Alert Notice #139
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
December 13, 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, Pat O'Toole, Wilma Leung, Peter Prestipino, Mark Sakai, Megan Beggs, George Pinch, Bob Joseph, Peter Devereaux, Murray Frank, Mike Stewart, Casey Kerkoff, Ron Zimmer, Joey Fearn, Lisa Campbell, Sabine Just, Glenn Duxbury, Christine Leclerc, Karen Podolski, Kevin Holland and Aimee 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

BC Energy Step Code Implementation Recommendations
Province of BC online Energy Step Code Implementation Recommendations describes a consistent provincial standard for energy efficiency to replace the wide range of existing policies and programs developed by local governments. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Policy Recommendations on Housing in BC
CHBA BC bulletin Policy Recommendations on Housing in British Columbia focuses on the housing continuum, the association's perspective, and key policy proposals at all levels. (PDF)

Vancouver Needs To Build More Homes
Fraser Institute says growing the housing supply in a geographically constrained city such as Vancouver will ultimately require city hall to permit more density. This means reducing red tape, the regulatory barriers and costs to building more apartments, laneway units, townhomes, and other alternatives to single-dwelling houses.

Game of Homes Presentation to UDI
Urban Development Institute online slide show presentation by Urban Analytics reviews events and trends that have led us to where we are today, and what we should expect during the next 12 months.

BC Housing Market Forecast 4th Quarter 2016
BC Real Estate Association 2016 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast says MLS residential sales in the province are on pace to reach a record 113,800 units this year, an increase of 11 per cent compared to 2015. Many regional markets have performed exceptionally well over the second half of the year, largely offsetting more moderate demand in Metro Vancouver. However, it is unlikely that BC housing markets will repeat this year’s performance. Moderating economic conditions and policy headwinds are expected to slow housing demand by 15 per cent to 96,300 units next year. (PDF)

BC Economic Briefing December 2016
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing says total provincial urban-area housing starts reverted to trend in November with surge in Vancouver area apartments. (PDF)

BC To Lead Canada in Growth
Journal of Commerce says industry experts told attendees at the recent CanaData West conference in Vancouver that while the overall global economy is growing slowly, BC is being looked upon as a bright spot in Canada.

Housing Market Assessment for Canada
CMHC Housing Market Assessment 4th Quarter provides updated results that evaluate the extent to which there is evidence of problematic Canadian housing market conditions in selected Census Metropolitan Areas.

Summary of 2016 Input into Canadian National Housing Strategy
CMHC provides a summary of input into a Canadian National Housing Strategy that included more than 6,300 completed surveys, close to 480 written submissions, almost 2,000 social media ideas and over 75 focus groups, meetings and roundtables.

2. Business Management

15 Things Realtors Want Builders to Know
Builder Magazine says from dirty model homes to pushy salespeople, here are the top blunders that real estate agents see builders make.

Attract Your Ideal Clients with Strategic Storytelling
Houzz offers tips on how to stand out among the competition by using your story to your advantage.

To Sell More, Offer Fewer Options
Remodeling magazine says clients are inundated by a slew of options for their homes. So how can you help them navigate through all the choices? Offer them less.

Are You Making These Seven Marketing Mistakes?
Replacement Contractor experts explain seven common marketing mistakes, and how to avoid them.

5 Ways to Avoid Last-Minute Cancellations
Builder Magazine offers some tips on how to protect yourself from sale-killing situations like buyer's remorse and financing woes.

Importance of Following Proper Tendering Procedures
GVHBA article by Kuhn LLP says when submitting a bid in a tendering context, be sure to follow all the requirements contained in the invitation to tender.

10 Free & Low Cost Tools for Small Business Owners
Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency describes some of the best resources available for small business owners: general business and tax advice, payroll, invoicing, mentoring and other important functions.

Where is Remodeling Headed?
Remodeling magazine says niche areas point the way for the future of remodeling, with aging in place leading the way, followed by energy efficiency.

3. Building Design & Trends

2016 BC Winners of UDI Awards of Excellence
UDI lists the winners of their 2016 Urban Development Institute Awards for Excellence.

Finalists for 2017 BC Georgie Awards
CHBA BC lists the finalists for their 2017 Georgie Awards, highlighting excellence in home building and renovation in BC. To be eligible, members submitted entries that were built, renovated, developed, created and/or marketed during the period of January 2015 to September 2016. (PDF)

17 Exciting Floor Plans for 2017
Builder Magazine online slideshow describes some of standout house designs for 2017.

2016 US Residential Landscaping Award Winners
American Society of Landscape Architects presents the winners of their 2016 Residential Landscaping Awards.

Pantone Unveils Greenery as 2017 Color of the Year
Custom Home Magazine says Pantone has unveiled “Greenery” as its anticipated and influential Color of the Year for 2017.

Benjamin Moore Selects Shadow 2017 Color of Year
Remodeling magazine says Benjamin Moore named Shadow as its 2017 Color of the Year. It is a color that calls to mind a past, yet it can also make a contemporary, color-confident statement.

Kitchen Is Real Estate’s Most Valuable Room
Realtor describes why the kitchen has become the most obsessed-about and downright valuable room in real estate.

Porches Vs Decks in New Homes
Builder Magazine says NAHB analysis of the Survey of Construction has found that porches have become somewhat more common since 2005.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Adam Killam, President of Adam Killam Internet Marketing says: “I like the directory and think you've done a great job of building a useful resource for people. Keep up the good work!”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Comparison of Municipal Fees On New Housing Around BC
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC is now tracking municipal fees and charges on new housing projects across BC. Four major fees - building/development permit fee, subdivision fee, zoning fee, and development cost charges were collected for 16 municipalities across the province. Where applicable, school site development charges were also listed as this fee does not apply in every municipality. The fees were calculated using the same model of a 2,500-square-foot house, where re-zoning would be required for a subdivided lot.

New Homes & Red Tape in Alberta Calgary-Edmonton Corridor
Fraser Institute study New Homes and Red Tape: Residential Land-Use Regulation in Alberta's Calgary-Edmonton Corridor compares and ranks jurisdictions across the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor on several categories of red tape (construction approval times, density opposition, timeline uncertainty, regulatory costs and fees, rezoning prevalence and the effect council and community groups have on development) based on the experiences and opinions of industry professionals.

BC Gas Utility Concerned with Vancouver Rezoning Application
FortisBC is concerned that the City of Vancouver has included two clauses in the Engineering Services section of recent rezoning proposals. One includes mandatory connection to a City of Vancouver-designated neighborhood energy system to be used for domestic heat and hot water. The second does not allow for gas fireplaces to be installed in suites.

Part 3 BC Building Code Myths & Interpretations
Building Officials Association of BC online slide show presentation describes some myths and interpretations relative to Part 3 Building Code. (PDF)

Recent BC Directives on Gas Safety & Codes
BC Safety Authority has recently issued some directives to clarify or provide new, important interpretations of the gas regulations or codes.

Attic Roof RSI Calculation
Building Officials Association of BC document describes how to determine the total RSI value for a roof assembly. (PDF)

BC Regulation Changes for Contaminated Sites
UDI describes significant changes to the Contaminated Sites Regulation that have been made and are effective November 1, 2017. (PDF)

Tiny Houses Incorporated into International Residential Code
AEC Daily says the International Code Council reported that the tiny house appendix passed their final round of voting. As a result, a tiny house specific appendix will be part of the 2018 International Residential Code, allowing people to receive a Certificate of Occupancy for their tiny house when built to meet the provisions of the adopted code appendix.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Break Thermal Bridging or Lose It
Green Building Advisor suggests that thermal bridges can be effectively managed, and that doing so will have a meaningful impact on the performance of buildings.

Joining Two Roofs of Different Pitches
Journal of Light Construction describes issues and considerations for joining two roofs of different pitches.

How Much Snow is Too Much for a Roof?
Read Jones Christoffersen says the amount of snow a roof can hold depends on the geographic location of the building, its construction, exposure to its surroundings and whether the number of freeze-thaw cycles experienced during the season has caused ice to form on the building’s roof. (PDF)

Better Duct Systems for Home Heating & Cooling
US Department of Energy bulletin Better Duct Systems for Home Heating & Cooling provides a working knowledge of residential heating and cooling duct systems. It includes an understanding of the major issues concerning efficiency, comfort, health and safety, as well as practical tips on installation and repair of duct systems. (PDF)

Will A Humidifier Hurt Your Indoor Air Quality?
Energy Vanguard says when you crank up the humidifier in winter, you may well be growing mold in your home.

Cool Stack-Effect Tool
Green Building Advisor says the simple SEE STACK computer program helps designers understand the relationship between stack effect and mechanical ventilation.

Why Building Airtightness is Important
RDH Building Science says the idea of air entering or exiting a building may not seem like cause for concern, but in reality, airtightness is an important aspect in building performance. Because the internal environments of buildings need to be carefully controlled to allow for proper ventilation, temperature and moisture control, these unintended leakages, usually invisible to the naked eye, can cause major issues that can be costly to both building owners and occupants.

Raising the Barrier for Air Tight Ceiling
LG Squared describes an interesting approach to ceiling air barriers using continuous mineral wool insulation on the exterior, loose fill stone wool in the attic and a unique application for zip sheathing.

6. Building Performance Issues

Star Crossed Lovers of Building Science
Building Science describes issues and considerations for installing flanged windows into foam plastic insulating sheathing. Wood bump outs are a thermal bridge, and what is the point of continuous insulation if we run a thermal bridge through it at every punched opening.

Replacing a Rotted Rim Joist Behind Brick
Journal of Light Construction describes issues and considerations for replacing a rotted rim joist behind brick.

Why Decks Fall Down
Fine Homebuilding identifies five common reasons for deck failure and provides solutions based on the American Wood Council's alternative deck code. (PDF)

Best Practices & Quality Issues in Residential Stucco Application
Building Enclosure Science & Technology Conference paper Best Practices and Quality Issues in Residential Stucco Application says while the use of stucco is widespread, it has performed poorly in recent years due to the improper execution of key details. This paper examines what has been learned from extensive on-site inspections and lab tests of both durable and failed stucco systems. (PDF)

Overview of Combustion Safety Test
Alaska Cold Climate Housing Research Center online video helps homeowners understand the importance of combustion safety testing.

Avoiding Failures with Manufactured Stone
Journal of Light Construction says manufactured stone claddings capture and hold on to water, so it's not surprising they can lead to problems.

Foam Insulation, Payback, Global Warming
Energy Vanguard says when we look just at energy savings and global warming impact, XPS and ccSPF aren't as bad as it first seemed.

The Next Big Thing: Healthy Homes
Builder magazine says buyers are demanding, and paying more for, homes that don't make them sick.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Vancouver Passive House Project Shows Energy-Efficient Future
Journal of Commerce says a new low-carbon, ultra-energy efficient building called The Heights is under construction in Vancouver. The six-storey, 85-unit market-rental apartment aims to be Canada's largest building certified to the internationally recognized passive house standard.

Is Carbon the Culprit?
Builder Magazine discusses the role of data, facts, and meaning of words in explaining phenomena like sea levels surging.

Tips for Getting Home Buyers to Go Green
Builder Magazine says KTGY has discovered that proof of cost savings is how to get buyers to buy into green.

Using Blower Doors to Test Energy Retrofits
Journal of Light Construction describes how to use the blower door to guide and verify home-performance airtightness and insulation retrofits on old, leaky, poorly insulated existing homes.

Best Cost-Effective Path to Net-Zero Energy
Green Building Advisor offers input to an owner-builder that is looking for the most cost-effective way to build a net-zero house in Washington State.

Webinar on Air Sealing Best Multi-Family Area Separation Walls
Building America webinar Air Sealing Best Practices and Code Compliance for Multi-Family Area Separation Walls will be presented on December 15. It will provide an overview of area separation wall assembly construction in multi-family buildings, air sealing methods, and code compliance requirements.

BC Energy Connections 2017 Conference
BC Sustainable Energy Association conference Energy Connections 2017 will be held in Vancouver on March 4th. It will bring together citizens, small and medium businesses and government agencies to discuss the latest innovations in clean energy generation, conservation and efficiency.

Social Mobilization, How to Encourage Action on Climate Change
Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions online report Social Mobilization: How to Encourage Action on Climate Change explains the psychology of individual energy efficiency actions, and how large scale behavior change programs can use this research to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (PDF)

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Recall of Kidde Nighthawk Combination Smoke & CO Alarms
Health Canada says Kidde is recalling Nighthawk Combination Smoke/CO detectors, 1.5 million of which were sold in Canada. The recall indicates that the alarm can fail to chirp when it reaches its seven-year end-of-life if the batteries are replaced, leading consumers to believe it is still working.

7 Cool & Unusual Tools from 2016 STAFDA Show
Tools of the Trade describes seven of the more interesting and unusual tools from the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distribution Association convention.

Top 10 Tile Trends For 2017
Building Design & Construction Design says styles such as bits & pieces, gritty chic, and metallics are among the ten tile trends to watch as we enter 2017.

Top 10 Smart Home Technologies for Mature Homeowners
Hartford says smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, wireless doorbell cameras, and keyless entry are among the top 10 smart home technologies for homeowners age 50 and older.

How Mixed Reality May Change Construction Work
Engineering News Record says hologram headsets put 3D models front and center.

Case for Solar-Ready Rooftops
Read Jones Christofferson discusses the case for solar-ready rooftops in designing to accommodate a burgeoning renewable resource.

ROI for Snow Melt Systems
Plumbing and Mechanical describes things to consider when calculating return on investment for snow melt systems.

Plastic Pressure Pipe Design Calculator
Plastics Pipe Institute online calculator helps you select plastic pipes based on Pressure/Head Loss, Hydraulic Shock, Pipe Weight/Volume, Thermal Expansion, and Expansion Arm/Loop.

9. Installation Procedures

Flashing at Siding Transitions
Journal of Light Construction says when a drip-cap profile is used, it is often assumed to be enough by itself, perhaps just with a coat of paint. But it is vitally important to protect this trim with metal flashing, as well, otherwise the horizontal surface is prone to hold water and can rot out quickly.

Adding Head Flashing
Fine Homebuilding says you won’t necessarily find head flashing on windows and doors that have integral flanges because some manufacturers call for it and some don’t. You can’t go wrong by adding head flashing, however.

Flashing Recessed Windows
Journal of Light Construction describes how to avoid costly mistakes when waterproofing complex window openings.

Air Sealing Duct & Flue Shafts
Building America Solution Center describes how to air seal around duct shafts and flues installed through ceilings, walls, and flooring to keep conditioned air from leaking into unconditioned space.

Water Heater Maintenance
Plumbing & Hydronic Contractor News says draining a water heater is essential to prolonging its life and efficiency. They describe the draining process and how you can use it to explain to homeowners the importance of water heater maintenance.

Wiring A Three-Way Switch
Journal of Light Construction describes how to wire a three-way switch.

Strong Floating Shelves
Fine Homebuilding says to make a floating shelf, the best way is to start from the framing.

10. Information Sources

Free Blog on Building Science
RDH Building Science publishes a free blog covering various topics on building science and sustainability.

Canadian Housing Market Indicators
CMHC online tables of timeline data (1990 - 2015) for Canada, the provinces and CMAs provides annual data on construction, available supply, housing costs and demand influences.

Wiring Video Tips
These five videos from the Fine Homebuilding archives can help you to save time and to work safely on your next electrical project.

Asbestos Awareness Resources for BC Homeowners
WorkSafe BC says if you're planning to demo or reno a home built before 1990, you need to take asbestos seriously. Found in more than 3,000 pre-1990s building materials, asbestos can be hiding in plain sight. Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause serious health problems, lung diseases, and cancer. So before work starts, identify any asbestos in your home and get it properly removed to ensure the health and safety of everyone working on your project.

Purchasable Mid-Rise Wood Frame Construction Handbook
FP Innovations sells the Mid-Rise Wood Frame Construction Handbook that consists of ten multi-disciplinary chapters, which have been prepared to facilitate the design and construction of mid-rise wood-frame construction (5- and 6-storey). It provides practical solutions by making use of the most recently developed technical and research information to assist designers, architects, and engineers. $150 CDN

Energy Efficient Windows & Glazing
Whole Building Design Guide resource page covers basic concepts for specifying window and glazing systems, particularly energy-efficient windows.

Seniors & Senior-Led Households Data for Canada
CMHC provides data files on Seniors & Senior-Led Households Data for Canada that include definitions of population and household data, profiles of all ages and the senior population (aged 65+), profile of all ages and senior-led households (Primary Maintainer aged 65+), and metropolitan areas and census agglomerations using data from the 2011 National Household Survey.

Housing in Canada & Imaginary City
CMHC CEO Evan Siddall spoke at a luncheon last week in Vancouver on the housing market in Canada. Here is his presentation from Housing in Canada and the Imaginary City: Addressing Vulnerabilities, Data Gaps and Affordability.

11. Conferences & Shows

Concrete & Masonry Industry Trade Show
World of Concrete, the annual international event dedicated to concrete and masonry construction industries, will be held in Las Vegas, January 17-20. It features indoor and outdoor exhibits with suppliers showcasing innovative products and technologies, demonstrations and competitions, and many education programs.

BC Building Industry Trade Show
Buildex, the BC design, real estate, and construction show, will be held February 15-16 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. It features products, services, information, and education related to the management, design and renovation of commercial buildings, single family, multi-family, condominium, and community developments.

BC Log & Timber Building Industry Conference
BC Log & Timber Building Association annual Conference and AGM is being held February 23-25 in Chase BC.

2017 BC Wood Design & Construction Solutions Conference
The 2017 Wood Design & Construction Solutions Conference, held in Vancouver on February 29 & March 1, will showcase wood uses in commercial, institutional, industrial and multi-unit residential construction. It features seminar streams and an interactive trade show.

12. Education & Training

Construction Industry Ethics
Vancouver Regional Construction Association course Construction Industry Ethics (Gold Seal Certified) will be held in Vancouver on January 11th. This course will help you navigate the ethical grey areas you face every day.

Fall Protection
ICBA course on Fall Protection will be held in Burnaby on January 20th. This is a 4 hour course that introduces workers to Fall Protection methods.

Building Industry Outlook Forum & Education Seminars In Nanaimo
Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Central Vancouver Island presents their 2017 Building Industry Construction Forum in Nanaimo on January 12th. Participants will qualify for 9 CPD points with all-day registration and attendance. Presentations include building code changes, warranty issues, strategic planning, hazmat removal, energy-efficiency, and the CMHC Housing Outlook for Vancouver Island.

2017 BC Window Technical Conference
The 2017 FENBC Technical Conference will be held in Surrey on February 21. Topics covered will include: Coming BC Stretch Codes & Step Codes; Innovative Clean Energy Research Funds Update; Passive House and the 6 Storey MURBs; Path to Net Zero Buildings in BC; When Triple Pane Windows Actually save Buildings Money; New Market Ready Glass Products; Window Installation in Energy Efficient Commercial and Residential Buildings.

CPD Courses for BC Building Industry
Building It Right provides details on their various CPD courses held around the province for the BC building industry.

BCIT High Performance Building Lab Available for Training
BCIT High Performance Building Lab has been developed in partnership with BC Housing in order to provide hands-on training in high-efficiency building envelopes. It is available to rent for training sessions, and has display cut-away assemblies, practice walls, an air tight house and a lecture area.

Apprentice Job Match Tool for Job-Seeking Apprentices
Industry Training Authority BC and WorkBC online Apprentice Job Match tool connects BC apprentices looking for on-the-job training they need to boost their skills and achieve certification in their chosen trade.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

25 Google Calendar Hacks to Save You Time
Get VoIP describes 25 powerful Google Calendar hacks to help you do everything from customizing views to enabling text notifications.

How to Work With Windows 10 Maps Offline
Dave Taylor describes how to work with Windows 10 Maps offline.

2016 Construction Holiday Gift Guide
If you’ve been putting off your holiday shopping this year, there's no need to panic. Read on, and you’re bound to find the perfect gift for the construction professional or worker on your list.

Dittie For Today: On Courage:

Something happens to me when I witness someone's courage. They may not know I'm watching and I might not let them know. But something happens to me that will last me for a lifetime; to fill me when I'm empty, and rock me when I'm low. - Holly Near

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© Copyright 2016              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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