Alert Notice #33
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 July 26, 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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When The Student Is Ready The Teacher Will Appear

As many of you may have guessed, since I'm forever babbling and bragging about it, Gramps Heaven is anywhere and everywhere yours truly happens to be when accompanied by either of his Grandkids. The setting for this particular adventure was a cabin on an idyllic little lake, a destination chosen by Daddy's Little Girl for our annual summer getaway. Needless to say (but I will) this special time with my daughter, and now with her offspring as well, is something I look forward to every year. Not only do we get to visit some very cool camping spots, soak up the sun, overdose on treats, and explore the locales. But we also, much to my joy, always manage to find time to openly discuss whatever issues and/or ideas that happen to come to mind. And it's usually during these wonderful Father-Daughter discussions, if I'm awake, when one or more unique learning opportunities come my way. This year did not disappoint.

To put this situation into proper context, you have to appreciate that our angelic little three-year-old Granddaughter Kate has now reached that inevitable, devil-in-disguise, patience-testing stage where she thrives on pushing the boundaries. Which means, unfortunately for me, there are now increasingly frequent occasions when Gramps is challenged to transform himself from doting ol' dude into disciplinarian. And believe you me, I carry that responsibility seriously...for good reason. Because I know full well that if I don't, I myself will become the reluctant recipient of some child-rearing discipline, loving provided by Daddy's Little Girl. Such is our wonderful relationship.

So, each time my little Kate-Angel proceeded to test a boundary, I truly did attempt to come up with an appropriate response. Whether she was pinching, poking, or teasing her baby brother, or playing games with a preference for winning rather than fairness (a trait not unique to her, nor childhood), or stretching the truth when attempting to assure me that "Mommy said it's OK" (do you remember using that line?), I did my best. Unfortunately, "my best" wasn't working. It wasn't working for my wee angel-devil, as she continued to press forward, even harder. Plus, it wasn't working for me, as I could feel myself getting increasingly frustrated and emotional. It was time for Teacher to arrive.

Mommy, being ever-observant as both mother and daughter, quickly picked up on ol' Gramps' dilemma and came to the rescue. Did she ever! Within 5 minutes, in her calm, firm, logical way, she had me understanding the cause of my rising frustrations, along with a very simple solution. Turns out most of my frustration was really caused by the humbling fact that I couldn't figure out how to get wee angel-devil to listen to me, or do what I wanted (sound familiar?). The solution was oh so simple...and it's a keeper. When faced with situations where Angel's behaviour is inappropriate, or not meeting certain standards, simply discuss things in terms of her "making proper choices" rather than "do what you are told". One is choice, the other is force. And guess what? It worked like a charm, for both Angel and Gramps. But there's more.

Early next morning, while blissfully sitting alone by the lake, totally mesmerized by the sun beginning to rise softly over the horizon, it hit me. Aha! Choice versus force! That's "The Answer" to another challenging, frustrating situation that I've been dealing with at work (yes, I do work, sometimes). It dawned on me that using this new-found choice-strategy was by far the best way to properly address some significant shortcomings in a particular individual's performance. At that precise moment I felt every bit as exhilarated as I did way back in school, in one of those rare moments when I realized that I knew the right answer to the exam question. So there you have it. Over 60, still a student, joyfully attending the School Of Gramps Heaven, with my daughter as my teacher. Who could possibly ask for more?

For some reason I have this strange feeling that somewhere way out there, at least one of my old high-school teachers is grinning in his grave, thinking "Well it's about time, Ken".

My thanks to Rob Dumont, Wilma Leung, Debbie Lillejord, Brent Wilker, Jeanette Wilkinson, Jeff Melvin, Amy Spencer-Chubey, John Chepil, Barbara Young, Keith Roberts, Wendy McNeil, Pierre Proulx, William Peters, Jennifer Shaw, John Davies, Herman Rebneris, Courtenay Barnett, Jen Smith, Peter Sundberg, Fiona Harris, and Kris Walton for their comments, tips, and resources. I hope you find at least a wee bit of value somewhere in this newsletter.

Have a "Top Drawer" day.

Ken Farrish

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1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Second Quarter 2010 BC Housing Forecast
BC Real Estate Association Second Quarter 2010 BC Housing Forecast includes information on MLS residential sales, housing starts, mortgage rates, and regional real estate board statistics and forecasts. (PDF)

BC Economist Says Industry To See Slow Down This Year
Construction Business online video of Helmut Pastrick, Chief Economist for Central 1 Credit Union says he sees a natural slow down in the construction industry this year and into 2011 due to the spill-over of the weak US economy, the new HST in B.C. and the stricter mortgage laws and interest rates. But a few years down the road, he thinks the pace will pick back up again.

HST Resources For BC Builders & Buyers
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC provides links to information and resources for builders and buyers on the HST.

HST Considerations For Contractors
Ron Coleman of Coleman Management Services provides an overview of HST for construction and specialty contracting firms operating in Ontario & British Columbia. (PDF)

Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update August 2010
Canadian Home Builders Association Economic Update for August 2010 offers information on international, national and regional economic trends of interest to the home building industry. (PDF)

2010 Canadian Renovation & Home Purchase Reports
CMHC renovation and home purchase reports are based on surveys conducted on selected Canadian centres. They provide information on renovation projects undertaken, homes purchased in the prior year, intentions to buy or renovate, motivations or barriers, price range of homes, as well as important demographics, income, tenure, and location information.

Canadian Construction Overview
Reed Construction Data online presentation provides an overview of statistics for all sectors of the Canadian Construction industry. (PDF)

What Women Want In New Homes
US National Association of Home Builders says as many as 91% of all home buying decisions are made primarily by women, and helpful new research from the National Association of Realtors can help builders understand exactly what this overwhelmingly important consumer segment cares about most.

2. Business Management

Information Technology Trends For Builders In Next Decade
US National Association of Home Builders describes how the role technology will play in a builder’s operation will become increasingly important in the next decade.

Managing By The Numbers
Journal of Light Construction describes the basic principles of management accounting for builders and renovators, by using your numbers to look forward, not just backward. (PDF)

Profile Of Typical US Single-Family Builder In 2009
US National Association of Home Builders study employs data from an annual census of its members to construct detailed profiles of particular subsets of the home building community, including single-family home builders.

Checklist For Determining Suitability Of Renovation Client
Remodeling magazine describes a form that helps remodelers assess whether a prospect will be a good fit for their company.

BC Government Site On Human Resources For Small Business
WorkBC is a BC Ministry of Small Business & Revenue site that offers an Employer Tool Kit, as well as online tools to help BC employers build and improve their employee recruitment, retention and leadership practices.

Online Calculator For Concrete Pier Foundations
Fine Homebuilding online calculator determines how much concrete you'll need for a pier foundation.

Online Materials Estimator For Drop Ceiling Grids & Tiles
ACP Ideas offers online tool for estimating tile & grid materials needed for various types of drop-ceilings.

3. Building Design & Trends

Design Options For Staircases
Builder Magazine shows some options for good design and interesting materials for staircases.

8 Inspiring Kitchen Trends for 2010
HGTV Pro describes some of the latest trends in kitchen design that include color combinations like classic white with espresso and natural tones, open designs that flow seamlessly into other rooms, specialized storage systems such as pull-out shelves and baskets, and professional-grade appliances that offer energy efficiency with luxury features.

Fresh Ideas For Creating Outdoor Spaces
Custom Home magazine describes some creative outdoor spaces loaded with imaginative structures, pools, and hardscaping.

Use Of BIM On Construction Jobsite
In this For Construction Pros podcast, a general contractor discusses how they are integrating BIM technology on the jobsite and the benefits it provides. With the advent of tablet computers, making the leap is easier than ever.

2010 Custom Home Design Award Winners
Custom Home Magazine provides online slide shows and descriptions of their 2010 Custom Home Design Award winners.

2010 Winners Of US Remodeling Awards
Chrysalis Awards honour the finest remodeling projects in the US that reflect the professional excellence of the residential and commercial remodeling industry. Their 2010 award winning projects are described here.

2010 Residential Architect Design Awards Winners
Residential Architect Magazine displays their 2010 Residential Architect Design Awards winners.

Call for Entries For 2010 Annual BC Georgie Awards
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC has released the Call for Entries for the 19th Annual Georgie Awards. (PDF)

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Rob Dumont, President of Dumont & Associates says: "I do enjoy your regular e-mails. Keep up the good work."

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Get Notification Of Regulation Changes From BC Safety Authority
BC Safety Authority can provide you with notifications of the latest regulation changes, alerts, and news via email or on your cellphone.

Policy Issues On New Canadian Energy Efficiency Requirements For Buildings
Canadian Home Builders Association letter to Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes describes its issues with policy direction on new energy efficiency requirements for both large and small buildings. (PDF)

High Cost Impacts Of New Canadian National Energy Code For Buildings
Canadian Home Builders Association is very concerned that the estimated cost impacts resulting from the proposed new National Energy Code for Buildings are unrealistic. This new Code will affect new apartment buildings over 4 stories in height as well as larger commercial buildings. (PDF)

New Canadian Energy Efficiency Regulations For Air Source Heat Pumps
Natural Resources Canada describes new Energy Efficiency Regulations for air source heat pumps that will improve cold climate performance and provide greater choice for buyers of these heat pumps.

Updated ASHRAE IAQ Standard Will Ease Home Retrofits
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers recently published the 2010 version of its residential ventilation standard. The latest edition, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2010, Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings, includes many updates and addenda since the previous version, published in 2007.

Current Canadian Standards Undergoing Public Review
Canadian Standards Association offers online access to public review documents relating to various standards that are undergoing development and updating.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Technical Properties Of Common Building Materials
Building Science Corporation table lists some of the key technical properties of the most common building materials, including water vapour permeability, hydrostatic pressure resistance, smoke development, air permeability, water adsorption, flame spread, and mold growth index.

Aggregates In Concrete
Concrete Network describes how aggregates in concrete mix design can change the character and performance of a concrete mix.

Air Sealing Using Air Tight Drywall Approach
Building Science describes, with detailed drawings, how and where to air seal different parts of a house using the air tight drywall (ADA) approach.

Basics Of Open & Closed Cell Spray Foams
Green Building Advisor describes features and benefits of both open and closed cell spray foams.

Crawlspaces, Slabs & Flooring
Building Science online slide show presentation by Dr. John Straube describes issues and solutions for crawlspaces, slabs and flooring. (PDF)

Technical Reports On Conditioned Crawlspaces
Building Science offers online access to their technical reports on various issues and procedures for building effective conditioned crawlspaces.

Understanding Building Loads
Fine Homebuilding describes types of building loads, those forces that a house frame needs to resist. The frame must be designed to withstand loads that include dead & live, wind & seismic, snow & rain, flood & earth.

6. Building Performance Issues

Fixing Concrete Countertop Problems
Concrete Network give in-depth answers to common problems associated with concrete Countertops.

Thermal Bridging Short Circuits Insulation
Fine Homebuilding interactive graphic illustrates how heat flows around insulation and through the framing members in a wall, roof, or floor.

Can Exterior Foam Insulation Cause Mold & Moisture Problems?
Green Building Advisor discusses whether rigid foam insulation on the outside of a house will trap moisture, causing mold and decay.

Safety Alert For Antifreeze In Residential Sprinklers
National Fire Protection Association issued a safety alert related to buildings equipped with residential fire sprinkler systems containing antifreeze solutions. Following a recent fatal fire incident which prompted a research study and a series of fire tests, concerns have been raised about the potential for the antifreeze solution in the residential fire sprinkler system to ignite in certain fire situations.

Tests Of Water Penetration Through Wall-Window Interfaces
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction reports on results obtained from laboratory testing of two sets of wall-window interface details and variations on their implementation, that are representative of residential and light commercial window installation practice in the US. Results from these tests indicate that the window installations details of the type assessed in this study are adequate to manage even the most significant rainfall events as might occur in North America. (PDF)

Combustion Safety & Worst Case Depressurization Test
Green Building Advisor describes how to perform a depressurization or spillage test in order to make sure that if all the exhaust fans in a home are running, you don't end up with dangerous exhaust inside the living space.

Finishing Basement Wall To Avoid Moisture Condensation
Journal of Light Construction Q & A provides description on detailing a wall in a finished basement to avoid moisture condensation.

Online Video On Preventing Home Ignitions From Wildfire
National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Protection Program online video explains how houses burn in a wildfire situation and how to keep them from catching fire.

Sample Durability Plan For Buildings
Morrison Hershfield provides a Sample Durability Plan that has been adapted from CSA S478-95 (R2001) titled, Guidelines on Durability in Buildings. Free registration required.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

New Green Renovation Guide From Built Green Canada
Canadian Built Green Renovation Program & Guide focuses on single family and row house dwellings. It is a reference for renovator members enrolled in the Built Green program, and contains more than 290 Action Items to choose from and functions as a menu of environmentally friendly Action Items to include in your renovation project. (DOC)

New Vancouver Building Rezonings Required To Be LEED Gold
Vancouver City Council approved a policy that requires all new building rezonings to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard, the highest green building standard for rezonings in North America. The change takes effect January 31, 2011.

Course In Vancouver On LEED Canada For New Constructions 2009
Cascadia Region Green Building Council one day interactive workshop LEED Canada for New Constructions 2009 in Vancouver on September 23 provides a technical review of the LEED Canada NC 2009 Rating System.

Smart Meters Also Need Energy Use Feedback Tools
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy report says consumers could cut their household electricity use as much as 12 percent and save $35 billion or more over the next 20 years if utilities go beyond simple smart meter initiatives to include a wide range of energy-use feedback tools that get consumers more involved in the process of using less energy.

Publications On Climate Change
Natural Resources Canada Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Division (CCIAD) has produced a number of publications for various audiences. These publications include assessment reports that document recent science and examine key adaptation issues across Canada, policy-relevant documents for decision-makers of all levels, and posters, CDs, and maps for educational purposes and the general public.

Presentations From Civil Engineers Conference On Climate Change
Institute of Civil Engineers offers free access to presentations on sustainability made at their recent conference, Engineers @ the Heart of Society: Collaborating + Innovating for Our Common Future.

Online Global Green Expo
Global Green Expo on August 5th is an online event designed to place information, peers and solution providers at your fingertips. It includes keynote addresses, continuing education, chat lines, demonstrations & exhibits, and networking with your peers.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Recall Of GE Front Load Washers
Canadian Consumer Product Safety Program recall involves certain models of GE front load washing machines without auxiliary water heating. The units are white, have a round door, and a control panel that is unique to the recalled models.

Innovative Tools & Building Products Of 2010
Journal of Light Construction presents their annual selection of problem solving tools and materials for 2010. (PDF)

10 Products & Systems For The Future
Custom Home magazine describes 10 new products, and says that in home building's future, new products and technologies will focus on water, energy, and sustainability.

Top 100 Bathroom Products
eBuild describes their Top 100 Bathroom Products, showing showers are the new bathroom retreat.

Remodelers Choice 100 Products For 2010
Qualified Remodeler magazine describes the Remodelers Choice 2010 Top 100 Products that were featured and requested in their magazine over the past year.

Online Tool To Select Adhesives & Sealants
Adhesive and Sealant online TechSelect Tool helps you select proper adhesives and sealants. By answering a series of online questions, you narrow choices based on a particular application. This process yields a list of formulated technologies and specific companies to contact for more information or to answer technical questions.

Hiring A Professional Engineer Or Geoscientist In BC
Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia provides information to help determine if your project requires the services of a professional engineer or professional geoscientist. It covers what APEGBC can do for you, how to find out if the prospective engineer or geoscientist is licensed to practice in BC, how to avoid problems and deal with problems that may arise. (PDF)

Rebate On EnerChoice Gas Fireplaces
Terasen Gas is offering $150 rebate on EnerChoice natural gas fireplaces if you purchase and install one by March 31, 2011.

9. Installation Procedures

5 Ways To Build Better Homes For Less Money
Builder Magazine says a focus on high-performance, energy-efficient housing may finally push advanced engineering and framing techniques into common practice.

Cutting A Door
Fine Homebuilding online video shows how to cut a door by protecting the surface using masking tape and a utility knife to prevent tearout, and how to position and clamp a straightedge to get an accurate cut every time.

How To Install Exhaust Fan Ducts
Oikos Green Building Library describes how to install exhaust fan ducts using smooth metal duct material, install short & straight runs, and making a positive connection to the outside.

Refrigerant Charge & Why You Should Care
Building Science provides a brief explanation of system charging, superheat and subcooling including results of improper charging.

How Concrete Is Poured & Placed
Concrete Network provides a step-by-step overview of placing concrete on residential projects.

Field Notching & Drilling Of Glued Laminated Timber Beams
Engineered Wood Association technical note Field Notching and Drilling of Glued Laminated Timber Beams covers recommendations for field notching, tapering and drilling glulam beams. Free site registration required.

Using Google SketchUp To Draw Wainscoting
You Tube online video describes a very fast and efficient way to draw wainscoting from scratch, using the free Google SketchUp program.

10. Information Sources

Experts Answer Specification Questions In Forums
Construction Specifications Institute expert members take questions about specifications, construction documentation, and CSI in these discussion forums.

BC Blog On Building Industry & Products
Common Nails is a blog covering BC building industry news and products. Its creator, John Davies, says his goal is to provide the most useful construction related information for professionals operating in the lower mainland area of British Columbia. Subscription is free.

Information & Resources For Building A Deck
Fine Homebuilding offers information and resources on deck design and construction. Some articles require site membership to view.

Industry Resource Site On Wood Deck Building
Southern Pine Council website offers professional deck builders information and resources on building safe, durable real wood decks.

Reports On Domestic Water Heating
Oikos Green Building Library offers information and reports on domestic water heating systems, issues, and procedures.

Online Videos On Installing Drywall
Canadian industry trainer Jon Eakes offers online videos on various topics relating to understanding and installing drywall.

11. Conferences & Shows

BC Building Envelope Conference In Vancouver
BC Building Envelope Council one-day conference in Vancouver on September 22nd will provide a forum for discussion of technical challenges, advances and opportunities posed by building enclosure systems as the industry moves towards increased demands in sustainable buildings.

Annual Conference For Canadian HVAC Industry
Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada annual industry meetings offer networking and educational opportunities. This year it is being held in Kananaskis, Alberta from August 19-21.

2010 National Home Inspector Conference
Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors 2010 National Conference will be held in Kelowna September 30th - October 2nd.

National Conference & Exposition For Building Owners & Managers
Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada annual BOMEX conference and trade show, taking place September 14-16 in Toronto, provides seminars and product displays for building owners and managers.

Vancouver Home & Interior Design Show
Vancouver Home & Interior Design Show, held September 9-12 at the new Vancouver Convention Centre, is an annual fall consumer home show featuring the latest design trends, products, and renovation resources.

2010 Remodeling Show In Baltimore
US National Association of Home Builders annual Remodelers Show will take place In Baltimore, September 14-18. It offers education sessions, networking opportunities, trade show, and more.

12. Education & Training

Building Information Modelling Workshop In Vancouver
Insight Information presents Building Information Modeling Forum in Vancouver, September 13-14. North American industry experts in the use of BIM and IPD, will cover a broad range of topics to assist you in understanding how highly BIM-enabled, collaborative projects can transform project delivery.

Canada Revenue Seminars In BC
Canada Revenue Agency offers tax-related events and seminars in various cities in British Columbia.

Free Online Webinars On Wood Design & Use
Woodworks offers free access to their webinars for architects and engineers on a wide range of topics relating to wood design and construction.

Webinar On Guide Specifications As Marketing Tool For Manufacturers
Construction Specifications Institute online course on September 21st is led by two experienced specifiers with expertise in guide specification writing. It will help suppliers identify whether a guide spec would be a valuable addition to the product literature. The course will offer insight into preparing documents that will be valuable to design professionals, contractors, and customers.

Online Ladder Safety Game For Residential Builders
WorkSafe BC online Ladder Challenge is an interactive safety game that lets you learn by doing. The game is set on a residential construction site, where you can put your ladder safety skills to the test, with a little help from the virtual foreman.

CEO Job Opening For Professional Builders Institute Of BC
Professional Builders Institute Association of British Columbia will evaluate and make decisions on applications for accreditation of education and training programs and their providers to satisfy builder licensing requirements for those builders building 1-4 units under part 9 of the BC Building Code. They currently have a job posting for Chief Executive Officer.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

178 Great Tips for Your PC
PC Pitstop offers 178 best tech tips submitted to them by their community.

Access & Download To 11,000 Radio Stations
Nexus Radio offers 15 million songs and a connection to 11,000+ radio stations free of charge. It promises no monthly fees and no spyware, malware, or adware. It is compatible with Windows Vista/XP/2000/2003/7 . You can also transfer the downloaded songs to your iPod, iPhone, or other multimedia device, create customized ringtones and profiles, tag music files, etc.

The Dash
In July 2006, a short 3-minute movie was launched on the Internet called The Dash. Since then, over 40 million people from around the world have watched it; and over 20,000 a day continue to watch it as a result of people passing it along. The movie has been more successful than could ever have been imagined. More importantly, however, it has inspired many, many people to reflect on their lives and ask that all important question, 'Are my priorities where they should be?' I hope you enjoy this 180 second movie and share it with all those who are close to you.

Dittie For Today: On Learning

Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, misfortune, red light, traffic jam, obnoxious supervisor (or employee), illness, loss, moment of joy or depression, addiction, piece of garbage and breath. - Charlotte Joko Beck

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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada