Alert Notice #140
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
January 10, 2017


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 Mark Sakai, Pat O'Toole, Sabine Just, Bob Joseph, Joey Fearn, Ron Zimmer, Denisa Ionescu, Lee Whitehead, Brian Hart, Tim Johnson, Glenn Duxbury, Ryan Coleman, Mark Will, George Pinch, Amy Lara, and Julie Marzon 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

R22 Effective Walls In Wood-Frame Construction In BC
BC Housing has updated their online Illustrated Guide To R22+ Effective Walls in Wood-Frame Construction in BC. It was developed to assist home designers and builders build walls of low-rise wood-frame residential buildings with R22 or greater thermal performance. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

10 Economic Issues Affecting BC in 2017
Business Council of BC describes ten economic issues that will affect British Columbia in 2017.

BC State Of the Market Report Q3-2016
UDI/Urban Analytics State of the Market Report for Q3 2016 has been released with plenty of stats and graphs showing price escalations, supply contraction, and differences in market sectors (building types and regional sub-markets). (PDF)

New BC Program For First-Time Homebuyers
BC Government says starting in January 2017, the new BC HOME Partnership program will help first-time buyers with a down payment loan of up to 5% of the purchase price of a home.

Top 10 Home Improvements & Renovations in Canada for 2016
TrustedPros has compiled data from over 2 million users to create a list of top ten home improvement projects per province, and average budgets for popular projects as well.

Vancouver Holds Top Spot in Economic Growth This Year & Next
Conference Board of Canada says Vancouver will be the fastest growing metropolitan economy in the country this year and next.

BC Economic Forecast
Central 1 Credit Union Economic Forecast says the BC economy will continue to show regional divisions, as Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will lead, while other regions grow slowly. (PDF)

Mortgage Rate Forecast
BC Real Estate Association online Mortgage Rate Forecast of December 2016 says the change in qualification rules for homebuyers means that the posted 5-year rate has become much more binding and will now have a more immediate and impactful effect on mortgage demand than in the past. Additionally, less publicized changes such as eliminating the availability of insurance on mortgages with greater than 25-year amortizations or potential default insurance risk sharing, are putting upward pressure on rates offered by lenders. (PDF)

Quarterly Canadian Resale Housing Forecast
Canadian Real Estate Association forecast for home sales says activity in British Columbia is showing signs of returning to, and stabilizing at, more normal levels, while Ontario sales continue to set new records despite an unprecedented supply shortage in the Greater Toronto Area and throughout the surrounding region.

2. Business Management

The Elephant in the Room 2.0
Builder Magazine says disruption is on the way and current owners and leaders of both home building companies and manufactured/modular home companies will either be driving the disruption or will succumb eventually to it.

The Problem with Rewarding Individual Performers
Harvard Business Review says to cultivate a strong group identity, leaders can ensure the group satisfies the basic psychological needs of individual members, generates super-ordinate goals, rewards individual contributions to the group, and values dissent.

Has BIM's Tipping-Point Moment Come?
Builder Magazine says awareness of building information modeling is up. What'll it take for builders to shift from knowing about it to doing it?

Do Your Clients a Favor & Charge Them More
Fine Homebuilding says selling value over price is a technique that will ensure your company's focus remains on delivering the best customer experience.

Key Trends in 2017 US Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report
Remodeling magazine 2017 Cost vs. Value Report describes how much it really costs for a professional to do a typical remodeling project, as well as how much a real estate pro believes that project will increase a home’s value if it’s sold within a year of when the work was completed.

What You Need to Know About Small Business Tax Deduction
Canada Revenue Agency says if you run a small business in Canada you may be eligible for the small business deduction.

2017 Business Barometer For Small Businesses
Canadian Federation of Independent Business says 2016 is ending on a more optimistic note for small business owners. Their Business Barometer climbed to 60.7 in December. It is only a 1.3-point gain from November, and not stellar by historical norms, but the latest result is the best reading they've seen since March 2015.

White House Urges Deregulation To Boost Housing Supply
Fraser Institute says housing availability and affordability isn’t just an issue in Canada. It’s also a concern in the United States, where the White House recently released a so-called Housing Development Toolkit aimed at informing municipalities on how to increase housing affordability. Remarkably, five of the 10 recommendations are deregulatory in nature, and are aimed at boosting the housing supply rather than curtailing demand. Canadian policymakers could learn from this hands-off approach to encouraging a healthy housing supply.

3. Building Design & Trends

Millennials Acting A Lot Like Their Parents
Pulte Homes report says contrary to much of what has been written, older millennials’ views on homeownerships and their purchasing intentions are similar to previous generations. In fact, in many ways they are acting a lot like their parents, but they are just doing it a bit later in life.

The Death of Demographics?
Builder Magazine discusses what generational labels have to do with home purchase behavior, or not.

10 Biggest Architecture Trends of 2016
de zeen describes their choice for 10 architecture trends that defined 2016, from the resurgence of minimalism to the next generation of prefabs and the advent of co-living.

Home Design Trends Survey Results
American Institute of Architects describes highlights from their recent Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2016. (PDF)

Zillow's Top Design Trend Predictions for 2017
Builder Magazine says the latest Zillow Digs Home Trend Forecast predicts velvet, jewel tones, white marble and built-in bars will top buyers' list of must-have home features.

Designing Outdoor Kitchens
Custom Home Magazine says the grill is the main ingredient, but there’s a lot more to a successful recipe for designing outdoor kitchens.

Trend Toward Outdoor Living
A Qualified Remodeler survey identifies US regional similarities and differences for homeowner motivation, project type and outdoor features.

How to Use 2017 Colors of the Year in Your Next Remodel
Remodeling magazine says each year, paint and color companies name a color of the year that they feel will represent that year. Some independent color consultants and color experts at paint companies offer some tips to help you start off on the right foot in 2017.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Daniel Denk, President of Janda Busse Treatment Systems says: “Really interesting newsletter! I know quite a few people that would be interested in it and will pass on the link.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

New BC Energy Step Code
BC Building and Safety Standards Branch provides information and resources on the proposed Step Code that provides a consistent provincial standard for energy efficiency to replace the wide range of existing policies and programs developed by local governments.

Opportunities With New Energy Step Code for BC
Ecolighten Energy Solutions provides their view of how the BC Energy Step Code represents a new innovative pathway to support the design and construction of higher performing buildings in the Province.

BC Step Code Out-of-Step with Public
Victoria Residential Builders Association says the BC government proposed Step Code is a classic case of diminishing returns, offering little impact on GHG’s, and only serving to eliminate families from the housing market.

New BC Wood Burning Regulations
Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada summarizes the BC Ministry of Environment’s new solid fuel burning domestic appliance regulation.

Understanding Electrical Rule 26-400 for Secondary Suites
BC Safety Authority article provides code, handbook and information bulletin references to clarify common questions around electrical panels in secondary suites.

NAFS 2017 Open for Public Review
RDH Building Science says the North American Fenestration Standard, jointly published by CSA in Canada, and AAMA and WDMA in the United States, is open for public review of the latest edition.

Engineered Wood Floor Systems for Canada
Engineered Wood Association bulletin Engineered Wood Floor Systems for Canada provides specification recommendations for plywood and OSB floor systems, the APA Glued Floor System, and installation recommendations for panel subflooring and underlayment. Free site registration required.

US Model Mechanical Code May Limit Flex Duct
Energy Vanguard says some professionals in the industry are pushing for limits on the use of flex duct. International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) use the Uniform Mechanical Code for heating, cooling, ventilating, and refrigeration systems. Among the changes recommended for the 2018 UMC is this: 603.4.1 Length Limitation. Factory-made flexible air ducts and connectors shall be not more than 5 feet (1524 mm) in length and shall not be used in lieu of rigid elbows or fittings.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Altered States & Walls As Environmental Separators
Building Science describes how walls are, at a basic level, an environmental separator. It keeps the outside out and the inside in. Easy to say, not always easy to do.

Structural Insulated Panels & Affordable Housing
CMHC says structural insulated panels (SIPs) offer a construction system that can reduce both the construction cost and the operating cost of affordable housing, while maintaining a high degree of occupant comfort. (PDF)

Solve Puzzle Of Mold in Certain Closets
Green Building Advisor invites you to join in solving this puzzle about a homeowner with mold problems.

5 Examples of Thermal Imaging Detecting Problems
Journal of Light Construction describes five situations where the infrared camera supplied an essential clue to a home performance mystery.

Automation in the Home
CMHC says home automation systems use smart technologies to fully network a home’s electrical appliances, systems and amenities, allowing residents to automatically operate and monitor their entire home with a smart phone or computer connected to the Internet. Information can be received ranging from the temperature of the house to whether or not there is enough milk in the fridge. (PDF)

Tankless Gas & Electric Water Heaters
Plumbing & Hydronic Contractor describes the pros, cons and cost analyses of gas and electric tankless water heaters.

Two-Pipe Fan Coil Systems
CMHC says affordable housing projects require heating and cooling systems that are reliable, easy to maintain and service, economically feasible and efficient. Two-pipe fan coils are a proven technology that offers a good choice for affordable energy-efficient design. (PDF)

Temporary Expansion Joints for Large Buildings
Engineered Wood Association technical note Temporary Expansion Joints for Large Buildings describes how builders can eliminate displacement from the equation during construction by using temporary expansion joints for buildings that have a length or width exceeding 80 feet. This should be done in addition to providing 1/8-inch spacing at all panel ends and edges. Free site registration required.

6. Building Performance Issues

Common Deck Stair Defects
Professional Deck Builder magazine says to build deck stairs according to best practices rather than code to protect your customers and avoid liability.

How Drain Traps Fail
Journal of Light Construction says without venting, pressure imbalances cause drain traps to fail.

Why There Is Frost in Attics
Ecohome says frost forms in attics when warm, humid air accumulates and condenses on the underside of roof sheathing. Depending on the temperature, you will have either frost or water collecting. A little bit of frost forming is not unusual after really low nighttime temperatures, and it isn't a huge problem if it is able to melt and evaporate so that wood can dry.

High Performance Vented Attics With Buried Ducts
Insulation Institute says the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code laid out a prescriptive path for the use of buried ducts with fibrous insulation in vented attics, for all climate zones. This new path was approved because it will allow builders to get much of the energy efficiency benefits of an unvented attic with closed cell spray foam by instead doing a traditional vented attic with the ducts buried in fibrous insulation.

Fiberglass Wood-Replacement Gutters
Journal of Light Construction says at the top-end, wood gutters are viewed as a first-class choice. But on the performance scale, particularly in cold climates, they fall to the bottom as fiberglass visually replaces wood while vastly outperforming it.

Radon Awareness in Canada
Statistics Canada summarizes the degree of radon awareness in Canada.

How to Build a Healthy Home, Extreme Dream Edition
TreeHugger magazine says if a client came with a request to do the healthiest house possible, a new build on an open site in a temperate to cool climate, this is what might be proposed these days.

Energy & Water Efficiency For Multi-Unit Buildings
CMHC provides information on energy and water efficiency for multi-unit buildings including heating & ventilation, lighting, building envelope, DHW, renewable energy, electrical and water conservation.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

BC Net Metering Program For Solar Energy
FortisBC Net Metering Program is a clean energy initiative that allows residential and commercial customers to offset part or all of their personal electricity use by using solar panel technology to generate their own clean energy.

Wind & Solar Power Makes Sense In Far-Flung Places
Fraser Institute says there’s a place for wind and solar power, and that’s in sunny, windy and remote locations that don’t currently have (or have insufficient) conventional power, are far from high-powered urban generating stations, and may not have enough demand for building a conventional power plant.

BC Regional Climate Change Adaptation Collaborative Program
Fraser Basin Council describes the BC Regional Adaptation Collaborative program, which is one of a number of similar collaborations across the country within Natural Resource Canada’s national program. BC RAC aims to strengthen regional capacity and increase action to advance climate change adaptation planning and implementation in local governments, First Nations governments, and the natural resource sector.

Canadian Built Green Renovation Program
Built Green Canada updated Renovation Program covers three renovation types: Whole House (75% or more); Renovation (40 – 70%) as well as a secondary suite; Small Home Improvements (less than 40% and/or bathroom, or kitchen, or basement). Each takes a holistic approach to sustainable building within the seven categories of energy efficiency, materials & methods, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water conservation, and business practices.

Marketing Tips for Green Remodelers
Qualified Remodeler says marketing your remodeling business as a green operation is a pretty savvy business move. Interest in green products and services has grown over the past decade, particularly for millennials, who are just starting to enter the housing market.

Canadian Resource Site On Passive Homes
Passive Buildings Canada serves as a passive house information group that provides a network for the Canadian Passive House community to connect, share knowledge and experience, and empower the delivery of Passive House projects.

Vision for Renewable Electricity in Canada
Canadian Council on Renewable Energy report Canada's Advantage: A Vision for Renewable Electricity in Canada provides three key recommendations to harness the environmental and economic benefits of renewable electricity. (PDF)

Biofuels Turn Out To Be a Climate Mistake
Green Building Advisor says a detailed study shows that biofuels are not carbon-neutral, and in fact result in increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

13 Show-Stopping IBS & KBIS Debuts
Remodeling magazine says of you are headed to Design and Construction Week in January, don't miss these 13 new products.

Jobsite Hotbox Keeps Tools & Equipment Warm
Journal of Light Construction shows how an insulated hot box kept on site will help you keep materials, tools and equipment from freezing in winter weather.

CES 2017 Home Tech Trends to Watch
Curbed describes some technologies to expect at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in the world of home tech, from your bedroom to your living room to your garage.

5 Smart Home Technologies Improving Senior Care
BizTech says a pilot program at Masonic Homes of California tests how sensors, mobile devices and software can impact the quality of care for seniors.

What Smart Homes Will & Won't Do In 2017
Fast Company says virtual assistants and other tech will make life easier and entertain us more than ever.

Smart Automation Enables Home Energy Management
MaRS Market Intelligence report The Connected Home: Smart Automation Enables Home Energy Management, summarizes interviews with seven early-stage Canadian companies that are helping shape the connected home and HEM landscape. Their profiles highlight the companies' approaches to the market as well as their products. (PDF)

Five Housing Trends Shaping 2017 Window Design
Custom Home Magazine describes five consumer trends that will impact this year’s most in-demand window products.

Canadian Firm Ventgrid Develops New Rainscreen Product
Green Building Advisor says Canadian-made Ventgrid can be used to provide an air space behind siding, under roofing, and between a concrete slab and flooring.

9. Installation Procedures

Naikoon Redefines Building On the Edge
Canadian Contractor says Vancouver builder Naikoon Contracting proves there’s no such thing as site problems, just creative solutions.

Cutting Crown Molding Upside Down & Backward
Fine Homebuilding online video explains why cutting crown molding upside down and backward is the only way to go. It shows how and why this makes sense, as well as the jigs and tips that make it foolproof.

Upgrading a Crawl Space
Green Building Advisor discusses how to upgrade and heat a crawl space while addressing risks from radon.

Marrying Old & New Floors for Tile
Journal of Light Construction describes how to install uninterrupted tile throughout two rooms with types of floors, without putting down a mud layer.

How to Insulate a High-Performance Country Cottage
EcoBuilding Pulse Magazine describes how an ultra airtight home constructed with superior insulation, moisture resistance, and 12-inch-thick foundation will keep its residents comfortable even during US Northeastern winters for pennies a day.

Blower-Door-Assisted Air Sealing
Fine Homebuilding describes how a blower door can be used to assist you in air sealing a home.

Retrofitting An HVAC System
Green Building Advisor describes how to design, zone, and replace an outdated, oversized heating and cooling system.

Residential Fire Sprinkler Installers
Plumbing & Hydronic Contractor discusses who should install the fire sprinkler, and what type of training should they have.

10. Information Sources

Sources Of Information On Landscaping Design Trends
American Society of Landscape Architects lists websites, publications, and other sources of information on landscape design trends.

Overview of Laneway Homes
CMHC describes a laneway home as a detached secondary dwelling typically located at the rear of a property and facing a back lane or side street. Most are custom-designed and constructed on site but they can also be assembled from modular components or be entirely prefabricated.

Videos & Information On Painting Techniques & Tips
Fine Homebuilding online videos articles provide information and tips on painting techniques and resources.

LED Selection Tips For Remodelers
Remodeling magazine says LED ultra-efficient bulbs are the future of lighting, and remodelers have a learning curve to ensure they use the right bulb in the right place.

Wood Structural Panel Identification
Engineered Wood Association technical bulletin Wood Structural Panel Identification answers commonly asked questions about identification marks found on structural wood panels. Free site registration required.

Plumbing, HVAC, Refrigeration Career Connections Website
HRAI online Employment Opportunities Centre is a national employment resource for job seekers and employers in all parts of the plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industry.

Chic Wallpapers to Enrich Any Room
Remodeling magazines describes some textured and patterned wallpapers that add an eye-catching design element to a room without overpowering the space.

Income-Mix Models That Better Support Viability of Affordable Housing
CMHC report Assessment of Income-mix Models that Better Support the Viability of Affordable Housing summarizes Income-mix housing models found in the U.S., the U.K., New Zealand, Australia and Canada. It shares the key findings and implications for the housing industry, and project profiles for affordable housing.

11. Conferences & Shows

BC Home & Garden Show
BC Home & Garden show takes place at the BC Place stadium, February 22-26. Top celebrity experts and over 425 exhibitors will display the latest in new products for the home.

Indoor Environment & Energy Expo
Air Conditioning Contractors of America IE3 Expo will be held in Nashville, March 20-22. It offers four programs: Residential Contracting Excellence; Commercial Contracting Roundtable; Plumbing & Hydronics Roundtable; Building Performance Forum.

2017 Canadian Radon Conference
Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists 2017 Conference will be held in Banff, April 23-25. It will focus on practical strategies which will move your organization to the forefront as public awareness of radiation due to radon moves into the mainstream.

Intelligent Buildings & Digital Home Forum
Continental Automated Buildings Association next Intelligent Buildings & Digital Home Forum will be held in Santa Clara, April 26-28. It brings together organizations involved in the integration of intelligent building systems and connected home technologies.

2017 Canadian Home Builders National Conference
Canadian Home Builders Association annual national conference will be held in St Johns, May 10-12. It includes a number of speakers and sessions on business and industry issues, awards presentations, product displays, and social and networking events.

BC Water & Waste Conference & Trade Show
BC Water & Waste Association annual conference & trade show, held in Victoria May 28-30, features a trade show, technical and operator sessions, and networking opportunities.

12. Education & Training

Three Upcoming Seminars/Webinars for BC Building Industry
BC Housing has three upcoming seminars/webinars for the BC Building industry. Building Smart with Air and Vapour Barriers will be on January 24th. Building Smart with Safe and Durable Wall Assemblies will be on February 4th. Building Smart with Radon Mitigation will be on March 8th.

Impact of Fenestration on Building Envelope
CHBA Webinar Impact of Fenestration on the Building Envelope will be presented on January 18th. It will show you how selecting the right glass package can influence your cooling loads, how the window-to-wall ratio impacts the overall effective R value of your wall, and how putting in better windows reduces initial costs and operational costs.

Characteristics & Aesthetics of Charred Wood as Cladding Material
BC Building Envelope Council luncheon seminar Shou Sugi Ban, Exploring the Characteristics and Aesthetics of Charred Wood as a Cladding Material, will be presented in Vancouver on January 19th. It will provide an overview on the use of Shou Sugi Ban, recent research, and the benefits and drawbacks of this alluring product. Shou Sugi Ban is the technique of fire treating wood cladding and it is receiving growing attention as a means of adding a unique visual design to a building facade.

Construction Business Management
ICBA course Construction Business Management will be presented January 26-27, in Langley. Participants will learn how to improve the management and business systems of a construction company. Topics covered include: Strategic Planning; Preparing a Business Plan; Marketing; Human Resources; Operational Planning; Financial Controls and more.

Course On Builders Lien
APEGBC course Builders Lien will be presented in Vancouver on January 30th. It will offer a concise, up to date overview of builders' liens, including a discussion on the obligations on design consultants with respect to payment certification and release of holdbacks, and practical tips to manage the risks.

Training Session On Nudura ICF, Insul-Deck, Slabs, Footings
Vancouver ICF is offering a hands-on training seminar on Nudura walls, Insul-Deck suspended slabs, window bucks and footing formwork. This one day seminar, held in Abbotsford on February 2nd, targets builders, home owners and engineers wanting to build and design with ICFs. This course offers points for Continuing Professional Development.

Construction 101
VRCA course Construction 101 will be presented in Vancouver, February 2-3. It is intended for both new and experienced members of the construction industry. Participants will receive an introduction to the industry and learn about roles, responsibilities, construction documents, risk management, legal matters, project management, tendering, bidding and contracts.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

How to Find Hidden & Saved Passwords in Windows
Online Tech describes several tools you can use to view hidden passwords on your system.

Six Killer Apps for Contractors
Replacement Contractor magazine describes some apps for smarter tracking, presenting and estimating.

Online Database of Vintage Electronics Games
Electronic Plastic online database of vintage electronics games allows you to quickly glance through decades of electronic plastic games and electronics from 1976 through 1990, broken down by categories like battery (LR44, AA, even solar), size, color, year, and form factor (handheld, tabletop, and even watch games!).

Dittie For Today: On Value

You don't get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour. - Jim Rohn

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