Alert Notice #137
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
October 25, 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 George Pinch, Zena Caul, Brian Hart, Pat O'Toole, Sabine Just, Steve Lauten, Ted Sheldon, Mike Gerbis, Joe Thomas, Lucy Adams, Christine Gibson, and Ron Zimmer 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

Open Cell Foam & Moisture In Attic
Building Science Corporation says it is OK to use open cell low density spray foam in conditioned attics...but the attics need to be conditioned. There has to be a moisture removal mechanism. they recommend air change.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Impact Of Foreign Buyers Tax On Vancouver Market
CMHC says while it is too early to determine long-term impacts of the Foreign Buyers Tax on the Vancouver housing market, preliminary analysis of resale market data suggests a consolidation of trends in the market, which pre-dated the introduction of the tax.

Xenophobic NIMBYs
Real Estate News Exchange says we live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and our diversity is one of the key factors in that beauty. Unfortunately, since the foreign buyers tax announcement, there has been an outpouring of vitriolic, xenophobic, racist rhetoric in various forums.

Victoria Economic & Housing Outlook
Central 1 online slide show presentation Victoria Economic and Housing Outlook covers Victoria labour market. Population trends, housing market conditions and trends, and economic and housing forecasts. (PDF)

BC New Homes Registry Report September 2016
HPO online New Homes Registry Report for September 2016 says registered new homes included 1,082 single detached and 3,811 multi-unit homes. This month, 24.2% of registered multi-unit homes were rental. Compared to September 2015, the number of registered new homes increased by 19.4%. Between August and September in 2016, there was a decrease in single detached homes (-24.0%) but an increase in multi-unit homes (+17.6%). (PDF)

Canadian Home Sales Edge Up In September
Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales edged slightly higher in September 2016 compared to August.

New Canadian Mortgage Rules Affect First Time Home Buyers
Canadian Home Builders Association has undertaken analysis of the mortgage rate stress test and is very concerned about the impacts resultant reduced access to mortgages will have on potential first-time home buyers. CHBA is also concerned about the impacts these rules will have on slower markets.

Millennials Bear Brunt of Fed Policy Changes
BC Real Estate Association examines how new rules introduced by the Federal Government could cause the sharpest drop in the purchasing power of low equity home buyers in years. (PDF)

US Investors Warm Up to Real Estate
Builder Magazine says a national survey of US investors found 89% are interested in incorporating real estate into their investment strategies.

2. Business Management

How to Get Millennials to Buy Houses
National Mortgage News makes the case that real estate agents could use a little help from lenders to get the millennial generation to buy more homes.

Spin Your Sales Web With These Tech Tools
Builder magazine presents five online strategies that utilize the latest web technology to make sales.

10 Treats for Your Bag of Sales Tricks
Remodeling magazine offers ten tips that will get you started off right in sales.

Innovation Requires Moving Beyond Day-to-Day Home Building Activities
Builder Magazine explains some obstacles to innovation in home building.

How to Combat Rising Construction Costs
Multifamily Executive online video offers suggestions on how to combat rising construction costs.

Financing Indicators For Small Business
Canadian Federation of Independent Business report SME Financing Indicators provides details on financing patterns and considerations for small and medium businesses. (PDF)

When An Estimate Isn't Just An Estimate
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association guest legal blog says carelessness in providing an estimate to a client can have serious repercussions when it comes to claiming entitlement to final payment.

Joy of Bourgeois Virtues
Fraser Institute says Jennifer Lawrence stars in one of the better presentations of entrepreneurship you’ll see on film.

3. Building Design & Trends

Features & Colors of Kitchens in New Homes
US National Association of Home Builders says information from the 2016 Builder Practices Survey provides insight into features and colors included in kitchens of newly constructed homes.

Latest Trends Driving Color Selection & Upping Curb Appeal
Building Design & Construction says builders are embracing color trends, paying more attention to both interior and exterior color palettes.

Shine Awards 2016 BC Interior Design Winners
Interior Designers Institute of BC 2016 Shine Awards winners demonstrate outstanding design achievements of BC’s professional interior design community.

How Builders Turn Design Into Reality
Fine Homebuilding describes how a builder looks at the drawings.

12 Remarkable & Inspiring Basement Remodels
Fine Homebuilding describes real-life examples of basements done right, including media centers, fitness areas, bedrooms, bars, and baths.

Homeowners Embrace Smart Technology When Renovating
Kitchen & Bath Design says a Houzz survey shows homeowners install at least one smart device as part of home renovations; smart thermostats are the most popular smart device.

Ways to Make Homes & Towns More Age-Friendly
Builder magazine summarizes some experts comments that stress putting the community in communities.

Characteristics of US Subdivisions
A recent NAHB study shows that the median size of a subdivision in the United States is 25 total acres, and the median number of housing units in a subdivision is 50.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Chris Mattock, Principal of Habitat Design & Consulting says: “Just got the latest BC Building Info. Keep up the good work.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Standards For BC Home Inspections
Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia Property Inspectors describes their standards for the performance and limitations of a home inspection by their members. (PDF)

Construction Heat Furnace Ban Delayed
Plumbing & HVAC magazine says an agreement by furnace manufacturers to prohibit the use of home heating furnaces for construction heat in residential projects has been postponed to allow homebuilders time to adapt. Initially planned for implementation Sept. 1, the change now take place May 1, 2017.

NAFS & Water Testing of US Products
RDH Building Science says there are several important differences between Canadian code requirements for window, door, and skylight products and the NAFS standard. One of these differences is how water penetration test failure is defined, and this can affect products tested to NAFS in the United States.

Toward a Comprehensive, Sustainable National Housing Strategy
Canadian Home Builders Association brief Toward a Comprehensive, Sustainable National Housing Strategy was submitted to the federal government National Housing Strategy consultation process. It includes a wide range of recommendations for improving housing access and affordability for all Canadians. (PDF)

Real Estate Submission to Canada Housing Strategy
Real Estate Foundation online submission to Federal Government National Housing Strategy covers sustainability, affordability, inclusivity, and flexibility. (PDF)

New Homes & Red Tape in Ontario
Fraser Institute report New Homes and Red Tape in Ontario: Residential Land-Use Regulation in the Greater Golden Horseshoe ranks municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe on several categories of red tape (construction approval times, timeline uncertainty, regulatory costs and fees, rezoning prevalence and the effect council and community groups have on development). The survey finds that the cost of complying with residential development regulations in Toronto is more than twice as expensive than in Hamilton.

Unintended Consequences of Law
Builder Magazine describes how an entire state priced itself out of the market for entry-level home buyers.

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5. Building Science & Technology

How to Hang Airtight Drywall
Fine Homebuilding online video shows how air tight drywall can make your house more energy-efficient when installed with caulks, sealants, canned foam, and gaskets.

Humidity in a Spray Foam Attic
Energy Vanguard onsite monitoring of an attic with spray foam insulation on the roofline shows that the humidity at the top of the attic gets much higher than both the humidity at the floor of the attic, and outdoor humidity.

ERV Effectiveness In Cold Climates
Alaska Cold Climate Housing Research Center study was designed to determine if ERVs improve indoor relative humidity over HRVs and to compare the energy recovery effectiveness of an ERV to that of an HRV. The study found that at indoor relative humidity levels above 25% the ERV can significantly improve the relative humidity over an HRV, but at lower RH there is less improvement in indoor humidity. The energy effectiveness data is inconclusive with the ERV and HRV core showing similar sensible effectiveness. (PDF)

Wood Beam Design & Installation Considerations
Weyerhaeuser says the successful design and installation of engineered wood beams such as Microllam LVL, TimberStrand LSL and Parallam PSL goes beyond just looking up a member in a table. Knowing how the beam will be loaded (either side loaded or top loaded) and the overall application of the member will help in determining which product to use to ensure a successful installation.

Performance of Drainage Components & Sheathing Membranes
Air Barrier Association of America and Canadian National Research Council provides 10 reports on their research Performance Evaluation of Proprietary Drainage Components and Sheathing Membranes when Subjected to Climate Loads.

Thermal & Energy Performance of EIFS Assemblies
EIFS Canada report Thermal and Whole Building Energy Performance of Exterior Insulated Finishing System Assemblies summarizes evaluation of EIFS details and systems for energy savings and thermal bridging. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

Preventing Leaks in Tiled Showers
Journal of Light Construction says to prevent leaks in tiled showers you must detail the pan properly before any tile is installed.

Methods For Checking Floor Vibration
WoodWorks describes some methods for checking floor vibration of light-frame wood structures.

Invisible Drywall Seams
Fine Homebuilding online video shows that with the proper tools and materials used in the right sequence, your drywall seams will seem to vanish.

Clothes Iron Repairs Dents In Wood
Tools of the Trade online video show how to remove dents in wood using a combination of steam and heat to draw the wood fibers back up to the surface.

Practical Guide To Building In Seismic Zones
Journal of Light Construction says steel and framing hardware requirements demand a whole new approach to foundation and framing when building in seismic zones.

Pictures of Poor HVAC Filter Installations
Energy Vanguard online pictures show some very poorly installed filters.

Cure for Failing Vinyl Siding
Journal of Light Construction provides an easy fix for an all-too-common problem with vinyl siding.

Vertical Movement In Six Storey Wood Frame Building In BC
FP Innovations report Vertical Movement Monitoring in Six-Storey Wood-Frame Building in BC provides results of measured movement over the entire building height recommending vertical movement estimate calculations taking in account both shrinkage and building load. (PDF)

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Seminar On TESLA Renewable & Sustainable Systems
UDI seminar TESLA Renewable & Sustainable Systems will be held in Vancouver on November 3rd. It presents innovative technology from the North American Tesla team, focused on renewable and sustainable building systems and the impact of energy generation and storage on future community development.

Available BC Rebates For Energy Efficient Retrofits
BC Hydro describes their available rebates for energy efficient retrofits including insulation, ductless heat pump, ventilation fans, draftproofing, and a $750 bonus offer.

Energy Star In Canada
Natural Resources Canada describes Energy Star, the voluntary partnership between the Government of Canada and industry to promote energy efficiency. They provide information and resources for Energy Star for products, new homes, and buildings.

Canadian Energy Use Data Handbook 1990 To 2013
Natural Resources Canada online Energy Use Data Handbook 1990 To 2013 tables provide data on energy use and GHG emissions as well as information on major activities and relevant indicators influencing energy use. (PDF)

Installer Training Essential for Net Zero
Builder Magazine says innovative new materials design and engineering will serve as a cornerstone or a weak link in energy performance gains, depending on whether installers get it right.

Solar & Energy Efficiency Need to Work Together
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says rather than making an either/or choice, consumers should put solar and energy efficiency together.

Finding PV Solar Energy Sweet Spot
Renewable Energy World says as we enter an era when solar energy is cost competitive, finding a solar deployment sweet spot is the next logical step. In other words, focusing not only on maximizing financial value, but also the operational and customer value.

Dunrobin Offers Model for Community Solar in Canada
Sustainable Biz Canada says a large-scale project in rural west Ottawa is quickly becoming a model for community solar.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Difference Between Linoleum & Vinyl Flooring
Fine Homebuilding says linoleum is mostly, but not exclusively, limited to commercial applications. Vinyl is found in numerous residential and commercial applications. Both materials are available in sheets and in tiles.

7 Home Tech Products To Upgrade Your Space Now
Curbed says with the release of iOS 10 earlier this month, Apple is finally pulling the curtain back on its new Home app, and, as is the vogue in the smart home sphere, voice activation is the name of the game.

There’s No Beating High-Tech Heating
Mechanical Business says evolving government regulations and a growing demand for heating equipment to integrate fully into home comfort systems leave the industry in a constant state of changing products.

Smart Home System Provides Digital Caregiving
Builder Magazine describes how a range of tech-based products bring customized solutions to a Canadian family with extensive medical needs.

Foam May Be The Lexus of Insulation
Journal of Light Construction says spray foam insulation has gotten a bad rap lately. But in this online video a builder explains why he chose a closed-cell foam for the cathedral ceiling in a 150-year-old house.

Off Site Wood Construction
WoodWorks online slide show presentation describes the unique design and construction techniques associated with pre-fabricated and off-site panelized wood systems. (PDF)

Mass Timber Construction An Advantage in Northern Climes
Journal Of Commerce says as the largest mass timber structure in the world to date, standing 18 storeys and 54 metres, rises on UBC campus, it is casting a construction shadow that extends far north.

Cross Laminated Timber Fire Tests Back Proponents
Building Design & Construction says a company has successfully completed two significant fire tests on Cross-laminated Timber as a building material, demonstrating for the first time the feasibility of tall mass timber buildings in the US.

9. Installation Procedures

How to Frame an Interior Door Opening
Fine Homebuilding online video gives a quick look at framing an opening in an interior non-bearing wall.

Installing Doors Before Carpet Is Laid
Journal of Light Construction offers tips on installing pre-hung doors before floors are carpeted.

The Perfect Floor Next to Kitchen Islands
Fine Homebuilding says kitchen islands are a common source of homeowner frustration with respect to floor performance. Since many countertops are stone, it is often assumed the supporting floor joist system was not designed properly to account for the heavy counter surface. However, this may not be the case.

Garage Gable Wall Framing
Fine Homebuilding describes how to install joist blocking along the gable before erecting the wall to save time.

Best Practice Housewrap & Window Flashing
Journal of Light Construction online videos describe step-by-step instruction on integrating housewrap and window flashing to prevent leaks and other moisture problems.

Online Videos On Removing & Replacing Windows & Trim
Fine Homebuilding online videos include How to Remove Old Window Sashes and Jambs From a Brick Wall; How To Flash a Window Rough Opening in an Existing Brick Wall; How To Install and Airseal a New Window in an Old Brick Wall; How to Install a PVC Exterior Casing on a Window in a Brick Wall; How To Install Interior Extension Jambs and Window Trim.

Upside-Down Roofing
Fine Homebuilding says on a steep roof it is often faster to shingle the roof in sections starting at the top and working backwards to the eave edge.

10. Information Sources

Building Genius Podcasts On Building Science
Icynene podcast series features building science experts sharing ideas and advancements in the building industry, some interesting projects where spray foam insulation has been used to help address design issues, and other topics of interest to architects and design professionals.

The Making of a Carpenter
Journal of Light Construction says in the book, Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter, the author brings the reader into the intimate details of her decision to change careers, leaving behind life as a newspaper journalist and embracing a profession in the building trades. It’s a book that certainly should be handed to every aspiring carpenter. But veterans won’t be disappointed.

When Bulldozers Roamed The Earth
Journal of Light Construction says the book Bulldozer: Demolition and Clearance of the Postwar Landscape explains how the dozer transformed from a heroic weapon in the arsenal of democracy into a tool for urban planning, suburban development, and the creation of the interstate highway system.

Hydro Distribution Technical Standards & Guides
BC Hydro online Distribution Technical Standards & Guides provides the latest customer connection related standards, design guides, class of work specifications, and equipment advisories.

BC Tiny House Collective
BC Tiny House Collective mission is to incorporate tiny homes in future and existing neighbourhoods as part of our regional housing strategies through community mobilization and stakeholder engagement.

11. Conferences & Shows

2017 International Builders Show In Orlando
US National Association of Home Builders presents The International Builder's Show in Orlando, January 10-12. The largest such show in North America, it features educational sessions and exhibitors of building industry products, innovations, and demonstrations.

2017 Winter Conference
ASHRAE 2017 Winter Conference will be held in Las Vegas, January 28- February 1. The world’s largest gathering of HVAC&R professionals, it features 8 conference tracks.

12. Education & Training

BC Seminars On Gas Code Changes
BC Safety Authority is presenting seminars around the province on recent changes to the gas code. It provides an in-depth overview of the changes to the 2015 BC Gas Codes B149.1 and B149.2 including new definitions and interpretation/application of the code.

Gas & Electric Orientation Course For New Certified Individuals
BC Safety Authority online orientation course will help newly-certified individuals and licensed contractors in the gas and electrical technologies. The free course covers a general overview of BCSA, permit management, compliance and enforcement, and to manage the relationship with BCSA.

Technologies for High Performance Homes In Okanagan
NRCan LEEP 2-day Technology Forum will be held in Prince George, November 14-15, and in Kelowna, November 16-17. It provides builders an opportunity to learn about new technologies for high performance homes. Day 1 covers energy efficient wall systems and Day 2 covers mechanical and photovoltaic systems.

Hazard Recognition & Control
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association seminar Hazard Recognition and Control will be presented in Langley on November 17th. It is designed to provide participants the required knowledge to understand the principle of hazard recognition and control as well as the methods used to ensure hazards are identified and adequately addressed in the workplace.

BCIT Adds New Building Lab In Burnaby
Journal Of Commerce says BC Institute of Technology recently revealed a new High Performance Building Lab on its Burnaby campus.

Contractors On Front Line Support Training
Journal of Light Construction says contractors need to form partnerships with teachers to help improve trade education.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Top 10 Gmail Tips for Power Users
Lifehacker says we’re all used to archiving, labeling, and marking bad senders as spam, but you probably still spend a lot of time in your inbox, especially if your work uses Gmail. Here are ten tips that’ll save you time and make getting to Inbox Zero a little easier.

10 Firefox Tips & Tricks For Windows Users
Windows Club offers some simple and cool Firefox tips and tricks that will help you save time & get the best out of this browser.

Idiot Test
No matter how hard I concentrated I could not make it through this without having to start over. Good Luck!!

Dittie For Today: On Character

Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country. - Mark Twain

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© Copyright 2016              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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