Alert Notice #19
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 June 2, 2009


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. Building Products & Suppliers
8. Installation Procedures
9. Information Sources
10. Conferences & Shows
11. Education & Training
12. Computer, Internet & Fun
13. Industry Survey

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In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure, I must tell you that I was going to write my editorial (otherwise known as Ken's babble) on the topic of being too busy...but I am too busy to write it. Now, within the spirit of choosing important priorities in life, I'm off to spend my weekly afternoon with my granddaughter. Hope you understand.

My thanks to Tina Krapic, Herman Rebneris, Wilma Leung, Juvarya Wasi, Doug Harrison, Leigh Freeman, Karen Parusel, Barry Morton, Adam Killam, Rick Vlahos, Greg Stolz, John Chepil, and John Vukanovich for their comments, tips, and resources. I hope you find at least a wee bit of value in here somewhere.

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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    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    BC Housing Market Stabilizing
    British Columbia Real Estate Association 2009 Spring Housing Forecast reports that residential unit sales on the Multiple Listing Service in BC are forecast to decline 12 per cent this year, however home sales have climbed out of the trough recorded during the winter months. Their housing forecast offers economic and housing market projections for the coming year. (PDF)

    2009 & 2010 Canadian Housing Market Outlook Report
    CMHC 2009 second quarter Housing Market Outlook report says housing starts are expected to decline to 141,900 for 2009, but increase to 150,300 for 2010. (PDF)

    Canadian Housing Market Returns To Fundamentals
    TD Bank Financial Group report Overpriced & Overbuilt: Canadian Housing Market Returns To Fundamentals, provides an overview of the current Canadian housing market. It says looking back on the boom in Canadian homebuilding from 2002 to 2008, it is now clear that unsustainable price increases drove unsustainable levels of building, and this overbuilding will weigh on markets over at least the next three years. (PDF)

    Provincial Outlook Economic Forecast Of Spring 2009
    Conference Board Of Canada Provincial Outlook Spring 2009 says Alberta and British Columbia economies are suffering. The construction boom is a thing of the past in the two western-most provinces, and a recovery is not in the cards until next year. Free registration required.

    Real Estate Board 2008 Survey Of Lower Mainland Home Buyers & Sellers
    Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley Real Estate Board survey of 2008 residential home buyers and home sellers who bought or sold a property in the Lower Mainland in 2008 reveals insight into their demographic characteristics, motivation and overall experience. (PDF)

    Bottom Of Recession Has Been Reached, Psychologically
    Conference Board of Canada says it is now ready to contend that the bottom has been reached in the recession -- in terms of consumer psychology.

    Two Decades Of Policies In The BC Construction Industry
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association report examines how policy decisions over the past 20 years have impacted the Lower Mainland construction industry. A Tale of Two Decades shows that the industry has benefited from low personal and business taxes, reduced red tape, innovative business models, and an environment that encourages private and public-sector investment in the industry. (PDF)

    Affluent Boomers The Sweet Spot in 50+ Housing Market
    US National Association of Home Builders symposium Boomers & Beyond 50+ Housing heard there is a fast-emerging “sweet spot” in the market for those who focus on the most affluent members of the baby boom generation.

    Remodeling Market In Transition
    Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies report on Remodeling Market In Transition includes introduction & summary, navigating industry cycles, emerging industry structure, changing geography of improvement spending, and growth markets for remodeling.

    2. Business Management

    Home Staging On A Budget
    Professional Builder magazine describes how home staging goes way beyond decorating; it is about creating a mood in the home. Experts suggest how to create that lived-in look with a skimpy budget.

    Business Plan For Small Construction Firm
    US Small Business Administration online Business Plan For Small Construction Firm is designed to help an owner/manager of a small construction company pull together the resources to develop a business plan. (PDF)

    12 Things Custom Builders Would Do Differently
    Custom Builder magazine summarizes what 12 custom builders would change if they were launching their business today.

    Builder Perspective On How to Survive Till Next Week
    US National Association of Home Builders article by a builder says when you’re in survival mode, you have to make hard decisions. It offers tips on what to do during a downturn when cash is low and credit is hard to come by, and how to decide who to pay and how much to pay them.

    Online Pay-Per-Click Marketing For Home Builders
    Builder Magazine says most small business owners have never used the powerful tool of pay-per-click internet advertising to connect with prospective customers and drive traffic to their Web sites, and offers some tips for even the smallest builder.

    Marketing For Renovators In A Down Economy
    Journal Light Construction remodeler Robert Criner relies on a detailed marketing plan and motivated employees to keep his company going strong in a soft market. He discusses his approach in four online video interviews.

    Online Calculators For Home Construction
    Construction Resource has online calculators for foundation, wall framing, crown molding, roof area, board footage, roof framing, paint coverage, circular slab, and square construction.

    Resource Site On Administrative Law In British Columbia
    Admin Law BC has an online guide to administrative law in British Columbia, educational videos, a Directory of Tribunals, self-help resources, and a list of speakers available.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    Planner Discusses How To Build Community
    James Hardie online video shows new urbanist Demetri Baches of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company describing how to successfully build communities, with insights into how neighbourhoods work—and how community is created.

    Fused Grid Model For Neighbourhood & District Layout
    CMHC describes the Fused Grid that fuses the two traditional designs of conventional loop & cul-de-sac pattern of modern suburb and traditional grid pattern circa 1900. It creates a people-friendly plan that combines open green spaces with tranquil homes, safe and sociable streets, and easy connectivity to schools, recreation facilities and retail and work places.

    Complexity Of Engineering Services For Mid-Rise Wood Buildings
    Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC bulletin Structural, Fire Protection and Building Envelope Professional Engineering Services for 5 and 6 Storey Wood Frame Residential Building Projects (Mid-Rise Buildings) provides detailed information on the increased level of complexity involved in engineering considerations which need to be addressed in going from 4 storey to mid-rise building projects. (PDF)

    2009 Kitchen & Bath Watermark Award Winners
    Builder Magazine features pictures and descriptions of the 2009 Watermark Award winners for the best in kitchen and bath design.

    Boomers Prefer To Age In Place, But More Moving To Age-Restricted Communities
    US National Association of Home Builders and the MetLife Mature Market Institute study shows most Baby Boomers, like their parents, are choosing to age in place, but a large and growing number – more than 1.2 million households – are choosing to move to communities designed to meet their needs.

    Planning For Aging-in-Place Remodeling On The Rise
    National Association of Home Builders says according to recent data gathered, more remodeling clients are planning ahead and opting to alter their homes for aging-in-place.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Amy Spencer-Chubey, Director of Government Relations, Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association says: "Amazing stuff Ken, always enjoy reading your alerts. Thanks".

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    Archive Of BC Code Interpretations
    The Interpretations Committee helps gain consistency in the application of our codes. The Building Officials Association of BC site lists the interpretations they have made on the latest version of the BC Building Code.

    Plan Review For BC Mid Rise Combustible Residential Buildings
    Building Officials Association of BC slide show presentation on 4, 5 & 6 Storey Combustible Residential Plan Review was presented by Daryl Birtch at the BOABC Nelson Conference in May 2009. (PDF)

    Common Questions On New BC Energy Regulations For Gas Furnaces
    BC Ministry of Energy enforcement bulletin of April 2009 provides answers to common questions about new Energy Efficiency Act regulations for gas furnaces. (PDF)

    2009 Changes To BC Safety Standards Act
    BC Safety Authority describes changes to regulations under the Safety Standards Act resulting from the implementation of labour mobility agreements with Alberta and the other provinces and territories. It outlines changes to the Safety Standards General Regulation, Gas Safety Regulation, and Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation. (Word Document)

    Information On BC Municipal Licences & Permits
    BC BizPaL provides customized on-line information on government licences and permits to business clients. This service asks you to answer a short series of questions about the nature and scope of your current or proposed business. Based on your answers, you will be provided with a customized list of potential permits and licences from all levels of government that you may be required to have to operate your business.

    Vancouver Enabling Basements In Single Family Districts
    Vancouver City staff report Enabling Basements in Single Family Districts outlines ways to provide more options for rental secondary suites including enabling basements that can accommodate suites to be built as part of new house construction on all sizes of lots in single family zoning schedules. (PDF)

    Revised WorkSafe BC Occupational Exposure Limits Coming In 2009
    WorkSafe BC is requesting stakeholder feedback on the new or revised 2008 Occupational Exposure Limits for maximum allowed airborne concentration for a particular substance. Your feedback is invited up until September 15, 2009.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Information Sheets On Building Technology
    Building Science Corporation offers online information sheets on topics such as Foundations & Site Work, Framing, Water Management & Vapor Control, Air Barriers, Thermal Control, HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical, Designs That Work, and International Residential Code FAQs.

    Roofs Attics & Cathedrals
    Building Science Seminars online presentation by Dr. John Straube describes methods and options for proper design, installation and troubleshooting of roofs, attics, and cathedrals. (PDF)

    Practical Approaches To Residential Ventilation
    Building Science online slide show on Practical Approaches to Residential Ventilation for Improved Durability and Indoor Air Quality examines how to provide durability for little or no incremental cost.

    Lstiburek Podcast On Perfect Wall, Roof, Slab
    Green Building Advisor podcast series is excerpted from a two-day class called Building Science Fundamentals with Drs. Joe Lstiburek and John Straube of Building Science Corporation. This podcast features Dr. Joe talking about enclosure design principles of energy efficient buildings.

    Online Webcasts Of Canadian Building Science Insight Seminars
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction offers online Webcasts of some their previous Building Insight Seminars covering building science and technology. $125 fee for permanent access.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Prevent Water Intrusion In Brick Veneer
    Housing Giants magazine describes how home builders can prevent errors that lead to water intrusion in brick veneer applications.

    Solving IAQ Problems
    Building Science paper says whenever there is a complaint about air quality in a building the first thing folks want to do is test the air, which is absolutely the worst thing to do. Dr. Joe Lstiburek offers his recommendations for solving IAQ problems.

    EPA Indoor Air Plus Standard For IAQ In New Homes
    US Environmental Protection Agency offers their Indoor Air Plus standard for building industry members that includes specifications, verification checklist, and builder & consumer brochures.

    Thermal Performance Of ICF Walls In Multi Family
    CMHC research report on Monitored Thermal Performance of ICF Walls in Multi Unit Residential Buildings says insulating concrete forms used in MURBs provide respectable thermal resistance, minimized thermal bridging and airtight construction. The report provides quantitative performance monitoring data and analysis on ICF walls that highlight the benefits of this construction system. (PDF)

    Examples Of Failures In Air Barrier Applications
    Building Science Seminar presentation shows examples of failures in air barriers in some different types of buildings. (PDF)

    Fastener & Connector Guidance For Treated Wood
    Southern Pine Council bulletin provides basic guidance for selection of appropriate fasteners and connectors for treated wood, in order to prevent corrosion. (PDF)

    Canadian Research Into High Performance Stucco For Moisture Management
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction is proposing a new research project on High Performance Stucco for Optimum Moisture Management in Exterior Walls. Researchers will carry out numerical modelling to optimize the hygrothermal properties of the high performance stucco materials, develop the most suitable stucco mix design, and evaluate the long-term performance of the materials through laboratory and field studies.

    7. Building Products & Suppliers

    Insulation Products For Energy Efficient Construction
    EcoHome magazine article describes new residential insulation products that meet high-performance challenges of today’s building science details.

    Online Technical Guide For Lumber
    US Western Wood Products Association online Lumber Technical Guide offers 12 different sections filled with technical and application information that will allow you to specify the right Western lumber product. Some of the most popular sections include spans, patterns, design values, WWPA publications, design software, special products, and more. Free site registration required.

    Some Roof Products Experiencing Growth
    Qualified Remodeler article says most of the roofing category has flattened out recently, but certain product segments are remaining strong and manufacturers are continuing to roll out new and innovative products to meet an even increasing demand.

    Ask An Expert Service On Decorative Concrete
    Concrete Network site offers an online service where you can get answers to your questions on decorative concrete.

    Canadian Buyers Guide For Building Products
    Canadian Home Builders Association magazine offers online reference directory of manufacturers & suppliers to Canada's residential construction market. It includes categories such as Computers, Technology & Education, Electrical & Mechanical, Exteriors, Finishes & Surfaces, Kitchen & Bath, Landscape & Design, Specialty Products, Structural, Tools & Equipment, and Windows & Doors.

    BC Warning Against Radiant Ceiling Heating Panels
    BC Safety Authority is advising home and building owners who may be using certain types of radiant ceiling heating panels installed prior to 1995 to discontinue using these panels as they are unapproved for use in Canada. In 1993 and 1994, BC issued disconnect orders for Aztec-Flexel panels rated 22 watts per square foot, Thermaflex panels rated 22 watts per square foot, and Flexwatt panels rated 20 watts per panel section.

    Plumbing Products That Do Not Meet Applicable Standards
    Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating industry bulletin on distribution and installation of uncertified plumbing products describes how to identify uncertiifed products that are being inappropriately sold and installed in all jurisdictions of Canada. (PDF)

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    8. Installation Procedures

    Soundproofing Drainpipes
    Journal of Light Construction describes how to dampen the sound of a PVC waste pipe.

    Cloud-Free Way To Collect & Dispose Of Dust
    US National Association of Home Builders tip describes a system that empties the dust in a 33-gallon, heavy-duty plastic bag and doesn’t generate unwelcome clouds of dust.

    Tips For Installing Wood Siding
    Journal of Light Construction provides tips on wood-siding installation including nailing schedules, grading rules, and available profiles.

    Building Envelope Maintenance & Renewals Planning
    BC Homeowner Protection Office online Maintenance Matters #7 bulletin, titled Building Envelope Maintenance and Renewals Planning provides those who live in or look after a multi-unit residential building with an overview on how to be proactive in the maintenance and care of the building envelope. (PDF)

    Producing Decorative Shingling On Site From Fibre Cement Siding
    Journal of Light Construction article describes how decorative shingling with fiber cement pattern shingles can be efficiently produced on site from fiber-cement lap siding.

    9. Information Sources

    Jon Eakes Answers Your Questions On Tools
    Canadian Home Builder magazine online Tool Talk feature welcomes homebuilders, contractors and renovators to air beefs, test tools, share praise, win prizes and talk tools with TV home improvement expert Jon Eakes.

    Industry Magazine On Sweets News & Products
    McGraw-Hill print and online publication, SNAP (Sweets News and Products) contains over 500 products and builds off the Sweets product database. It presents focused, relevant and easy-to-review building product information, trends, and data to 65,000 architects and building designers. Regular features include product news and briefs, statistics, cost reports, profiles of leading architects and firms, and continuing education opportunities.

    Canadian Resource Site On Geothermal & Renewable Energy
    Dig The Heat is a Canadian online guide to renewable energy including geothermal heating and cooling systems, solar power, wind energy, biofuels, green investment and government incentives.

    Free eNewsletter For Plumbing & Heating Industry
    Canadian HPAC e-newsletter from Heating Plumbing & Air Conditioning magazine is a free source of industry information covering news, rebates & incentives, products, codes, statistics & trends, events, training & courses, and more.

    10. Conferences & Shows

    Hearth Patio & BBQ Summit In Ontario
    Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada presents Summit 2009 in Ontario, June 6-8, featuring a trade show, educational sessions, entertainment, and networking opportunities.

    Pacific Coast Builders Show In San Francisco
    Pacific Coast Builders Show held in San Francisco June 17 - 19 offers trade show, educational programs, pre-conference intensives, executive-level programs, and more.

    11. Education & Training

    Calendar Of BC Builder & Renovator Certification Courses
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC lists the various 2009 courses, available throughout BC, as part of their certification programs for builders and renovators.

    BC Safety Courses For Construction Industry
    BC Construction Safety Network offers industry-specific health and safety programs to help construction companies save money and lives. Programs and courses include Certificate of Recognition (COR) program, Construction Safety Specialist (CSS) designation, Construction Safety Training System, and the Construction Aggregate Safety Leader program.

    Course For Canadian Municipal Inspectors On GeoExchange Systems
    Canadian GeoExchange Coalition has released its first course specifically designed to help Municipal Inspectors and Building Officials understand and inspect GeoExchange or geothermal heat pump systems.

    Distance Education Program In Universal Remodeling
    National Association of the Remodeling Industry distance education course in Universal Remodeling is designed to teach remodelers how to interview clients with an understanding and consideration of their special needs, how to build these projects, and the seven principles of Universal Remodeling.

    12. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Portable Office Software For USB Drives Portable is a complete office suite -- including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing package and database -- packaged as a portable app, so you can take all your documents and everything you need to work with them wherever you go.

    Search Tools For Finding Videos Audio & Images On The Web
    Fumsi article describes some search engines and information sources that will enhance your ability to find videos, audio and images for competitive intelligence and general business applications.

    Think You've Had A Bad Monday?
    This short online video should make you feel a whole lot better if you think you've ever had a bad start to your week.

    13. Industry Survey

    Today's Survey:   

    News sources these days seem to be carrying more stories about signs of a bottoming-out or even a slight improvement in our recent recessionary period. Do you sense that we have seen the worst of this housing market downturn?

    Has the market downturn bottomed out?

    Yes, I think the worst of the downturn is behind us
    No, I sense we are still going to see tougher times ahead
    Actually, I/we seem to be as busy as ever

    Last Survey: Do the Canucks have any chance of going far in the playoffs?

    • 64% Said: Yes
    • 18% Said: No
    • 18% Said: Who cares

    Thanks for your participation

    Dittie For Today: On Attitude

    - Life isn't about waiting for the storm to's learning how to dance in the rain!

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    © Copyright 2009               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada