Alert Notice #25
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 November 25, 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

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  SPR Design Ltd.



35+ With WWINWA!

The most wonderful woman in my life has told me not to write about her in my newsletter. So, being a man of my word, I won' least not specifically.

What I will do, very proudly as you're about to see, is pen just a wee portion of an incredible relationship that yours truly has had with a certain WWINWA (Wonderful Woman I’m Not Writing About). Recently, as our 35th anniversary came and went, I once again reflected on how fortunate I have been to have WWINWA be, and stay, by my side. Given our various triumphs, trials, and tribulations over those years, the word "fortunate" is undoubtedly an understatement.

WWINWA & I met way back in the heady days of the early 70's. I, a work-hard-play-hard young entrepreneur not yet tuned-in to personal responsibility, immediately flipped head over heels for a certain level-headed beauty who had just returned from living abroad. The fact that our relationship lasted past the first couple of years was a landmark in itself, and a genuine surprise to my family and friends. In the spirit of full disclosure, such surprise was quite justifiable based on my track record of non-committal to relationships. WWINWA's early display of fortitude towards making the “us-rather-than-me” work in yours truly was only a tidbit of the commitment she would show in the decades that followed.

WWINWA stuck with me whether I had it all, lost it all, or thought I was it all. She put up with twelve different house moves throughout our first years together. “Enough”, she finally said, and we’ve lived in the same digs ever since. Although somewhat reluctantly at times (and no wonder!) she accepted my all-too-frequent career moves and business ventures that seemed to stem from nothing other than my love for leading edge, and at times bleeding edge, entrepreneurial adventure. While I was traversing the country selling products and over-committing myself in trade associations, conferences, boards, and committees, WWINWA quite willingly gave up her career to become an incredible mother. And all the while she was carrying the majority of the child-rearing load, she did not deny me additional opportunities for my weekends away with the boys, late-night hockey, wild or weird houseguests, and occasional dances with the devil. But what goes around comes around. Now it’s WWINWA’s turn!

Finally, after decades of giving her mate both space and support, WWINWA now gets her just reward. And I can’t even put into words how happy I am for her, other that to say “You deserve it”. It’s her turn to build a successful career, sit on committees and boards, and attend meetings and conferences. It’s her time to take weekend and world trips with her buds, clubs, and co-workers. Meanwhile, true to her nature, WWINWA aligns these newfound opportunities with her continuing, committed roles of mother, grandmother, and mate. So far, thankfully I must say, she has yet to call in her IOUs for those weird houseguests or dances with the devil, but who knows what lies ahead?

They say that opposites attract. I believe this, because WWINWA and I are opposites in a lot of ways. What they don’t say, or at least I haven’t heard them say, is how challenging it is for opposites to stay attracted. This ol’ dude just happens to be lucky enough to have had a mate willing to weather life’s storms together, long enough for the sun to shine brightly on both. Many others I know have not been as fortunate.

Perhaps some day the most wonderful woman in my life will actually allow me to write about her. If not, down the road, maybe every decade or two, I’ll just have to stretch the boundaries a wee bit and give you an update on my relationship with this Wonderful Woman I’m Not Writing About.

My thanks to John Chepil, Simone Sunderland, Wilma Leung, Jim Jennings, Matthew Yoshitake, Brad Esau, John Vukanovich, Trina Bentley, and Nancy Argyle 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

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1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Fall 2009 BC Housing Forecast
BC Real Estate Association Fall 2009 BC Housing Forecast includes information about housing market rebound, international outlook, housing starts, mortgage rates, and regional real estate board statistics and forecasts. (PDF)

BC Economy To Top The Podium In 2010
Conference Board of Canada provincial economic outlook says BC economy is expected to decline by two per cent in 2009, but a recovery is expected to begin in the second half of the year. Real gross domestic product is forecast to grow by 4.2 per cent in 2010, due to a comeback in the construction sector, recoveries in forestry and manufacturing, and hosting the Winter Olympic Games.

Housing Market Outlook Canada - Fourth Quarter 2009
CMHC Canadian Housing Market Outlook provides information on housing trends and forecasts. With both a national and local perspective, this Fourth Quarter 2009 report says housing starts have started to recover and are expected to continue to improve in the second half of 2009. Starts are expected to reach 141,900 for the year and will increase to 164,900 for 2010. (PDF)

2009 Canadian Housing Observer
CMHC Canadian Housing Observer presents a detailed review of housing conditions and trends in Canada and key factors behind them. The report is supplemented by online data tables and analysis, and Housing in Canada Online which is accessible to anyone interested in exploring trends further or in conducting additional analyses of housing conditions.

Report On Long-Term Housing Demand In Canada
Canadian Home Builders Association report on Long-Term Housing Demand in Canada examines key trends that will shape demand for new homes. This 30-year forecast highlights the impact of shifting demographics, market segments that will drive this demand, forecasts for housing demand during five periods between now and 2031, and anticipated changes in household formation, demographics, employment and economic output. (PDF)

Aging Boomers Want More Modest Homes & Easy Living
US National Association of Home Builders survey 55+ Housing: Builders, Buyers and Beyond shows trends towards McMansion revolt, hunkering down for tough economic times, leading the way on universal design, and going green.

Vancouver Seminar On Housing & Economic Trends 2010
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association annual Trends 2010 will be held in Coquitlam on December 8th. A panel of industry experts will examine Canada’s and Metro Vancouver’s forecasted economic performance, interest rates and local housing activity, demographics and demands of the 2010 homebuyer, changing trends in real estate marketing. (PDF)

2. Business Management

Overview Of New BC Harmonized Sales Tax
BC Ministry of Finance notice provides information to assist British Columbians who are buying new homes or constructing their own homes as well as builders who are constructing new homes make a smooth transition from the current PST to the proposed HST.

New Housing Rebates & Transitional Rules For BC HST
BC government is proposing to increase the threshold for the BC HST new-housing rebate from $400,000 to $525,000 to ensure that, on average, purchasers of new homes up to $525,000 pay no more tax due to harmonization than is currently embedded as PST. (PDF)

Marketing To Gen Y: The Do’s, Don’ts & Don’t Bothers
US National Association of Home Builders says for the most part, the conventional advertising that builders have employed in the past will be lost on this group because Gen Y sees the world and navigates through it a little differently than their parents and grandparents.

Decorate With Emerging Trends To Extend Sales Model Life
US National Association of Home Builders says model homes should reflect future design trends, not what’s been popular in the past. Your models will not only stand out from the crowd, they will have a much longer shelf life if they reflect emerging trends in lifestyle and design.

2009-10 US Cost Vs Value For Remodeling Projects
Remodeling Online 2009-10 cost vs. value data describes relationship between remodeling costs and resale value for different remodeling projects in various markets across the US.

Canadian Employment Insurance For Self-Employed
Government of Canada has introduced the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act, legislation that would extend Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits, including maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits, to the self employed.

Tips For First-Year Trade Councils
Professional Builder says fail rate for first-year home builder trade councils is about 60%, and offers some advice to make sure yours succeeds.

3. Building Design & Trends

Free Ask An Architect Service For BC
Architectural Institute of British Columbia Ask An Architect program offers free advice and information for homebuilders, homeowners and members of the public.

Overview Of Vancouver City Laneway Housing Program
City of Vancouver online presentation describes background, policies, and resources for their laneway housing strategy. (PDF)

World’s Tallest Wooden Building Planned For Norway
Inhabitat describes a new tower in Norway that will be 16-17 stories tall and constructed from natural materials with innovative and environmental solutions in all parts of the building.

Guide To Smart Growth & Active Aging
US Environmental Protection Agency online guidebook helps older adults access information about the importance of environmentally friendly community design and how to become involved in decisions in smart growth.

2009 Remodeling Master Design Award Winners
Qualified Remodeler offers pictures and descriptions of their 2009 Master Design Award Winners.

2009 Remodeling Design Award Winners
Remodeling Magazine displays winners of their annual Remodeling Design Awards that represent highest standards of design and excellence.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Jim Jennings, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Academy of Building Sciences says: "I find BC Building Info insightful and a much-needed commodity. Keep up the good work".

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Proposed Updates To BC Fire Code & Smoke Alarms
BC Ministry of Housing proposed updates to the BC Fire Code Requirements For Smoke Alarms are now available online for public input. They propose to make smoke alarms mandatory for all private dwellings, including those built before 1979.

New 2009 BC Code Standards For Adaptable Housing
An amendment to the BC Building Code concerning Adaptable Dwelling Units comes into effect December 31, 2009. It establishes new standards for single-storey suites in new residential, multi-unit buildings, whether adaptable housing is built voluntarily or required by local governments.

Laneway Housing & Homeowner Protection Act
Homeowner Protection Office of BC bulletin outlines requirements under the Homeowner Protection Act for construction of laneway housing. (PDF)

Codes & Costs Of Accessory Apartments In Houses
CMHC research compares code requirements regulating accessory apartments in effect in 2005 in different Canadian provinces, territories and municipalities. The study estimates the costs attributed to the code requirements in two case studies: construction of a new house containing a basement accessory apartment, and renovation of an existing house to add an accessory apartment. (PDF)

Standards Engineering Society
Standards Engineering Society is a North American organization committed to furthering public awareness and knowledge of standards and standardization. SES provides a neutral forum where standards users and developers can come together to address mutual issues, opportunities, and interests in ways that work to the benefit of everyone involved with, or affected by, standards.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Online Course Materials On Introduction To Building Technology
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers online access to their university course materials on building technology including thermal, lighting, and acoustics aspects of a building, and construction materials & methods.

    Physics Of Moisture
    Building Science Seminars online presentation describes the physics of moisture as it relates to buildings. (PDF)

    Some Interesting Stuff On Slabs
    Building Science provides online slide show covering issues and design recommendations for concrete slabs (PDF)

    Vapour Barrier Guidance
    Building Science offers articles and information about vapour barriers including discussions on wall designs, moisture balance, thermal characteristics, vapor permeance characteristics and recommendations by climate zone.

    Basics Of HVAC Mechanical Systems
    Building Science Seminars online presentation describes features, benefits, and design considerations for HVAC mechanical systems. (PDF)

    Online Video On House As A System
    Affordable Comfort Inc online video on The House as a System describes the whole house approach to energy efficiency, health and safety, comfort, and durability, with instructor David Keefe.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Gas & Electrical Safety For BC Flood-Prone Areas
    BC Safety Authority describes how homeowners and businesses can take precautions with gas and electrical appliances if flooding is expected. (PDF)

    Newer Materials & Problems With Mold
    Building Science describes why we have more mold in houses today, even though we don’t have more water. The problem is that the same amount of water we’ve always had to deal with is hanging around longer and longer in some new building materials that can’t take it.

    Wind-Driven Rain In Coastal BC
    BC Homeowner Protection Office study quantified the amount of rain impinged on typical building wall surfaces, established the influence of overhang on wind-driven rain exposure, verified the empirical method of quantifying wind-driven rain based on comparisons to new measurements at various locations in Metro Vancouver. (PDF)

    Building Envelope Moisture Theory, Problems & Solutions
    Building Science online presentation describes moisture theory, and problems caused by moisture in building envelopes, and recommended solutions. (PDF)

    Tool For Predicting Transmission Of Sound In Buildings
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction describes a tool they are developing for predicting transmission of air-borne and structure-borne sound in buildings. (PDF)

    Safety Of Compact Fluorescent Lamps
    Health Canada offers information on the safety of compact fluorescent lamps including background, health risks, minimizing your risk, and sources of more information.

    Tests Of Cellulose Insulation Show Minimal Toxicity
    US National Toxicology Program studies indicated that few respirable particles or fibers are generated during the aerosolization of cellulose insulation and that even at very high doses of respirable particles, acute pulmonary toxicity is minimal.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    List Of Canadian Energy Efficiency Incentives & Rebates
    Canadian Office Of Energy Efficiency provides details on incentives and rebates available from Natural Resources Canada.

    Cost Savings Are Biggest Motivator For Consumers
    Nielsen Company’s latest Energy Trends report shows that while saving the environment will motivate people to transition to more energy efficient products and services, cost savings will be the key message that will make them take notice. (PDF)

    Home Performance Contracting Business Options & Tips
    Affordable Comfort online presentation describes features, benefits, and tips for the business of home performance contracting. (PDF)

    Green Remodeling For Bathrooms
    Green Building Advisor describes considerations for a green bathroom remodel including water, moisture, ventilation, and durable green materials.

    Greywater Systems
    Greywater from Carl Lindstrom gives you details and drawings of greywater basics, pollution data, planning a greywater system, treatment options, sample installations, links, and literature references.

    EcoHome Editors Choice For New Green Products 2009
    EcoHome magazine displays the winners of their annual award for innovation and leadership in green building products.

    Information On Green Building
    Fine Homebuilding magazine offers information and resources on green building.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Overview Of Energy Efficient Windows, Glass, Ratings & Installation
    Green Building Advisor describes features of windows, glass, ratings, and installation that are essential to energy conservation and comfort.

    Five Categories Of Concrete Cleaners
    Concrete Network provides information about concrete cleaners and degreasers for concrete-related applications including pH-Neutral cleaners, acid cleaners, alkaline cleaners, enzymatic cleaners, and specialty cleaners.

    Infrared Paint Removal Technology
    Building Online describes how mid-range infrared heat systems use waves to heat both the wood and the paint at a lower temperature, reducing the hazards of removing lead-based paint.

    Custom Hard Hats & Head Protection
    My Hard Hats offers discounted prices on hundreds of hard hats from top manufacturers. They have full brim hard hats, cap style hard hats, bump caps, vented hard hats, aluminum hard hats, hard hat suspensions and much more.

    100 Best New Products Of 2009 From Professional Builder
    Professional Builder displays their annual 100 Best New Products that represent either a technological advance, a significant improvement to an existing line, a brand-new product line or a product that is a game-changer in its market.

    Recall Of Kidde PI2000CA Smoke Alarms
    Kidde Canada announced a voluntary recall to replace certain Model PI2000CA Smoke Alarm units manufactured between January 1, 2009 and May 4, 2009, that may not respond properly to smoke or push to test.

    Free Newsletter On Supply Chain Management
    Globalspec, the Engineering Search Engine, offers a number of free e-mail newsletters, including one focusing on supply chain management. View past issues and subscribe here.

    9. Installation Procedures

    I-Joist Installation & Construction Details
    Engineered Wood Association online installation guide includes recommended construction details for I-joists in floor and roof applications, as well as details for cantilevers and web holes. Free site registration required.

    Sealing Interior Concrete Floors
    Concrete Network answers six questions about having a sealer applied on an interior concrete floor including types of sealers, what they do, how to choose the right one for your floor, and more.

    Building A Temporary Load Bearing Brace Wall
    Fine Homebuilding describes how to build a temporary brace when wall you need to adequately support the structure before tearing down a load-bearing wall.

    Framing Hardware Do's & Don'ts
    Journal of Light Construction article describes metal connector installation errors that can affect the load capacity of connectors and — if not corrected — cause long-term problems.

    Retrofitting Exterior Insulation
    Journal of Light Construction describes how to add rigid foam insulation to the outside of the building shell to dramatically increase R-value while reducing thermal conduction.

    Air Sealing Of Canadian Homes
    Canadian Energy Retrofit Conference presentation buy Gary Proskiw & Jim Fitzgerald describes priorities and principles for air sealing Canadian homes. (PDF)

    10. Information Sources

    Free Email Alerts On Canadian Construction Research & Events
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction offers three free e-mail alerts. Construction Innovation is a quarterly newsletter with news of research projects, recent research results, product evaluations, code developments and conference highlights. New Publications is a notification of new publications from NRC-IRC. Special news and events covers seminar announcements, special events, and other news from IRC.

    Links To Automated Buildings Industry Blogs & Forums
    Automated Buildings offers links to industry web logs and forums that cover topics related to automated buildings, energy efficiency, green building, and more.

    Stories Of Great Moments In Building History
    Fine Homebuilding offers free access to their 25-year collection of Great Moments in Building History stories, ranging from the quirky and oddball—to the touching and uplifting.

    Free CAD Construction Details For Wood Frame Construction
    Engineered Wood Association provides free online CAD details for wood-frame construction.

    Resource Site On Paints & Painting
    Rohm & Haas paint site offers information and resources on paint design, products, installation and troubleshooting.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    Construct Canada: Building Design & Construction Show In Toronto
    Construct Canada, held in Toronto December 2-4, is a building and construction industry show featuring product exhibits, seminars, and demonstrations. The show includes Construct Canada, HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo, PM Expo, Concrete Canada, and Design Trends.

    Canadian Solar Industry Conference In Toronto
    Canadian Solar Industries Association presents its annual conference and trade show in Toronto on December 7th & 8th, aimed at all sectors of the solar and building industry.

    Ecobuild: US Conference For Sustainable Buildings
    Ecobuild conference, held in Washington DC, December 8-10, explores sustainable, green, high-performance solutions for the built environment with the newest information technology. Targeted training is available for commercial, industrial, government and residential architecture, engineering, and construction professionals as well as educators.

    Georgie Awards Celebrate Excellence In BC Home Building
    The Georgie Awards of the Canadian Home Builders Association of BC is a residential construction awards program that highlights and celebrates excellence in home building. Their site provides information on the awards program, an archive of recent award winners, and a searchable directory of builders and renovators.

    12. Education & Training

    BC Funding Program For Workplace Training
    BC Government pilot program Workplace Training for Innovation provides small business employers in British Columbia with access to funding to support employee training, helping improve skills and productivity. Available to all BC employers, the program offers up to $1,500 per employee – to a maximum of $5,000 per employer – to support employee training.

    BC Courses On Brownfield Redevelopment
    BCIT School of Construction and the Environment are holding a series of courses in Brownfield Redevelopment. Starting in December 2009, the part time studies courses include an introduction to brownfield redevelopment, planning and environment, legal and finance, technical and environmental strategies, and land development and real estate of brownfield redevelopments.

    Upcoming IAQ Courses In Vancouver
    CMHC is offering two training courses on Indoor Air Quality in Vancouver. The one-day Build and Renovate to Avoid Mold is on November 30, and the three-day Residential Indoor Air Quality Investigator Program is December 1-3.

    Reading & Interpreting Contracts & Specifications For Superintendents
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association 1-day course Reading & Interpreting Contracts and Specifications for Superintendents covers importance of specifications and the contract and how they relate to each other, the importance of specifications and the meaning of Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, reviewing the relationship between specifications and drawings, and reviewing the best practices in the compiling, submitting and management of the change order process.

    Building Science Annual Expert Session
    At Building Science Expert Session, usually held in December, Dr. Joseph Lstiburek and Dr. John Straube host a special 2-day seminar on advanced building science topics to provide thought provoking professional development for experienced building industry professionals.

    List Of Training Providers For BC Occupational Health & Safety
    WorkSafeBC lists firms that provide occupational health and safety training and consultation services, and includes tips on how to choose the right provider for your company. (PDF)

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    I Phone Apps For Contractors
    Journal of Light Construction forum has contractors suggesting various applications they use on their iPhones.

    Links To Research Resources On Internet
    Internet expert Marcus Zillman provides links to a wide range of tools and resources for researching information on the Internet.

    A Little Pool Playing Competition
    This may bring back memories of so-called misspent youth...playing pool. It's pretty simple, until you realize you've got some competition to get things done a bit faster.

    Dittie For Today

    A psychiatrist asks a lot of expensive questions that your wife asks for nothing. - Joey Adams

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    © Copyright 2009               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada