Alert Notice #31
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 June 8, 2010


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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  Building Science Corporation


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Every once in a while the universe delivers me a timely, simple gem. And more often than not, such treasures arrive disguised as a disruptive, frustrating, or challenging situation. So it was with Oh...Fertilizer!

Now to first put things into perspective, I feel I'm a fairly positive ol' dude. Over the years, especially the last couple of decades, I've managed to garner an ever-growing number of simple strategies and resources to assist me in better handling life's little learning opportunities. Key point there being "handling" rather than "escaping"...which may be a story for another day. As many of you may have done in searching for that ever-elusive, positive-attitude fix, I read the books, listened to the tapes, watched the videos, and attended the seminars. However, for me, nothing has seemed to work quite as well, nor be used as often, as some simple little one-liners. Such as Oh...Fertilizer!

Last week, while out on one of my regular outdoor adventures with the Take A Hike youth, I once again managed to totally disregard my best judgement. In spite of obvious body/brain signs that I had recently caught either a cold or flu bug, knowing full well that I should stay home to rest and nurture this aging infrastructure, I did the exact opposite. For over six hours, on a chilly and windy day, I pushed myself to pedal hard and keep up with the young'uns on an all day bike hike. As my huffing increased and my energy lowered, something told me that I was going to pay for this, big time. I thought: "Oh...Shit! Now I'm really going to catch that cold or flu."

Sure enough, by the next morning I was dragging a now aching, energy-drained ol' body around the house, coughing and sniffling, even snivelling for a wee bit of sympathy from my wife. Those sympathy-snivels however were relatively short-lived, as I soon realized, wimpishly, that I was experiencing only a fraction of the pain she endures during her debilitating migraines. So I said to myself: "Self, get a grip! This is not death, it's only a cold. Deal with it!" So, sensing this could be one of those magic moments for utilizing some of those positive-attitude aids I'd accumulated, I laid down and watched a short video. Oh...Fertilizer!

At first, the video appeared to be a bit too deep for what my current give-it-to-me-simple state of mind desired. But given it was part of a larger resource set that I've been thoroughly enjoying, I stuck with it through all the jargon and big six-cylinder words. The presenter, Fred Kofman, was explaining that in many situations what looks to us like a challenge or curse, is actually an opportunity for the true fibre of our character to shine forth and grow. What we normally call adversity is actually a gift. So instead of worrying about the issue or outcome, we should use the situation as an opportunity to show our true colours, and learn from it. Then came the clincher. My ol' aching bones and brain immediately perked up when he announced that he had a simple (right up my alley) suggestion for shifting our attitude in times of challenge. Instead of saying Oh...Shit, say Oh...Fertilizer.

So I did. I moved from snivelling to solving, and it worked. Within 24 hours, assisted by a few potions and procedures that have worked for me in the past, along with my new-found "fertilizer" attitude, I beat the cold bug. Now, I fully realize that this little tale of mine may not rank right up there with the impact of the Gettysburg Address, but with any luck it may give you just a wee bit of extra ammunition next time you face a challenge. That is if you happen to like having some simple one-liners for support.

Oh, oh. My computer just started acting up and I think I may have a problem. Oh...Fertilizer! This could be a great opportunity to learn some new computer troubleshooting skills.

My thanks to Mark Gauvin, Ian Broadfoot, Prakash Arige, Wilma Leung, Herman Rebneris, David Smith, Kameswari Mala, Clint Zirk, John Chepil, Matt Van Nostrand, Jay Lewis, Brent Wilker, Kim Hauner, Shaun Martin, Ken Sawatsky, Mona Lemoine, Christine Reid, Shawna Henderson, and Hal Richmond 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

Housing Market Outlook For Canada: Second Quarter 2010
CMHC Canadian Housing Market Outlook provides information on housing trends and forecasts. It says after a robust start to 2010, housing starts will moderate in the last three quarters of 2010 to total 182,00 in 2010. In 2011, housing starts will decline to 179,600. (PDF)

Provincial Outlook Economic Forecast: Spring 2010
Conference Board Of Canada Provincial Outlook Spring 2010 quarterly economic forecast provides highlights of short-term outlook for Canada's provinces. It says British Columbia and Ontario will lead all other provinces this year, as firmer external demand is supporting a strong rebound for those provinces. Free site registration required.

Metro Vancouver Housing Cycles From 2006 To 2021
Bob Rennie of Rennie Marketing Systems describes housing market cycles in the Metro Vancouver Region from 2006 through to 2021. (PDF)

BC Residential Renovation Survey
You are invited to participate in this Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC survey that asks questions about the nature and extent of residential renovation in BC.

Intelligent Buildings Technologies Market Size In North America 2010
Continental Automated Buildings Association large building research project: Intelligent and Integrated Buildings Technologies: Market Size in North America 2010, provides an in depth analysis of the growing North American markets available for integrated and converged intelligent building control systems ranging from environmental control technologies, to fire detection, to security, to lighting systems, to IT convergence.

Online Tool For Analysing Canadian Housing Data
CMHC tool, Housing in Canada Online, is an interactive tool that incorporates CMHC's data on housing conditions and core housing needs in 2006, 2001, 1996, and 1991. It allows analysis of housing conditions and creation of tables that highlight the relationships, variables, and geographic areas that may be of interest to you.

Online Canadian Affordable Housing Tools
Conference Board of Canada provides online affordable housing tools which can be used by government, the private sector, and civil society to mobilize stakeholders to expand the supply of good quality, affordable housing.

2. Business Management

What BC Builders & Renovators Need To Know About HST
CHBA BC & Canada Revenue Agency online slide show from their HST webinar to industry covers key issues regarding the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax, including grand-parenting rules, rebates, renovations, and specific application to builders and renovators. (PDF)

Purchasable Book On US Builders Cost of Doing Business
US National Association of Home Builders book Cost of Doing Business Study 2010 Edition, summarizes a survey of builder financial data. The study provides builders the opportunity to evaluate their financial performance compared with the industry as a whole and with builders of similar type and size. Readers can see how they measure up against industry-wide averages in areas including: gross margin and net profit, cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and financial ratios. $150 USD

2009 Remodeling Business Benchmarking Survey
Remodeling magazine 2009 Business Benchmarking survey provides remodelers with a baseline for comparing themselves with similar companies.

Web 2.0 In The Built Environment
Be2camp is for people interested in how the latest web applications and web design techniques (Web 2.0; eg: RSS, blogs, Twitter, Wikis, etc) could help build a better, more sustainable built environment including planning, design, construction, even occupation and management of buildings, infrastructure, landscape, and more.

Online Calculator For Deck Materials
Fine Homebuilding online calculator allows you to enter width and length of deck, choose decking type, fasteners, and railing style, to see what materials will cost.

Online Information Center For Small Business
Small Business Management Knowledge Base is a free resource of business management with guides, worksheets and checklists that cover practically every aspect of small business management.

New Construction Software Suite
Corecon Construction management software has announced a new product, Corecon v7. Integrated with Quickbooks and Simply Accounting. It is a web-based suite of software for construction estimating, project management, job cost control, and scheduling. Contact Ian Broadfoot at 604-224-1366, or

3. Building Design & Trends

Concept House Advances Senior Living
Custom Home magazine describes the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging's new idea house that predicts the future of senior housing.

Design Ideas For Entryways
Builder Magazine offers online design ideas for a memorable front door that can provide lots of bang for your buck.

2010 Winners Of Kitchen & Bath Design Competition
National Kitchen & Bath Association provides online photographs from the winners of their 2010 NKBA Design Competition.

Kitchen Designs To Match Personalities
Intermind Design displays examples of kitchens they have designed based on the personalities of the homeowners, as well as their needs, preferences, and sensibilities.

14 Features Homeowners Want In 2010
HGTV Pro describes 14 features homeowners want In 2010, saying the homeowner of today is looking for a home that fits the entire family, from a multi-tasking home office, to expanding storage space needs, to a living room that can adapt to advancements in home entertainment and technology.

2010 BC Lower Mainland renOVATION Award Winners
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association Renovation Council describes winners of its inaugural renOVATION Awards, that honour excellence in home-renovation design and construction.

NEWBuildS Studying 12-Storey Wood Frame Structures
Journal of Commerce article says wooden buildings in Canada could get a lot taller as a result of work by a newly formed construction research group. A consortium of 40 researchers from nine universities across Canada called NEWBuildS has been established to focus on innovative wood products and building systems.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Neil Ziola, President of Surelock Builders says: "As always I enjoyed this month's BC Building Info. Keep up the good job."

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

New 2010 BC Code For High Efficiency Toilets & Urinals
BC Ministry of Housing describes their new high-efficiency toilet (HET) and urinal (HEU) requirements in the BC Building Code. Effective October 4, 2010, HETs or dual-flush toilets will now be required in all new residential buildings (or when major renovations occur). Whenever urinals are installed, HEUs will also be required.

BC Code Interpretation On Combustible Foam Plastic On Exterior Walls
Building Officials Association of BC code interpretation on combustible components in exterior walls of sprinklered Part 3 buildings describes when foam plastic insulation can be used and when it must be protected (PDF)

Substantial Reconstruction Requires HPO Documentation
Homeowner Protection Office describes when a project is considered to be substantially reconstructed so it is no longer considered a renovation, and when it requires HPO documentation.

Purchasable Book On BC Electrical Code Simplified
BC Government sells Electrical Code Simplified which offers a simplified version of our Canadian Electrical Code and the British Columbia Amendments and Bulletins. It is divided into 33 sections, each dealing with a specific phase of the electrical installation. $16.95

New Canadian Energy Efficiency Regulations For Line Voltage Thermostats
Natural Resources Canada describes proposed energy efficiency regulations for line voltage thermostats to come into effect on January 1, 2012. These cover minimum performance requirements for droop, differential, and precision.

New Canadian Specifications For Energy Star Windows Amendment March 2010
Canadian Window & Door Manufacturers Association bulletin from Natural Resources Canada contains some amendments to the Energy Star Initiative For Residential Windows, Doors and Skylights. (PDF)

Codes, Standards & Regulations In Canadian Geothermal Heat Pump Industry
Canadian GeoExchange Coalition report summarizes a national consultation conducted to assess the effectiveness of codes, standards & regulations in the Canadian geothermal heat pump industry. (PDF)

2010 Updates To MasterFormat Specifications
Construction Specifications Institute and Construction Specifications Canada have announced 2010 updates to MasterFormat, used to organize construction documents for commercial, industrial and institutional building projects in the United States and Canada.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Understanding Attic Ventilation
    Building Science digest describes how attics or roofs can be designed and constructed to be either vented or unvented in any hygro-thermal zone, and that the choice of venting or not venting is a design and construction choice not a requirement determined by the physics or by the building code.

    Guide To Attic Air Sealing & Roof Ventilation
    Building Science says attics should be air sealed prior to adding insulation. Adding insulation alone does not save much energy and can lead to durability problems. This guide provides information for the air sealing and roof ventilation prep work necessary prior to adding attic insulation. (PDF)

    Air Barriers & Their Effect On Energy Consumption
    Morrison Hershfield paper Air Barriers & Their Effect on Energy Consumption describes how, from material selection and proper detailing, to construction quality control and commissioning, numerous factors contribute to the effectiveness of an air barrier and its ability to reduce energy consumption. Free registration required.

    Overview Of Enclosure & Structural
    Green Building Advisor describes how and why the roof, walls, and foundation enclose the house, and the choices we make on these three parts of the structure might be the most important decisions we make. All have to accomplish the same things: stop air, slow the movement of heat, shed water, and dry out so that the building won't support mold growth and rot. The priorities of roof, walls, and foundations, however, are very different.

    Evolution Of Modern Building Enclosures
    Building Science online slide show describes the evolution of the modern building enclosure including functions, problems, and solutions. (PDF)

    Canadian Housing Research Projects Update
    CMHC Spring 2010 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

    Designing Concrete Basement Walls For Soil Pressures
    Journal of Light Construction explains how wall thickness, rebar, and proper drainage all affect the ability of poured concrete foundation walls to resist lateral soil pressure. (PDF)

    Concrete Delamination
    Concrete Network describes delaminations in concrete slabs, what causes them, and gives ways on how to avoid them.

    Efflorescence Is A Sign Of A Foundation With Water Damage
    Green Building Advisor podcast describes efflorescence, the white powder found on porous masonry, such as brick, concrete, or mortar, and that it is a sign of water carrying salt that will eventually cause spalling. In new construction you can prevent it, in old houses you can only control it.

    ECM Motor Efficiency May Be Better Or Worse
    Building Science says electrically commutated motors (ECM) in air-handler fans promise improved efficiency, but describes how improved technology may not necessarily mean efficient HVAC systems.

    Energy Rating Of Insulated Wall Assemblies
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction has developed a simple tool for determining the Wall Energy Rating (WER) of walls constructed according to field practices.

    Energy Savings Overestimated For Ground Source Heat Pumps
    Fine Homebuilding article says a realistic estimate of the COP performance of typical, real-world, installed whole-system ground source heat pumps is about 2. Unfortunately this means that the geothermal heat pump actually will burn significantly more fossil fuel than a high-efficiency gas or oil boiler or furnace.

    Evaluation Of Proprietary Drainage Components & Sheathing
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction is doing research to develop appropriate design guidelines and appropriate use of membranes and drainage components in selected wall assemblies for specified climate zones based on their drainage and drying potential.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Blog On Water Efficiency
    Green Building Advisor blog on water efficiency covers information, issues and resources on everything from products to practice to policy.

    Guidelines For Selection & Operation Of Residential Solar Shading Devices
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction online guidelines for the selection and operation of residential solar shading devices describe how to reduce overheating in summer and heat losses in winter. (PDF)

    GHG Emissions Of Canadian Residential Heating Systems
    Canadian GeoExchange Coalition, Canada’s national industry association for ground source heat pump technology, offers a research report on comparative analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of various residential heating systems in the Canadian provinces. (PDF)

    Technology & Industry Requirements For Deep Energy Retrofits
    Building Science Corporation hosted a meeting of experts to forecast the future of deep energy retrofits. This summary Report on the Expert Meeting for Details for Deep Energy Retrofit identifies knowledge gaps within the industry to be addressed, research gaps, and code constraints. (PDF)

    Worst Metric In Renewables Is The Payback Period
    Renewable Energy World article says The Payback Period is the least useful and most stupid metric to discuss investments, and its paralyzing the renewable energy industry.

    Environmental Management In Construction Course In Vancouver
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association 1-day course on Environmental Management in Construction on June 15th covers construction monitoring, contaminated sites, environmental management plans, and more.

    Course On Carbon Neutral Buildings In Victoria
    Cascadia Region Green Building Council course on carbon neutral buildings has been created for owners, operators, and designers to explore what carbon neutrality means in the context of building and neighbourhood design and operation.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Recall Of Maytag Dishwashers
    Maytag Corporation, in cooperation with the Electrical Safety Authority and Health Canada, announced a voluntary recall of certain Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air, Admiral, Magic Chef, Performa by Maytag, and Crosley brand dishwashers.

    Luxury Alive & Well At 2010 Kitchen & Bath Show
    Builder Magazine online video shows some luxury kitchen and bath products that were displayed at the 2010 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.

    Spray-On Water-Resistive Barriers
    Green Building Advisor describes spray-on water-resistive barriers that protect wall sheathing with a waterproof, airtight coating that still allows a wall to dry to the exterior.

    2010 Editor's Choice Awards For Tools
    Tools Of The Trade describe selections for their 2010 Editors Choice Awards for leadership and innovation in tool design.

    Search For Certified Lighting Professionals
    National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions offers online search for certified lighting professionals throughout North America.

    Suppliers Of Integrated HVAC Systems
    Green Building Advisor describes features and sources of various integrated HVAC systems that may include space heating, ventilation, and domestic hot water within one unit.

    Controlling Silica Exposures In Construction
    Controlling Silica Exposures in Construction contains information and guidelines for risk managers to implement in the workplace. It outlines levels of exposure that OSHA considers acceptable, and recommends that risk managers routinely measure the air quality at job sites in order to determine what amount of risk workers are facing.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Installing Step Flashing
    Fine Homebuilding describes how to install step flashing for roofs.

    Installing Lead Counter Flashing For Chimney
    YouTube online video demonstrates a method for cutting, bending, and fitting lead counterflashing for a brick chimney.

    How To Install A Ground Cover
    Oikos Green Building Library describes how to install a ground cover in crawlspaces, basements and garages with exposed soil.

    Refrigeration & Startup For AC Equipment Efficiency
    Building Science says performance of the cooling system will be evaluated and assured through a series of measurements including: air flow, pressures, temperatures, humidity levels, and power draw. They describe procedures that should be followed for line set installation and system startup.

    Removing A Structural Chimney
    Journal of Light Construction describes how to remove a structural chimney. (PDF)

    Inspecting A Window Installation For Air Leaks
    Green Building Advisor says windows can be the hardest part of a house to seal because they span so many layers of materials. In a superinsulated house, it's even trickier. Learn best practices in this online video with building scientist Dr. Joe Lstiburek.

    Snake Wire Through Old Walls
    Fine Homebuilding online video shows how to snake wire through narrow wall cavities filled with plaster.

    Online Videos On Decorative Concrete Repair
    Concrete Network online videos describe reasons behind common decorative concrete problems, how problems can be avoided, and offers suggestions for solutions.

    10. Information Sources

    Canadian Ask The Expert Service On Hydronic Heating
    Canadian Hydronics Council online Ask The Expert service allows consumers, contractors and inspectors to ask any question and receive a knowledgeable answer about hydronic heating.

    Online Presentations From Northern Housing Conference
    Northern Housing Forum offers online presentations from sessions that were delivered at the Forum.

    Technical Articles On Space Heating & Cooling
    Oikos Green Building Library supplies list of technical articles on space heating & cooling

    HVAC Technical Papers & Guidelines
    Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association offers technical papers and guidelines relating to HVAC systems and components.

    Building & Environmental Problems & Repairs
    InspectAPedia is an online encyclopedia of building and environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis and repair. It describes how to inspect, test for, correct, and prevent a wide range of building defects, hazards, and building environmental hazards.

    Online Resources For Business Intelligence
    Internet Annotated Link Compilation white paper titled Business Intelligence Online Resources is a 75 page research paper listing selected resources both new and existing for online business intelligence. Each source is described along with the URL address that can be accessed. Also a comprehensive Business Intelligence link compilation is included. (PDF)

    11. Conferences & Shows

    Annual Conference On Rental Housing In Vancouver June 14-15
    Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations holds annual conferences to discuss housing policy and tax policy to recommend best courses of action policy makers.

    Annual Conference On Quality In Toronto Aug 23-25
    Canadian Quality Congress is an annual building industry conference providing educational and networking opportunities.

    12. Education & Training

    BC Tax Credits For Employee Training
    Canada Revenue Agency describes British Columbia Training Tax Credit policy for paid salary or wages after December 31, 2006, to an employee enrolled in a prescribed training program administered through the British Columbia Industry Training Authority. (PDF)

    On Building Information Modeling For Subcontractors Seminar In Vancouver
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association half-day session on May 28th is geared towards the needs of and processes involved in the BIM workflow directly towards subcontractors. The Workshop exposes participants to the tools that design professionals are using as well as tools geared specifically towards post-design activities. These tools will enable the use of the rich BIM data for design review, cost estimation, job specific modeling and coordination of other trades.

    Online Webinars On Radiant Heating
    Radiant Panel Association offers online webinars on a wide range of topics relating to radiant heating design, installation, and business management.

    Courses From Electrical Suppliers
    British Columbia Electrical Association lists courses and educational resources offered by electrical industry suppliers.

    Hearth Industry Training Materials
    Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Education Foundation offers educational courses and resources for those in the hearth industry.

    Urban Design Certificate Program At SFU
    Simon Fraser University Urban Design Certificate Program provides education in urban design to early and mid-career professionals. Delivered in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, the courses are taught by leading urban design professionals and focus on current western Canadian urban design issues. Knowledge acquired is applicable to small, mid-sized, and large communities.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Free Password Manager
    Password Safe is an open-source password manager that is flexible, secure, and easy to use.

    Make Google Maps For Multiple Addresses
    Batch Geo online tool makes Google maps from a spreadsheet of multiple addresses. Great for organizing sales calls or visits to multiple places, all on one map.

    Copier Caution
    Working the 9-to-5 office drill can drive you a little batty, unless you look for ways to liven things up a bit. Just don't take it too far, as this guy does in one of the classic office pranks.

    Dittie For Today: On Happiness

    A great obstacle to happiness is expecting too much of it. - Bernard de Fontanelle

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    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada