Alert Notice #34
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 August 31, 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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"Happy Birthday" he said. "Why don't you take a break today?" Hmmmm...I think maybe I'll do just that. See ya' next time!

My thanks to Jen Hicks, Ken Sawatsky, Greg Davis, Zigi Gadomski, Wilma Leung, George Pinch, Dave Stevenson, Jon Boggiano, Joanne DeVries, Ross Woolford, Andrea POW, Mary Hart, and Joel Forsyth 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

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

    British Columbia Business Outlook Spring 2010
    Conference Board of Canada online webinar British Columbia Business Outlook Spring 2010 explores the economic issues on the horizon for British Columbia. Free site registration required.

    BC Mortgage Rate Forecast
    BC Real Estate Association mortgage rate forecast says that while mortgage rates may trend lower in the near-term as financial markets digest the current economic environment, rates will ultimately resume their climb upward by the end of the year. (PDF)

    July 2010 Canadian Housing Starts
    CMHC says seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 189,200 units in July. The seasonally adjusted annual rate estimate of housing starts activity was revised up in June from 189,300 units to 192,300 units. This results in a month-over-month decrease of 1.6 per cent in July.

    Canadian New Housing Price Index For June 2010
    Statistics Canada New Housing Price Index rose 0.1% in June following a 0.3% increase in May.

    Canadian Provincial Economic Outlook
    Royal Bank of Canada Economics Research provides an economic overview of the Canadian provinces as of June 2010. It says at the provincial level, recent developments confirm that the growth switches have now been turned on in every province, alleviating earlier concerns that some provinces were at risk of being left in the dark. (PDF)

    Canada’s Residential Construction Industry Outlook Summer 2010
    Conference Board of Canada report Canada’s Residential Construction Industry: Industrial Outlook Summer 2010 examines the short-and medium-term economic and profitability outlook for Canada’s Residential Construction Industry. Free site registration required.

    US New-Home Sales Fall To Record Low In July
    US National Association of Home Builders says sales of newly built, single-family homes declined 12.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 276,000 units in July, according to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department today. This was the lowest sales rate for new homes on record.

    2010 Report On Canadian Housing Affordability & Accessibility
    Canadian Home Builders Association 2010 Report On Canadian Housing Affordability & Accessibility provides recommendations on key issues and options for improved affordability and accessibility. (PDF)

    2010 Housing Outlook Conference Coming To Vancouver On November 10th
    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 10th.

    2. Business Management

    50 Ways For Home Builders To Waste Money
    Builder Magazine says little things have a way of adding up, and in the current economy they could kill your business or they could save it.

    Remodelers Can Stop Competing On Price
    Qualified Remodeler article provides tips on how to market and sell your services so you don't have to compete on price only.

    BC Construction Job Store
    Residential Construction Industry Training Organization of BC online job store offers job listings for job seekers, and job posting opportunities for companies.

    Small Business Blog From Google
    Google Small Business Blog is a central hub that brings together all the information about Google products, features and projects of specific interest to the small business community.

    Free Software For Time Management & Customer Billing
    Easy Time Tracking is a powerful, yet extremely easy-to-use and free, time and expense tracking & customer billing application. It allows for tracking billable and non-billable hours, creating invoices & reports, managing customers, projects and tasks.

    Automated Parts Tracking On Construction Job Site
    National Institute of Standards and Technology report on Automated Part Tracking on the Construction Job Site project describes a web-based system for rapid tracking, identifying, and locating manufactured components on the construction jobsite. The approach involves the use of RFID and barcode identification systems, 3D long range coordinate measurement technologies, portable/wearable computers, wireless communications, high speed networking, temporal project databases, web-based data analysis, and 3D user interfaces to provide as-is and as-built component data at the actual construction site. (PDF)

    Purchasable BC Condominium Manual On Legal Issues
    BC Real Estate Association sells The Condominium Manual, an essential resource for condominium owners including strata council members and investors, as well as real estate professionals across BC. Using plain language, recent court cases and real life examples, this third edition covers everything regarding strata law. $50 CDN

    3. Building Design & Trends

    Goodbye Suburbs & Hello NewUrbs
    Green Building Advisor article Redeveloping Our Neighborhoods: Goodbye Suburbs, Hello NewUrbs, explains why 20th-century suburbs and shopping malls aren't the best use of land anymore and outlines some answers to our community development dilemmas.

    2010 Gold Nugget Award Winners Reflect Shifts In Housing Landscape
    US Gold Nugget Awards 2010 winners show houses, on the whole, are getting smaller, more economical, more energy-efficient, and more urban.

    Winners Of Audience Choice Awards For Integrated Homes
    HGTV Pro provides a sideshow of 36 homes that were Audience Choice Award winners for integrating technology into homes.

    Ten Trends From 2010 NKBA Design Competition
    National Kitchen & Bath Association describes the top 10 design trends from the 2010 NKBA Design Competition announced in April.

    Five Concepts For Kitchen Layout
    Fine Homebuilding article by designer and builder Sam Clark shares 5 key concepts to help you find the best configuration for cabinets, counters and appliances.

    9 Examples Of Outdoor Spaces
    HGTV Pro online slide show describes examples of outdoor spaces.

    Selecting Your Energy Source
    Natural Resources Canada provides information and resources to help you select the best energy source for your specific application.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Hugh Statham, President, Specialty Contracting, says: "Your website is quite a project. It's good reading".

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    Changes To BC Building Code Letters Of Assurance
    BC Building and Safety Standards Branch describes changes to Building Code Letters of Assurance, that have been made to help code oversight requirements keep pace with evolutions in construction practices and new code requirements for energy and water efficiency. (PDF)

    Municipal Pesticide Bylaws In BC
    BC Landscape & Nursery Association provides links to municipal pesticide bylaws for various municipalities in BC.

    Orders To Workers Who Violate WCB Regulations
    Guideline from WorkSafeBC for writing Orders to Workers describes how contractors and their supervisory staff can now inform workers about the shared safety responsibility in the workplace. It explains what the WorkSafeBC Officer needs to consider when the worker has been properly trained and supervised and still violates a WorkSafeBC health & safety regulation. (PDF)

    Resource Site For Tamper Resistant Receptacles
    Sponsored by the Electrical Equipment Manufacturers Association of Canada, four electrical industry players have launched a website in response to recent concerns over electrical receptacle-related injuries. The Child Safety Outlet website offers information on tamper-resistant receptacles and child safety, as well as providing information on products, emerging provincial code requirements, safety education, and statistics.

    BC Residential Tenancy Amendment Act, 2010
    BC government describes 2010 changes to the Residential Tenancy Act.

    Alberta Code Bulletin On Ductwork For Solid-Fuel Appliances
    Alberta STANDATA Code Bulletin on Ductwork Systems For Solid-Fuel Apliances has been developed to discuss an ongoing issue in the field with respect to solid-fuel appliance add-ons that allow for distribution of the heat from the appliance through a series of ducts, either independent or connected to existing ductwork systems serving fuel-fired appliances. (PDF)

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Groundwater Control
    Building Science describes how to best design and build water managed foundation systems.

    Constructing Moisture Resistant Foundations
    Engineered Wood Association describes steps to constructing moisture resistant foundations. (PDF)

    High-R Foundations Case Study Analysis
    Building Science report Building America Special Research Project, High-R Foundations Case Study Analysis considers a number of promising foundation and basement insulation strategies that can meet the requirement for better thermal control in colder climates while enhancing moisture control, health, and comfort.

    Guide To Open-Cell vs Closed-Cell Foam
    Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings online guide describes performance benefits and potential performance limitations of open-cell and closed-cell spray polyurethane foam. (PDF)

    Vapor Barriers May Or May Not Be A Good Thing
    Green Building Advisor discussion says vapor barriers are supposed to stop vapor diffusion through roofs, walls, and floors, but they can also can trap moisture, causing rot and mold.

    Rain Control Theory
    Building Science digest presents the development of a rational and rigorous means of describing, understanding, and classifying rain control for the above-grade enclosure.

    Science Behind Earthquakes
    Natural Resources Canada provides online video describing geological forces that can lead to a significant earthquake.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Concrete Discoloration Causes & Countermeasures
    Concrete Network describes common causes of concrete discoloration and what countermeasures to take to avoid the problem.

    Preventing Moisture Problems In Bathrooms
    Fine Homebuilding article describes strategies for controlling moisture in a bathroom, including both airborne water vapor and splashes from tubs, showers, toilets, and sinks. It includes construction details and recommendations for materials and designs that will help keep water in its place.

    Basics Of Moisture Meters
    Green Building Advisor describes moisture meters, a simple tool for evaluating moisture and mold problems, and helping you figure out whether your building materials are too wet.

    Why To Right-Size HVAC
    Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings provides insights into why HVAC systems are usually oversized, and reasons for sizing them properly. (PDF)

    Glulam Appearance Classifications For Construction Applications
    Engineered Wood Association bulletin clarifies the distinction between appearance considerations and structural properties of glued laminated timber (glulam) members. In addition, it describes practical buyer-seller appearance classifications of glulam members as they are commonly used in residential and commercial construction applications. Free registration required.

    Understanding Source & Site Energy
    Building Science Digest explains how the difference between site and source energy is a vital concept to understand when looking at the energy performance of buildings, and failing to account for the difference will result in an apples-to-oranges comparison that does not give the true picture of a building’s energy consumption.

    Building Considerations For Wildfire-Prone Areas
    University of California online guide describes considerations for building materials and design of homes and neighborhoods for resistance to wildfires. (PDF)

    BC Fluorescent Light Recycle Program
    BC Fluorescent Light Recycling Program allows you to take burnt out compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes (residential use only) to a collection depot near you.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    BC Green Building Resource Site
    Green Building Brain website is a project of the Open Green Building Society, Vancouver Design Nerds Society, and Recollective. It offers information and resources on green building in Vancouver and BC.

    Sustainable Concrete Resource Site
    Concrete Thinker is a resource site to help design professionals make sustainable design a reality through the durability, versatility and energy performance of concrete.

    Green Renovation Checklist For Built Green
    Built Green Canada provides Green Renovation Checklist that 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. (Excel)

    Apply The Pyramid For Deep Energy Retrofits
    Green Building Advisor says a deep energy retrofit is done to save energy and invest wisely. To get the most bang for your buck, the scope of work should follow the energy efficiency pyramid.

    Sustainability Standards To Be Developed For Home Appliances
    Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers has partnered with CSA Standards and UL Environment to develop voluntary sustainability standards for home appliances. The new standards will take a life cycle approach and are intended to be used by governments, retailers, and other initiatives to identify environmentally responsible products.

    Energy Star Failings Are Much Ado About Something
    Energy Efficient Markets says as suspected, Energy Star appliances do not always live up to their energy savings claims, according to preliminary results of laboratory tests reported his week by the US Department of Energy.

    Course On Life Cycle Analysis For Buildings
    Light House Sustainable Building course on Centre Life Cycle Assessment prepares participants to put LCA into practice. It will be of interest to building industry professionals, including engineers, architects, materials specifiers, product manufacturers, as well as building owners and developers.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Online Handbook On Wood
    US Forest Products Laboratory online Wood Handbook contains detailed information on almost everything you’ll ever want to know about wood products and processes.

    Technical Information On Log & Timber Building
    BC Log & Timber Building Industry offers information & Resources on building with log and timber products and systems.

    Winners Of 2010 Most Valuable Product Awards
    Building Products judging panel, made up of pros, selected new products that are most valuable to the contractor, either by reducing installation time, callbacks, and labor costs; solving a problem; boosting profits; or adding a wow factor to the home.

    Tapes & Gaskets For Air-Sealing
    Green Building Advisor describes the best tapes, caulks, or gaskets for most weatherization and air-sealing jobs.

    Testing & Analysis Of Gas Tankless Water Heater
    Building Science research report on tankless water heaters shows actual savings depend on the draw details because energy to heat up the internal mass depends on the time since the last draw.

    How To Remove Stains On Concrete Countertops
    Concrete Network describes how to remove stains from concrete countertops.

    9. Installation Procedures

    How To Cut Housewrap For Window Rough Openings
    Fine Homebuilding online video describes how to cut housewrap for window rough openings.

    Thermal Bypass Checklist
    Energy Star online guide describes thermal bypasses in a home, and offers tips and resources for air sealing them. (PDF)

    Guide For Designing Forced-Air Systems
    Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings online guide describes how heating and cooling design loads should be calculated for the home using the protocols set forth in the latest edition of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Manual J, ASHRAE 2005 Handbook of Fundamentals, or an equivalent computation procedure. (PDF)

    Using Tape Or Mastic For Sealing Ducts
    Green Building Advisor article describes how to choose tape or mastic products that provide durable sealing for ducts.

    Mechanical Ventilation For Affordable Existing Housing
    Green Building Advisor describes when you need to add whole-house mechanical ventilation to an existing home and what to use when you do.

    Overview Of Concrete Testing
    Concrete Network provides an overview of concrete testing including typical fresh concrete tests, sampling, temperature, slump tests, air content, density, making of test cylinders, and the effect of selected testing.

    10. Information Sources

    Resource Site On Spray Polyurethane Foam
    Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance offers information and resources including explanation of what spray foam is, applications, case studies, energy & environment, health & safety, FAQs, technical information, and more.

    Resource Site On Marble
    Marble Institute of American provides information and resources on marble and its various applications in the building industry.

    National Demolition Association
    National Demolition Association represents U.S. and Canadian companies that offer standard demolition services as well as a full range of demolition-related services and products. They provide members information on the latest advances in equipment and services as well as educational programs and tools to stay abreast of regulatory and safety matters.

    Resource Site On Stamped Concrete
    Stamped Concrete site offers information and resources on stamped concrete including cost, patterns, colors, textures, installation information, and more.

    Resource Site On Stained Concrete
    Stained Concrete offers information and resources on stained concrete for various residential and commercial applications.

    Business Books & CD's For Contractors
    Ron Coleman, long-time industry trainer and consultant, offers books and CDs on a wide range of business management topics.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    Canadian Steel Day September 24
    Canadian Institute of Steel Construction presents SteelDay 2010 on September 24th. The day will be an interactive and networking event for members of the design, construction and structural steel industry. Across the nation steel fabricators, mills, service centres, galvanizers, HSS producers, bender-rollers and others will open their facilities, job sites, and offices. Architects, engineers, contractors, developers, students, educators and the general public are invited to see how we contribute to building Canada.

    Western Canadian Horticultural Trade Show In Vancouver September 29-30
    CanWest Horticultural Show is the meeting place for buyers and sellers of BC's nursery, floriculture and landscape industry. It is Western Canada's largest horticultural trade show with over 3,500 industry professionals visiting 425+ booths over a 2-day period.

    US Conference For Green Buildings In San Francisco September 30 - October 2
    West Coast Green conference and expo in San Francisco, September 30 to October 2, features state-of-the-art resources, presentations, and opportunities for business development ranging from emerging technologies to new policies, from social entrepreneurship to business innovations, and more.

    Consumer & Trade Interior Design Show In Vancouver October 14-17
    Interior Design Show West (IDSWEST), the West Coast consumer and trade show for contemporary residential design, showcases local, Canadian and international furnishings, fixtures and accessories for the design of a home.

    2010 Annual BC Engineers Conference In Whistler October 21-23
    Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists 2010 Annual Conference will be held in Whistler, October 21-23. It offers networking opportunities, professional development, trade exhibition, as well as social events.

    US Conference & Expo On Excellence In Building In Portland Oct 12-14
    Energy & Environmental Building Association presents its annual Excellence In Building conference and expo with presentations and displays on a wide range of building science topics with a general focus on new construction.

    BC Industry & Government Housing Affordability Symposium In Vancouver November 1-2
    On November 1 & 2, the BC residential construction industry in partnership with all three levels of government is hosting HAS: Housing Affordability Symposium in Vancouver. This event is the first of its kind as it brings together stakeholders to openly discuss the barriers and solutions to housing affordability in BC.

    12. Education & Training

    Stormwater Management Impact Analysis
    Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC seminar in Vancouver on September 16th covers Stormwater Management Impact Analysis. It will provide an introduction into analytical techniques and methodologies that can be used to quantify impacts and impact reduction methodologies. Engineers working in urban infrastructure planning and design and the land development industry will find this seminar of particular value.

    Design & Build Energy-Efficient Multi-Unit Residential Buildings In BC
    BC Hydro Power Smart New Construction Program and Cascadia Green Building Council full-day Design & Build New Energy-Efficient Multi-Unit Residential Buildings workshop in Vancouver on September 16th is for owners, developers, architects, engineers, cost consultants, and others involved in new Multi Unit Residential Buildings in BC.

    Free Online Courses On Engineered Wood
    APA - Engineered Wood Association Wood University offers free online continuing education courses with credits.

    GreenTECH Certificate For Canadian Oil Heating Technicians
    Canadian Oil Heat Association has launched the COHA GreenTECH Certified initiative, which will enable oilheat technicians, installers, frontline staff and industry leaders, to obtain a professional designation on a voluntary basis. The continuing education program is designed to provide its members with up-to-date knowledge and skills required to serve today’s energy-conscious customers.

    BC Residential Construction Industry Training Organization
    Residential Construction Industry Training Organization of British Columbia (RCITO) promotes, develops, coordinates and manages the delivery of industry training and trades qualifications in the BC residential construction industry by responding to the skills and training needs of employers and workers.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Free Typing Tutorials, Tips, Games
    Rapid Typing offers free typing games, tips, tutorials, and tests.

    Templates For Making Your Own Flyers & Documents
    Savetz Publishing his free and purchasable printable templates for brochures, flyers, fax covers, clip art, calendars, timesheets, and much more.

    Monkey Go Happy
    This is dumb! It doesn't even give you any directions on how to play each part of the game...and therein lies the challenge. But believe me, if you're stubborn enough, you will eventually figure them out...maybe!

    Dittie For Today: On Life

    Is there room in your life for your life? - Caroline Boehmer

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    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada