Alert Notice #2
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 February 13, 2008


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. Information Sources
10. Conferences & Shows
11. Education & Training
12. Computer, Internet & Fun
13. Industry Survey

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What We See...Just May Not Be!

Something tells me I'm not the only one that experiences this. Upon observing a person or group of people, in any situation or interaction, the mind jumps into assumption mode and creates an I-sure-can-see-what's-going-on-here scenario. Only problem is, it's not always (or even often) right. This was brought to light again for me recently, in a rather surprising and enjoyable way.

First, let's set the scene. It's Saturday night. A group of eight (seven of whom were somewhat weathered old rockers) enter a legendary Vancouver blues bar. They were all in great spirits, happily cajoling with each other, strutting their stuff as only old egos can. They were here to see Savoy Brown, and get down to tunes of this British blues/rock band that originated back in the 60's. As this aging entourage reached the ticket booth, their group's name was instantly recognized by the gracious host who motioned to a 300-pound bouncer and shouted "Please escort these people to the owner's reserved table." Off they sauntered, seven old rockers with chests somewhat a-puff at this very special treatment. Tagging along behind was the eighth group member, a young-un, without chest a-puff, who seemed just a wee bit out of place in this elderly posse.

Faces of these old rockers beamed with joy as they reached their VIP seating. What a treat! Comfortable arm-chairs, circled around two spacious tables, sitting high above the crowded house, with a perfect view of the stage and in ideal position for sound. Then, to top it all off, the waitress informed them that their first round of drinks were compliments of the Yale's owner. Wow, these ol' dudes must be something special to get this kind of treatment, right? And it was sure nice of them to bring along the young-un, allowing him to participate in their regal group, right? What we see...Just may not be!

As the band kicked into gear, and the crowd went wild, the seven oldies all glanced at each other knowingly and raised their glasses in unison. Then they turned to, and gratefully toasted, the real reason for their regal treatment...the young-un. Yep, it was the young-un who actually had pulled the strings. And he had done so in his own simple, natural, unassuming way. When his Dad (lucky ol' me) had informed him of this ancient rock n' roll band's gig at the Yale, he asked if he could come along. Then he called up his friend and former Scout leader, who also happens to be the bar owner, to see if he was going to be there on Saturday night. The rest is history.

The owner had made all of our VIP arrangements because this particular young-un holds a special place in his heart. And though some observers may have thought the old rockers had pull, it was the young-un who delivered the goods. Things are not always what they seem.

My thanks to Brian Hart, Mark Gauvin, Maaike Pen, Glenn Duxbury, Jennifer Shaw, Mario Goncalves, Ben Van Nostrand, Barry Mohring, Paula Steele, Wilma Leung, Doug Harrison, Tom Smith, John Vukanovich, Barry Brooks, Barbara Mullaly Pauly, and Bill Billups for their tips and resources. Wow, are we ever fortunate to have so many people willing to share their info & resources. I hope you find a bit of value somewhere in here.

Have a "Top Drawer" day.

Ken Farrish

Update On The New BC Building Info Site
"Where the BC building industry finds and shares information"

Directory Topics With New Links Added
These Topics in our Directory now have lots of new links:
Building Science
Green Products

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If you have any new products, industry news, events, or information that you would like to have included in a future issue of these Alert Notices, just e-mail me at

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    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    Canadian Housing Starts To Fall Slightly In 2008
    CMHC first quarter Housing Market Outlook report says in 2008 residential construction will decline to about 211,700 units, given higher mortgage carrying costs. Nevertheless, Canada's housing market remains strong and 2008 will mark the seventh consecutive year in which housing starts exceed 200,000 units.

    BC Real Estate Market Reports & Statistics
    British Columbia Real Estate Association provides research, analysis and information on economic factors affecting BC and its housing markets including news releases, market at a glance, market trends, and publications.

    Is The U.S. Housing Crisis Really Causing A Recession?
    Reason Foundation commentary by Samuel Staley says that In reality, the US housing industry simply cannot live up to its reputation as a major driver of the U.S. economy. The housing industry woes are really a symptom of larger economic problems, not the cause of a recession or downturn.

    Free Newsletter On US Housing Industry
    If you are interested in keeping up to date on what's happening in the US home building industry, this free Eye On The Economy newletter from the National Association of Home Builders contains regular updates and links to key information.

    2. Business Management

    US Builders Cost Of Doing Business - 2008 Study
    The US National Association of Home Builders released their Cost of Doing Business Study 2008 Edition, based on a survey of builder financial data. Categories include volume, operation type, land cost vs. no land cost, and more. It offers a glimpse at profitability, cost of sales, and owner's compensation from hundreds of home builders across the country. It also shows, net profitability of the top and bottom 25% of performers. $199 USD.

    Canadian Construction Contracts & Documents Available For Purchase
    Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) is a national joint committee responsible for development, production and review of standard Canadian construction contracts, forms and guides. These purchasable contracts and construction documents are developed in cooperation with the Association of Canadian Engineering Companies, Canadian Construction Association, Construction Specifications Canada, and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

    Online Advertising & Interactive Marketing Course
    Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada is offering a one-day course in Interactive Marketing & Online Advertising in Vancouver on February 27. It covers how and when to use online tactics including display, email, sponsorship & microsite and search advertising; as well as emerging platforms, such as mobile, videogaming, blogs, RSS and podcasting.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    Free, Downloadable 2008 US Magazine With House Plans & Articles
    Published by U.S. Design Basics, this 2008 edition of Spec Build magazine focuses on ideas, advice and solutions to help home builders survive and thrive in current housing challenges. Other features include current Internet trends, marketing ideas, case studies in plan alterations, an examination of a mixed-use development, and 25 of the top-selling home plans. (Large PDF file)

    US Architects 2008 Survey On Home Design Trends
    American Institute of Architects 2008 survey on Home Design Trends reveals that many homeowners are now seeking mixed-use residential projects that blend with retail, dining and public transportation options so more activities are integrated into their communities.

    Remodeling For Aging In Place
    Journal of Light Construction article describes challenges and solutions for efficiently and cost-effectively transforming a home into a suitable space for seniors, so they can live out their lives in their own homes, rather than in a facility.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    John Friswell, President, CCI Renovations says: "Great work on BC Building Info. It's going to be a great one stop shop."

    Feel free to let others know about BC Building Info.

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    New 2008 BC Energy Efficiency Regulations For Gas & Propane Forced Air Furnaces
    BC Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources 2008 Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation - Gas and Propane Forced Air Furnaces for New Construction states that as of January 1st, gas-fired forced air furnaces, other than furnaces for recreational vehicles and replacement furnaces in pre-existing residential dwellings, for use with propane and natural gas having an input rating less than 66kW must have a minimum AFUE of 90 per cent. (PDF)

    Proposed City Of Vancouver Green Building Strategy & Codes
    City of Vancouver describes 15 components of its Green Building Strategy that aims to not only educate about green building techniques but to align regulations and bylaws to make it easier to design and construct green buildings.

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  •   Evaluation of house plans for BC Hydro Power Smart New Home Program
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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Building Science Resource Site From Drs Joe Lstiburek & John Straube
    Building resource site from Dr Joe Lstiburek & Dr John Straube provides digests, primers, reports, presentations, and commentary on building science, building physics, thermal control, moisture control, air flow control, climate, acoustics, and light.

    Home Performance Conference & Trade Show Held In April
    ACI Home Performance Conference is the main US conference and trade show for the home performance industry. Held in Pittsburgh from April 7 - 11, it covers a wide range of building science topics, issues, procedures, and products, mostly relating to existing houses and buildings.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    New BCIT Building Science Centre Of Excellence Researches Rain Control
    At the BC Institute of Technology, a Building Science Centre of Excellence has been established with research capacity in building science and engineering. It has an initial focus on building envelopes and rain control, and they are pursuing industry partnerships and projects.

    New Wood Stoves Provide Cleaner Outdoor Air
    Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association online video and resource site describes the positive results in improved outdoor air quality resulting from the Libby, Montana changeout of old wood stoves to newer, more efficient models.

    Improving Home Performance Is A New Niche for Remodelers
    NAHB article says that with interest in residential energy efficiency growing steadily, small builders and remodelers have an opportunity to sell their customers on advanced technology that will improve the performance of their homes.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Find Canadian Incentives & Rebates For Home & Vehicle Energy Efficiency
    Environment Canada allows you to search by province and program for grants, rebates, discounts, and other incentives to help you use less energy, switch to renewable energy, and produce less waste at home and on the road.

    Green Fleets BC Helps Reduce Vehicle Fuel Use
    The mission of Green Fleets BC is to improve energy efficiency and emission reduction in vehicle fleets of all kinds. They offer information and resources including the E3 Fleet green fleet rating program, hybrid vehicles, biodiesel, green trucking, and Green Fleet Network for sharing best practices.

    Sustainability & Energy Efficiency Workshops In Vancouver
    City Green delivers workshops in Vancouver that cover building energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Upcoming sessions include Greening Your MURB (Multi-Unit Residential Building), Net Metering for Renewable Energy, Strategic Sustainability: Applying the Natural Step Framework, Solar Hot Water Heating Commercial Buildings,ad Reducing Energy Consumption in Buildings.

    Podcasts On Renewable Energy Industry & Issues
    Renewable Energy Access newsletter offers podcasts of interviews with people in the renewable energy industry, and coverage of current issues and activities. They last 12 to 15 minutes and are directed to anyone interested in renewable energy.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Wood Works Offers Support For Use Of Wood In Canadian Buildings
    Wood WORKS is a Canadian program, led by the Canadian Wood Council, providing technical and promotional support to increase the use of wood in commercial, industrial and institutional construction. They offer awareness & education, training, networking, technical support, and celebrate wood champions who inspire excellence in building with wood.

    Cool New Tools From Specialty Trade Show
    Journal of Light Construction article says the size of new power tools appear to be shrinking, and describes cool new tools displayed at the 2007 trade show of the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association.

    Nutech Offers No-Charge HRV Inspection Program Due To Potential Fire Hazard
    Nutech has announced a No-Charge Inspection Program for HRV’s manufactured between 1992 to 1998, due to a small percentage of home HRV installations with reports of fires. HRV brands that qualify for the inspection program include Lifebreath, Tradewinds, Honeywell, Lennox, Fresh-X-Changer, American Aldes, Raydot, Standex, Sears Authorized Indoor Clean Air Services, Nutone and Airflow manufactured between 1992 to 1998 by Nutech.

    Venmar Issued 3 HRV Product Safety Upgrade Programs Due To Potential Fire Hazard
    Over the last 14 months, due to a potential fire hazard, Venmar has announced three separate Product Safety Upgrade Programs covering certain models of heat recovery ventilators.

    9. Information Sources

    BC Government Offers RSS Feeds For Instant Access To Their News Releases
    The BC Government offers a number of RSS Feeds (RSS explanation & resources are provided) that give you instant access to government news and press releases. The feeds are categorized by popular topics, and by Ministry.

    Free Newsletters From Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking & More
    Taunton Publishing offers free e-mail newsletters including Fine Homebuilding, Fine Homebuilding GREEN, Fine Woodworking, and more. They contain tips, advice, and product news.

    10. Conferences & Shows

    Wood Solutions Fair In Vancouver Feb 26
    Canadian Wood Council presents the annual Vancouver Wood Solutions Fair, a one-day trade show, with educational seminars covering a wide range of wood products and construction applications.

    Green Living Consumer Show In Vancouver
    The Green Living Show at BC Place in Vancouver from February 29 - March 2 has over 200 earth-friendly product and service exhibitors including energy, green building, transportation, environmental education, home & garden, eco-fashion, food & beverage, health & wellness, eco-tourism & recreation, ENGOs, and green business.

    Canadian Home Builders Conference In Whistler April 4 - 6
    The annual Canadian Home Builders Association national conference to be held in Whistler, BC from April 4 - 6, includes a number of speakers and sessions on business and industry issues, awards presentation, product displays, and social & networking events.

    11. Education & Training

    Links To Education & Training Resources For BC Residential Construction
    Homeowner Protection Office online directory lists residential construction education and training resources in BC including apprenticeship programs, certification, skills upgrading, professional development, learning about new technologies and much more.

    Calendar Of Courses For BC Builder & Renovator Certification
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC lists the various Winter & Spring 2008 courses, available throughout BC, as part of their certification programs for builders and renovators.

    12. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Free Open Office Software Is Compatible With Microsoft Office
    Open Office is free, and includes most of the tools you find in Microsoft Office, such as a Word-compatible word processor, an Excel-compatible spreadsheet, a PowerPoint-compatible presentation maker, plus a math package, graphics program, and a database system.

    Guide To Finding People & Their Info
    Virtual Chase provide links to help you find sources of information about people including public records & public information, phone lookup & reverse telephone directories, e-mail addresses, white pages, disciplinary actions, plus articles on conducting people research.

    How Smart Is Your Right Foot?
    Beware, this little activity will boggle your mind. And my guess is you will keep trying it over and over. First, while sitting where you are, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. While doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your right hand. Now...check which direction your foot is moving. It changed direction...didn't it? So much for being in control.

    13. Industry Survey

    Today's Survey:   

    How Do You Think The BC Housing Market Will Perform In 2008?

    Better than last year
    About the same as last year
    Not as good as last year

    • Last Survey: Will The Use Of Prefabricated Building Components Increase?

      100% Said: Yes

    Thanks for your participation

    Ditty For Today

    One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community. - Albert Einstein

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    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada