Kitchens
Builder Magazine says with abundant room for seating, these kitchen islands are ready for all kinds of gatherings.

Most Popular & Iconic Home Design Styles
Part Select online guide to iconic home styles shows how dwellings in England, Italy, and France influenced the way we build our houses today in North America. This guide is a must-read for any real estate buff who prides themselves on their knowledge of architecture.

US Developers Experiment With Microunits For Millennials
Construction Dive says as US home prices and rents continue to soar, some developers are taking aim at a new target market, those willing to sacrifice square footage to be able to live near their work and area nightlife at a more budget-friendly price.

Factory-Built Homes Could Help Cities With Tight Housing Markets
Canadian Design and Construction Report says cities facing housing shortages should encourage more modular construction to increase options for prospective homebuyers and renters, according to a UBC researcher.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Bruce Gray of SunPump Solar says: “I found BC Building Info very informative. I spent hours connecting through various links to other BC industry resources.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Newly Built Home Exemption From Property Transfer Tax
The Province of BC Newly Built Home Exemption reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase a newly built home.

Piping Insulation Required For Tankless Water Heaters
BC Building Code Appeal Board has confirmed that piping insulation is required to a tankless water heater.

Conditions of Alternative Solution Acceptance For Spray Foam In Vancouver
City of Vancouver bulletin describes conditions of alternative solution acceptance for spray foam. (PDF)

Proposed WorkSafe BC Changes To Joint Health & Safety Committees
WorkSafe BC has approved public hearings on proposed regulatory changes, including proposed changes regarding joint health and safety committees. One of the proposed new sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation relates to the annual evaluation of joint committees.

Scope Of Inspection For BC Home Inspectors
Home Inspectors Association of BC online Scope of Practice of home inspection identifies the range of services and activities that the licensed members of this profession are educated and legally required to provide. The document describes the professional activities and areas of professional practice. (PDF)

Passive House Projects To Meet Carbon Neutral Targets
City of Vancouver says beginning in 2020, it is targeting all new designs to be carbon neutral. To achieve this ambitious goal it supports increased local exposure to, and technical knowledge of, Passive House building design, construction, and certification.

Draft BC Water Quality Guidelines Open For Review
BC Ministry of Environment is updating the source drinking water and recreation water quality guidelines as part of its 2016 Human Health Water Quality Guidelines Update, and seeks subject matter experts to review the revised guidelines. The draft source drinking water quality guidelines are now available and open for external review.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Online Building Science 101 Guide
Insulation Institute online Building Science 101 is a guide to understanding a systems approach to building better homes and giving customers what they want. (PDF)

US Building Science Education Strategy
US Department of Energy has developed a building science education strategy that includes three important initiatives.

Advanced Wall Framing Tips
Fine Homebuilding describes features and procedures for advanced wall framing.

Air-Sealing Options: Good, Better, Best
Journal of Light Construction says new standards for air-sealing require a range of new materials and methods.

Plan Insulation Ahead Of Time To Save Energy
Fine Homebuilding describes how to build a house that performs at a high level, by planning your insulation strategy as part of the design process.

Risk Assessment Of HVAC Strategies In Low-Load Homes
US Department of Energy report Risk Assessment of Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Strategies in Low-Load Homes identifies which forced air heating systems and control strategies work best for particular climate zones or house geometries and proposes solutions that homebuilders can implement to reduce the risk of occupant discomfort in individual rooms. (PDF)

Applying Cold Climate Air-To-Water Heat Pumps
PM Engineer describes some key technical issues associated with applying air-to-water heat pumps.

Difference Between Circulators & Pumps
Contractor magazine says one area of concern for hydronics folk is the use of the term pump versus circulator. They explain that the difference between the two is the end application.

6. Building Performance Issues

Steps To Constructing Squeak Free Floor System
Engineered Wood Association tips sheet describes steps to constructing a solid, squeak free floor system. (PDF)

When Spray Foam Installation Goes Bad
Green Building Advisor says when spray foam is not installed correctly, it can get expensive for the client, the contractor, and the planet.

Gas Furnaces & Construction Heat Controversy
Canadian Design and Construction says associations representing Canadian homebuilders and HVAC contractors are engaged in a controversy about whether gas furnaces installed in new homes can be used for construction heating before the homes are turned over to the purchasers.

Plugged Heat Exchanger Causes High Carbon Monoxide Levels In BC Home
BC Safety Authority says a plugged heat exchanger in a residential boiler raised carbon monoxide levels in a home, injuring four individuals.

How To Vent A Dryer
Green Building Advisor discusses whether or not the exhaust from a clothes dryer can be vented into the basement without creating major problems.

Do's & Don'ts of Scaffold Safety in Construction
Construct Connect provides a general list of do’s and don’ts for scaffold safety in construction.

Be Wary Of How A Boiler Is Maintained
PM Engineer says boilers fail, and whenever they do, someone usually blames the manufacturer. Manufacturers are easy to blame because they’re large and very visible. But often it’s someone small and almost camouflaged doing the murder, someone you don’t notice because they’re always there in the building, like the furniture.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

BC Climate Leadership Plan Announcements
BC Government says BC Climate Leadership Plan identifies key areas where British Columbia can take action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The initial 21 actions will collectively reduce net annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 million tonnes below current forecasts by 2050.

Steady Growth For Canadian LEED Projects In Second Quarter
Canada Green Building Council saw steady growth for both LEED registered and certified projects in the second quarter of 2016, with 81 certifications and 106 registrations between April 1 and June 30.

New West Family Finds Comfort In Energy Retrofit
New West Record describes how a local family completed an energy efficiency upgrade on their 1924 home.

76% Expect Smart Lights To Replace Traditional Bulbs
Media Post says consumers in the US appear to be warming up to the idea of smart lights in their homes. The majority (76 per cent) of consumers now say that smart lights will ultimately replace regular lightbulbs, based on a new study. There also is an increase in general awareness of the idea of smart lights, with most (65 per cent) consumers having heard of smart lights and more than 60 per cent saying that smart lights fit their lifestyle.

Certified Low-Emission Carpet Adhesives & Carpet
Building America Solution Center describes features, benefits and considerations for certified low-emission carpet adhesives and carpet.

Proposed Standard For Expressing Building Energy Performance In A Rating Program
BSR/ASHRAE Standard 214P, Standard for Determining and Expressing Building Energy Performance in a Rating Program is open for public review. The purpose of this standard is to provide a standardized approach and methodology for determining and expressing building energy performance in a rating program. (PDF)

Controls To Reduce Energy Consumption Of Central DHW Systems
US Department of Energy report Control Strategies to Reduce the Energy Consumption of Central Domestic Hot Water Systems describes testing of two types of recirculation controls in a pair of buildings to evaluate their energy savings potential. Demand control, temperature modulation controls, and their simultaneous operation were compared to the baseline case of constant recirculation. (PDF)

US Conference For Home Energy Raters
RaterFest 2016, the US Conference for home energy raters will be held in Colorado, September 16-18. It is an annual two-and-a-half-day training conference for home energy professionals.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

2016 Brick In Architecture Award Winners
Brick Industry Association displays their 2016 Brick In Architecture Award winners, celebrating the use of fired-clay brick in projects.

Floor-Framing Design
Fine Homebuilding describes how to design wooden I-joists to provide a good balance of strength, cost and ease of installation for floors.

Guide Specifications For Architectural Woodwork
Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada provides downloadable guide specifications for Architectural Wood Casework Section 06 41 00, Wood Paneling Section 06 42 00, Wood Trim Section 06 46 00, and Wood Doors Section 08 14 00.

Smart Home As A Service
Wireless Design magazine says instead of consumers being responsible for selecting, installing, maintaining, upgrading and programming their smart home devices, Smart Home as a Service providers could do it for them. This could be a typical service provider, like a telco, cable TV or internet service providers, who are already doing this to some extent and already have ongoing billing relationship with home owners. It could also be large retailers who already have a portfolio of home services and could easily expand. It could also be large utilities as well as small regional start-ups who see the market potential to provide smart services.

Six Home-Building Technologies Of The Future
EcoBuilding Pulse Magazine says residential construction isn’t always quick to adopt new technologies. But more than 20% of builders say they’re experimenting with drones, while others report they’re using 3D printers. And even those technologies seem minuscule when compared with robots that can lay 1,000 bricks per hour or install steel studs, sheetrock, or tile.

4 Construction Technology Innovations Enhancing Productivity
Construction Dive says from new power tools to wearable devices, foremen and trade workers have new options to improve efficiency on the job site.

High-Powered Batteries
Home Builder Canada discusses the battery platforms that will lock you into one brand or the other.

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Natural Resources Canada describes light bulbs that have a variety of performance characteristics, shapes and sizes, light outputs (brightness), light appearances (colour temperatures) and levels of energy efficiency.

9. Installation Procedures

Framing Eaves & Rakes
Journal of Light Construction says full-size drawings and a handy jig speed layout can minimize the chance for errors when framing eaves and rakes.

Headerless Wall Openings
Fine Homebuilding says to get excess wood out of the walls you can skip headers where they are unnecessary and use rim joist headers where they are.

High R-Value Walls Without Exterior Rigid Insulation
US Department of Energy report Construction Guidelines for High R-Value Walls without Exterior Rigid Insulation is intended to reduce the risk of failure in these types of assemblies, increase durability, and reduce material brought to landfills due to failures and resulting decay. Although this document focuses on double-wall framing techniques, the majority of the information about how to properly construct and finish high R-value assemblies is applicable to all wall assemblies that do not have foam insulation installed on the exterior of the structural sheathing. (PDF)

Installing Asphalt Shingles
Journal of Light Construction offers some typical guidelines to follow when installing asphalt shingles.

Run HVAC Duct Through Composite Lumber Beams
Builder Magazine says a leading engineered lumber manufacturer has come up with a solution that safely allows round beam holes of up to 10-1/2 inches in diameter for a 16-inch deep beam. That’s more than five times the size of the standard 2-inch hole typically advised by manufacturers.

Remove Attic Floor Insulation In Spray Foam Attic
Energy Vanguard says attic floor insulation should be removed when insulating the roof deck with spray foam in an existing home.

Curved Paneling For A Circular Room
Journal of Light Construction article by a master cabinetmaker provides his secrets for making curved panels.

Infrared Cameras For Building Science & Home Performance
Fine Homebuilding online video explains how to use infra red cameras to identify missing insulation, air leaks, water leaks, and more.

10. Information Sources

New Housing Registrations As Leading Indicator Of BC Economy
BC Housing and Bank of Canada study New Housing Registrations as a Leading Indicator of the BC Economy assessed whether new home registration data can be used as a leading indicator for economic activity in BC. Study results found that quarterly increases in new registrations for single-detached homes has statistically significant predictive content for growth in real GDP over the next one to three quarters. (PDF)

Economic Impacts Of Canadian Housing Industry
Canadian Home Builders Association provides statistics on the 2015 economic impact of the housing industry in various provinces and municipalities in Canada.

US Houzz & Home Report
US National Association of Home Builders says Houzz economists recently released the annual US Houzz & Home Report, the largest home building and remodeling survey in the world. Over 120,000 respondents provided information on their design and renovation projects in 2015 and their upcoming plans in 2016.

Purchasable Wood Design Manual 2015
Canadian Wood Council sells the Wood Design Manual 2015, the essential wood design publication. The 2015 edition is updated in compliance with National Building Code of Canada (NBC) 2015 and CSA Standard O86-2014. It includes the Engineering design in wood Standard (CSA O86-14). $225 CDN

Tiny Houses On Wheels
CMHC describes a tiny house on wheels, and initial exploratory efforts to create tiny home communities. (PDF)

Evolution Of Caulking
Home Builder Canada talks with technical people to find out about the recent evolution of caulking materials.

Purchasable Heatloss Calculation Guide From Hydronics Institute
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating sells the Hydronics Institute book, Heatloss Calculation Guide. The 80-page book covers residential heat loss, using hand-held calculator. $80 CDN

Purchasable Book Primary-Secondary Pumping Made Easy
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating sells Primary-Secondary Pumping Made Easy, by Dan Holohan. $40 CDN

11. Conferences & Shows

BC Aboriginal Economic Development & Prosperity Forum
The Aboriginal Business and Investment Council, in partnership with the Business Council of British Columbia, is hosting the Aboriginal Economic Development and Prosperity Forum in Vancouver on September 6th.

2016 BC Construction Safety Conference
The annual Bridging the Gap conference, held October 27-28 In Vancouver, is a two-day conference and trade show on safety in the construction industry.

Canadian Hydronics Conference In Vancouver
Held in conjunction with CIPHEX West 2016 in Vancouver, November 2-3, the Canadian Hydronics Conference is an opportunity for all hydronics industry participants to learn from North America’s leading hydronics educators.

12. Education & Training

Building Smart With Thermal Comfort, Solar Control, Passive Cooling
Homeowner Protection Office seminar and webinar Building Smart with Thermal Comfort, Solar Control and Passive Cooling will be presented on August 25th. It will examine building and human factor designs to achieve optimal thermal comfort in residential buildings.

Change Order Management
ICBA course on Change Order Management will be held in Burnaby, September 14th. It will provide participants with best practices for successfully navigating this complex project management challenge.

Contracts 101
GVHBA seminar Contracts 101 will be presented in Burnaby on September 21st. It will focus on understanding the important basics of construction contracts, including the identification and explanation of key terms builders and renovators need in their contracts to protect themselves and their businesses.

Fall Continuing Education Courses For BC Builders
CHBA BC lists its upcoming continuing education courses for BC Builders.

BCIT Program For Apprentices Via Distance Learning
Journal Of Commerce says BCIT is working with the Government of Canada as part of the Flexible Innovative Apprenticeship Technical Training program as a way to allow students looking to complete apprenticeship in the piping trades to complete the theory portion of their education via distance learning.

Harmonization Needed For Red Seal Apprentices
REMI Network says the Red Seal Program, the Canadian standard of excellence for skilled trades, encourages harmonization by developing common interprovincial standards and examinations. But inconsistencies exist in provincial/territorial apprenticeship training and certification requirements. This means that Red Seal trades harmonization for apprentices has yet to be fully realized in Canada.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

How To Improve Your Wi-Fi Performance
Techlicious describes 9 actions you can take to increase your Wi-Fi performance and get your streaming speed back up to par.

Work On Dropbox Files Together With Office Online
Dropbox customers now have the capabilities to co-edit files in Office Online. They can now also send documents directly from Dropbox within their account, allowing them to better collaborate regardless of their device or location.

Luckiest Dude
Just call this dude one of the luckiest people around!

Dittie For Today: On Quality

Good and quickly seldom meet. - English Proverb

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© Copyright 2016              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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