Alert Notice #24
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 October 19, 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. Green Building & Energy Efficiency
8. Building Products & Suppliers
9. Installation Procedures
10. Information Sources
11. Conferences & Shows
12. Education & Training
13. Computer, Internet & Fun
14. Industry Survey

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Gramps Again!!!

I'd love to provide you with an editorial that offered some well-thought-out babble on an issue, idea, or even some Ken-trivia...but that's not possible today.

You see, I'm still going around in circles (no comments about this being my standard state, please) after we became mighty proud grandparents again yesterday! Cooper James Askew was born a husky and healthy boy at 6:56 am, weighing in at 9 lbs. 6 oz. Our family's first Grandson!

I'm off to the hospital to ogle, awe, and continue to strut my stuff as a babbling, bubbling ol' Gramps...once again.

See you next issue. And between now and then, here's hoping you experience even a tiny portion of the joy and gratitude that our family is currently blessed with.

My thanks to Ken Sinclair, George Pinch, Brian Burton, David Kelly, Herman Rebneris, Bill Morrison, Wilma Leung, Richard Fearn, John Vukanovich, Doug Harrison, John Chepil, Pasi Tonti, Paula Steele, Mark Gauvin, Nafisa Abdulla, Brad Esau, Shea Robinson, Aaron Vaughan, Nancy Argyle, Chris Birchall, and Mary Hart 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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1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update Oct 2009
Canadian Home Builders Association October 2009 bulletin provides an overview of the Canadian housing industry and the current economic situation. (PDF)

Canadian Housing To Rebound In Second Half Of 2009 & In 2010
Canadian housing starts are expected to rebound in the second half of 2009 and should reach 141,900 for the year. Starts will increase to 150,300 for 2010, according to the CMHC third quarter Housing Market Outlook.

BC Economic Outlook From Helmut Pastrick
Quantity Surveyors Association of BC online Economic Outlook presentation by Helmut Pastrick, Chief Economist of BC Central Credit Union covers current trends and economic recovery, monetary and fiscal policy impacts, interest rate and currency forecasts, BC & Lower Mainland economies, plus much more. (PDF)

BC Mortgage Rate Forecast
BC Real Estate Association mortgage rate forecast believes mortgage rates will move higher through 2010. (PDF)

2009 Housing Outlook Conference Coming To BC
CMHC annual Housing Outlook Conferences provide access to timely, reliable and unbiased housing market information and forecasts. Tailored to the specifics of the local market, they may also enable you to earn education credits. An Outlook Conference will be held in Vancouver on November 9th, and an Outlook Seminar will be held in Victoria on November 20th.

Boomer Wants & Needs Will Alter Housing Landscape
Builder Magazine article says by 2011 half of all homeowners will be over 50, but the current housing landscape doesn't necessarily provide what they want -- or need.

What First-Time Buyers Want In A New Home
Professional Builder says young home buyers, particularly Millenials, have a different perception of a home that drives their design preferences. Home builders and designers who want to be successful in the entry-level market must understand the lifestyles, attitudes and priorities of Generations X and Y.

2. Business Management

How Top Custom Builders Keep Their Customers Happy
Custom Builder magazine article says the most exquisitely crafted custom home won't guarantee referrals if the builder and client don't bond.

Revitalize Your Home Building Sales Team
Professional Builder article by sales training expert John Rymer outlines how and why you should revitalize your home building sales team.

Big Changes Ahead For Remodeling Industry
Remodeling Magazine opinion and comments from readers discuss issues around big changes such as regulation and competition coming for the remodeling industry.

Satisfied Renovation Customers Want You
Qualified Remodeler 5th annual survey of remodeling customers gauged the impact of green and other differentiators, but in the end, satisfied customers are those who get frequent touches from you.

Tax Harmonization In Ontario & British Columbia
Canadian Home Builders Association report outlines the plans, and affects on the building industry, of the harmonized sales tax being introduced in Ontario and BC. (PDF)

HST Policies Positions & Discussion Materials
Canadian Home Builders Association online documents cover policies and positions on a wide range of issues relating to Harmonized Sales Taxes.

Online Advertising & Interactive Marketing Course In Vancouver
Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada is offering a one-day course in Interactive Marketing & Online Advertising in Vancouver on November 2. It covers issues around buying, selling and executing successful Display, Email, Search and Emerging Platforms Interactive advertising programs.

3. Building Design & Trends

Paint Colour Trends For 2010
Paint Quality Institute new Paint Colour Trends For 2010 take inspiration from a variety of social and economic influences. In addition, living space personalization continues to act as a driver for colour change with accent walls or niche areas appropriate for small doses of high impact, bold colour while using more subtle hues on broad wall areas.

Building Science House Plans For Various Climates & Locations
Building Science offers online house plans with fully integrated sets of construction drawings created by BSC for specific locations and climates. The sets include floor plans, detailed framing plans and wall framing elevations, exterior elevations and sections, advanced framing and enclosure details, as well as mechanical and electrical plans.

Boomers Want Convenience & Energy Efficiency In New Homes
US National Association of Home Builders survey reveals that 55+ Americans would prefer suburban living in single-story homes with amenities, particularly high-speed Internet access, for their later years, and they don't consider universal design a priority.

Kitchen & Bath Design Trends 2009
Remodeling magazine online slideshow with kitchen and bath design expert Jim Krengel shows latest trends in kitchen and bath design, as seen at the 2009 KBIS trade show.

Using Concrete In Bathroom Remodel
Concrete Network offers tips and information for bathroom remodeling using concrete, including costs, bathroom remodeling designs, and bathroom remodeling ideas.

More Walkable Homes Are Worth More
CEOs for Cities report reveals that homes in more walkable neighbourhoods are worth more than similar homes in less-walkable neighbourhoods.

Home Location Preferences & Implications For Smart Growth
Victoria Transport Policy Institute report investigates consumer housing location preferences and their relationship to smart growth, and examines claims that most households prefer sprawl-location housing and so are harmed by smart growth policies. (PDF)

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Doug McNeil, President of Pride Home Improvements says: "BC Building Info is great. Every contractor should have it on their Blackberry".

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

2010 Proposed Amendments To Occupational Health & Safety Regulation
WorkSafe BC Policy & Research Division is requesting your input on the release of the 2010 proposed amendments for consultation.

Scopes Of Work For High Performance Buildings
US National Association of Home Builders and Building America detailed Four Scopes of Work for High Performance Buildings covers excavation and backfill, poured concrete foundations, framing and HVAC installation. They provide descriptions of the work that a trade contractor will perform for a builder. (PDF)

Next Generation Energy Standards For Canadian Housing
Natural Resources Canada summarizes its plans for their next generation of housing initiatives for the EnerGuide Rating System, ENERGY STAR for New Homes, and the R-2000 Standard.

2010 National Building Code To Have New Wood Provisions
Canadian Wood Council describes changes relating to wood in the upcoming 2010 edition of the National Building Code of Canada. Changes to Part 9 that will affect structural uses of wood construction include lateral resistance provisions, new standards for preservative treated lumber, and reference to the 2009 edition of the Canadian Wood Council’s Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction that provides guidance on design of elements that are outside the prescriptive requirements in Part 9. (PDF)

New Canadian Code Requirements For Adhesives In Fire-Rated Structural Wood Assemblies
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction says subject to final approval, the National Building Code of Canada 2010 will contain new requirements for adhesives employed in the manufacture of fingerjoined studs and prefabricated I-joists to be used in assemblies that require a fire-resistance rating in buildings covered in Part 9 of the NBC.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Terms & Definitions For Building Science & Technology
Building Science Insight by Dr. Joseph Lstiburek describes each building science and technology term along with its performance metric. (PDF)

Residential Best Practices Criteria
Building Science lists some basic characteristics that should be met in all high performance homes for energy performance, durability, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality.

Insulating On The Outside
University of Massachusetts describes how wrapping a home with insulating sheathing saves energy and can be cost effective, if the design considers a host of structural concerns including moisture, shear loads, insects and fire.

Components & Functions Of Building Enclosure
Building paper details building enclosure components, exterior & interior loadings, functions, performance attributes, design, and sources of reference materials.

Online Design Guide For Floor Slabs
Whole Building Design Guide provides an overview of floor slab fundamentals, functions, components, applications, detail drawings, and links to more resources.

2009 CMHC Housing Research Projects Update
CMHC Summer 2009 Current Housing Research report is a directory to ongoing housing research on social, economic and technical issues. It describes research currently underway and provides announcements on newly completed research reports and research highlights. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

Wood Is Good But Strange
Building Science report says wood burns, rots, has different strength properties depending on its orientation, expands and contracts based on relative humidity, expands differently based on orientation. and no two pieces are alike, However, despite all of these problems, wood is the material of choice, when it comes to building houses it may make significant inroads in commercial construction.

Role Of Vapour Barrier In Wood-Frame Stucco Wall
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction research paper investigates the role of the vapour barrier in exterior wood-frame stucco walls with the help of a two dimensional hygrothermal simulation tool, hygIRC-2D. (PDF)

Moisture & Interior Basement Insulation
Building Science research describes hygrothermal performance of interior basement insulation systems, as part of a CMHC research program to determine significance or insignificance of potential moisture problems due to an impermeable polyethylene layer in above- and below-grade walls. (PDF)

Repairing Cracks In Concrete Floors & Slabs
Concrete Network provides information about concrete crack repair including troubleshooting cracks and choosing repair materials, how-to tips for fixing cracks, and tips for how to prevent concrete cracks.

Effectiveness Of HEPA Vacuuming On Dust & Mold In Houses
CMHC details outcome of studies investigating effectiveness of vacuum cleaners equipped with HEPA filters in reducing levels of fine dust in residential settings. It was also found that, in houses with mold problems, vacuuming with a HEPA filter equipped vacuum cleaner prior to remediation can help reduce the risks associated with mold exposure. (PDF)

Avoid Unvented Gas Heaters
Green Building Advisor online article says unvented gas & kerosene space heaters and fireplaces are a bad idea.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Report On US Building Rating & Certification Issues
US National Institute of Building Sciences online Report on Building Rating and Certification in the US Building Community raises a number of issues and concerns with building rating systems, and offers conclusions and recommendations for various industry sectors. (PDF)

Green Value Is A Sustainable Business Case
BC Building Envelope Council presentation by Chris Corps outlines many types of values that are found in green buildings.

Buyers Want To Save Energy But Only At Right Price
US National Association of Home Builders survey shows even though prospective home buyers want the benefits of new, more efficient homes, they are unwilling to pay much more for a green home.

Green Marketing For Profit
Conference Board of Canada report discusses ways marketers can capitalize on the growing interest in eco-friendly products and services. It analyzes trends and opportunities, and profiles several leading green companies and initiatives. Free registration required.

Metro Vancouver Wood Stove Exchange Program
Metro Vancouver residents are eligible to receive a $250 rebate to trade in their old uncertified wood burning appliance for a new low emission appliance.

Sustainability In Action EQuilibrium Housing Forum In Edmonton
CMHC EQuilibrium Forum, in Edmonton November 2-4, will be an opportunity for housing industry professionals to learn about advanced low-environmental impact housing strategies from experienced builder teams working in the demanding Alberta climate.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Online Guides For Buying Concrete Supplies
    Concrete Network offers information about buying concrete products including stamps and skins, countertop supplies, polishing products, and more.

    LED Solid-State Lighting Resource Site
    US Department of Energy offers information and resources on LED lighting including basics, applications, measurement, and more.

    Canadian Research Into Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction research validated claims that radiant heating systems are more energy efficient, and that radiant heating systems provide greater comfort for occupants.

    Foam Sheathing Information & Building Code Issues
    Foam Sheathing Coalition is a manufacturing driven organization focused on developing solutions to building code issues and promoting the proper technical use of foam sheathing as a solution for the construction industry.

    Concrete Industry Response To BC Policy Of Wood First
    BC Ready-Mixed Concrete Association states their concerns regarding BC's Wood First policy as it relates to government funded building projects. The five reasons they recommend Government consider an alternative BC First policy including both wood and concrete are: marketplace balance, the value of competition, macroeconomic considerations, environmental considerations, and variable cost risks.

    Business Review Of Canadian Construction Materials Centre
    National Research Council has engaged a consulting firm to conduct a business review of the Canadian Construction Materials Centre. The study's findings will set future direction for the centre and make necessary changes to meet stakeholders' short- and long-term needs.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Subgrades For Durable Driveway
    Journal of Light Construction describes the basics of driveway and road subgrade construction.

    Pluses & Minuses Of Advanced Framing
    US National Association of Home Builders Research Center report Advanced Framing: Its Practical Use in Residential Construction tells why advanced, or optimum value engineered framing has never really caught on despite its ability to cut costs and reduce energy consumption. It prioritizes techniques based on how easily they can be implemented and their impact on material and energy savings. (PDF)

    Sealing Rim Joists With Spray Foam
    Building Science says rim joist, band joist, or any area that connects building components, are particularly problematic to air seal properly. They describe the critical seal method that addresses condensation and air barrier details quickly and easily using spray urethane foam insulation applied to relevant surfaces, connecting them as an air barrier.

    Installing Drip Edge Flashing
    Fine Homebuilding online video shows how to cut, bend, and lap copper drip edge the proper way.

    How To Build Heavy Duty Sawhorse Brackets
    US National Association of Home Builders tip describes how to fabricate sawhorse brackets that are rock solid, stack nicely and are easy to disassemble.

    BC Fast-Tube Fabric Forming For Columns
    BC-based Fab-Form online video describes how to form and pour a concrete column using their Fast-Tube fabric forming system.

    10. Information Sources

    Presentations From Recent BC Building Envelope Conference
    BC Building Envelope Council provides past conference and seminar documents and presentations that cover a wide range of building envelope topics.

    Field Experts On Engineered Wood
    Engineered Wood Association Field Services team consists of full-time engineered wood specialists located throughout North America. These engineered wood experts include engineers, architects, and construction experts who are available to provide information and recommendations to construction and design professionals.

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

    Links To Information On Lighting
    ePanorama offers links to a wide range of information on lighting products and procedures.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    Virtual Conference For Big Builders
    Big Builder magazine is holding it's annual event online November 16-20. With a theme of Accelerate The Positive, it offers an educational program including live events, on-demand training, multimedia presentations, and online collaboration.

    International Builders Show In Las Vegas
    US National Association of Home Builders presents The International Builder's Show in Las Vegas January 19-22. It is the largest in North America, featuring over 1800 exhibitors of building industry products, innovations, and demonstrations, plus almost 300 educational sessions.

    Checklist To A Greener Future Conference In Kamloops
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC 1-day conference Checklist to a Greener Future, on November 4th in Kamloops will focus on the value added of Built Green BC and latest trends and technologies in sustainable building. Participants will assess how alternate energy sources and green products and services help save our environment.

    Vancouver Island Sustainable Wood Products Conference & Tradeshow
    Vancouver Island Association of Wood Processors presents the Sustainable Wood Products Conference & Tradeshow November 20-21, in Nanaimo. It will bring together sustainably-minded wood products producers, architects, designers and developers with the goal of building a more resilient value-added wood sector and local economy.

    12. Education & Training

    Basics of Blueprint Reading
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association Academy of Housing is presenting Basics of Blueprint Reading on October 26. It is an interactive workshop designed to help attendees understand basic blueprint reading. This workshop is intended for people new to the industry, office staff and anyone wanting an introduction to blueprints.

    BC Course On Housing Development
    Urban Development Institute is presenting an intensive two-day course on November 6-7 that provides a hands-on, practical look at financial analysis and risk assessment in housing development. (PDF)

    Project Management 1-Day Course In Vancouver
    The Project Management Conference in Vancouver on November 24th is for building owners or managers, contractors, architects, or engineers. It will cover skills and knowledge to stay on top of your work through a more projectized and productive work environment.

    2009 BC Construction Safety Conference
    WorkSafe BC 2009 BC Construction Safety Conference in Richmond on November 21-22 is for those who work on BC construction sites, including Trade Safety Coordinators, Construction Safety Officers, and Site Safety Coordinators. It provides participants with the opportunity to learn and discuss a variety of health and safety issues that are identified in WorkSafe BC’s construction high-risk strategy, as well as other issues currently facing the industry.

    BC Provincial Safety Committee Conference
    Pacific Safety Centre annual BC Provincial Safety Committee Conference in Surrey November 16 is designed to fulfill requirements of safety committees. It includes sessions for everyone from new to experienced safety committee members.

    BC Construction Industry Human Resource Toolkit
    Independent Contractors and Businesses Association will be hosting a series of seminars in BC in November to introduce their new Construction Industry Human Resource Toolkit. The toolkit includes resources and guides that cover the areas of hiring, termination, HR policies, and performance management for your business. (PDF)

    BC Seminar On Erosion & Sediment Control
    Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC 1-day seminar on October 29th will overview the theory, fundamentals and causes of erosion and sedimentation, but focus on reasons for poor ESC practices and performances and how to achieve the results you need.

    BC Session On Avoiding Buried Pipelines & Cables
    Dig Safe BC, a 1-day session in Nanaimo on November 4th, covers utility & pipeline awareness, damage prevention, ground disturbance regulations, excavating safety, locating basics, and demonstrations. (PDF)

    Course On Introduction To Hydronic Heating
    Canadian Hydronics Council will be holding its popular 2-day Introduction to Hydronic Heating Installations course in several locations across Canada this fall.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Keyboard Shortcuts
    Shortcut World provides lists of keyboard shortcuts for all major computer programs.

    10 Sites To Get More Out Of Your Mobile Phone For Less
    PCWorld Canada describes sites that increase options mobile phone users have in maximizing existing features of their handsets, and saving a few dollars in the process.

    Redstar Fall
    Here's another one of those darn I-can't-quit-now games. Simply remove all of the squares without the red star falling off the platform. Where there's a will there's a way...I think!

    14. Industry Survey

    Today's Survey:   Is The Recession Over?

    Much of the media, and many pundits, are reporting that the recession may be over. But methinks most of these people are not in business. Do you think the recession is over here in BC?

    Yes, I think the worst is behind us
    No, I sense more tough times lie ahead
    I'm not sure...yet

    View results

    Last Survey: Will The New BC Harmonized Sales Tax Hurt Your Business?

    • 62% Said: Yes
    • 19% Said: No
    • 19% Said: Not sure yet

    Thanks for your participation

    Dittie For Today: On Relationships

    Relationships of all kinds are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. - Kaleel Jamison

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    © Copyright 2009               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada